Transcendentalism was a religious and philosophical movement that was developed during the late 1820s and 1830sin the Eastern region of the U.S. as a protest to the general state of culture and society. Among the transcendentalists’ core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature.
Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual. They had faith that people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.
Notable writers: Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, and Margaret Fuller.