Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803-April 27, 1882)—American author, philosopher, lecturer, and poet—was a leader of American thought and literature whose impact is still felt today. He was a leader of the Transcendentalist movement, which believed in the inherent goodness of man and nature. His essay Nature (1836) was a groundbreaking work that ushered in that movement. His well-known work includes "The American Scholar" (1837), "Self-Reliance" (1841), "The Over-Soul" (1841), "Circles" (1841), The Poet (1841), and Experience (1844). Emerson wrote on a wide range of subjects including individuality, freedom, and the unlimited potential of man and his relationship to nature. He was a mentor and friend of Henry David Thoreau and has influenced many significant writers such as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Frost.