The Political Emerson: Essential Writings on Politics and Social Reform

Overview

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) never considered himself a political thinker. And yet he rose to prominence during one of the most turbulent times in U.S. history. As a result, political questions grew in importance for him, becoming by the 1860s one of his chief concerns as a public intellectual. In The Political Emerson, David M. Robinson has brought together for the first time the best of Emerson's numerous writings on politics and social reform.
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Overview

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) never considered himself a political thinker. And yet he rose to prominence during one of the most turbulent times in U.S. history. As a result, political questions grew in importance for him, becoming by the 1860s one of his chief concerns as a public intellectual. In The Political Emerson, David M. Robinson has brought together for the first time the best of Emerson's numerous writings on politics and social reform.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Political Emerson, is another important contribution to the ongoing reevaluation of the most important cultural figure in nineteenth-century America. This collection specifically answers those critics who maintained for years that Emerson was an aloof philosopher, far removed from the political turmoil and social drama of the 'era of reform' in which he lived. Instead, we now see clearly that Emerson was at the epicenter of change, constantly urging his fellow citizens to insure that equality, freedom, and justice were the natural birthright of all Americans. It is a message well worth hearing again today. --Len Gougeon, author of Virtue's Hero: Emerson, Antislavery, and Reform

"Spirituality has political implications. It always has; it always will. As a minister, Emerson put spiritual integrity first-knowing that he could not thereby avoid the political concerns of his time. He saw all human beings as moral subjects and resisted treating them as mere objects. David Robinson, in this anthology, gives us Emerson as a relevant resource for the spiritually grounded political resistance still required today."--John Buehrens, author of Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807077238
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.45 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

David M. Robinson is a leading authority on Emerson and the New England Transcendentalist movement. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including The Spiritual Emerson and Emerson and the Conduct of Life. He is Oregon Professor of English and head of the American Studies program at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Emerson as a Political Thinker 1
To Martin Van Buren, President of the United States (1838) 27
Man the Reformer (1841) 33
The Times: Introductory Lecture (1842) 51
New England Reformers (1844) 70
Emancipation in the British West Indies (1844) 91
American Slavery (1855) 120
Address at the Woman's Rights Convention (1855) 138
John Brown (1860) 154
American Civilization (1862) 158
The President's Proclamation (1862) 177
Fortune of the Republic (1863) 185
Suggestions for Further Reading 207
Acknowledgments 211
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