by cliff77
Last updated 8 years ago

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The Romantic Movement at the turn of the nineteenth century gave expression to a growing conviction throughout Europe and America that there was more to experiencing the world than could be inferred by logic and more to living than could be satisfied by the acquisition of material things. People felt a need to balance reason and calculation with emotion and spirit.

For Transcendentalists, truth is beyond, or transcends, what can be discovered using evidence acquired by the senses. Like the Quakers, Transcendentalists believed that every person possesses an Inner Light that can illuminate the highest truth and put a person in touch with God, whom they called the Oversoul. Since this sort of knowledge of truth is a personal matter, Transcendentalism was committed to development of the self and had little regard for dogma or authority.

Paine claimed that churches were “set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” These thoughts were shocking to Americans who were imbued with a strong religious tradition.




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