Does ‘The American Scholar’ Reflect The Values Of The Declaration Of Independence And The American Constitution? 4

1175 words - 5 pages

In an address to the scholars in the Phi Beta Kappa society at Cambridge in Massachusetts Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1837 delivered a speech in which he stated that the literature during the European influence required scholars to memorize texts written by other writers. The speech was titled The American Scholar and the main idea of his speech was that the literature in America should be completely different from the European literature. Basically the scholars should have the freedom to write in any form they wish to write in and not copy the way other writers have already written. By this statement Emerson reminds the citizens of America that their culture were modified by the Europeans so much that people had already started to forget their own culture. In this respect Emerson is reminding the citizens of America that since they won the war of independence against the Europeans and that they now had a chance to start afresh every developmental activity. Therefore in literature to start fresh the Americans needed to write in a new form that would be different from how the Europeans wrote and had taught Americans to write. Emerson claims that the new form of writing can be achieved through influences from nature, books and action. He was thus a transcendentalist.
Emerson in his speech states that scholars should observe nature and write originally on their own and not memorize or copy the form of writings of other writers. In the American scholar (1837) he states that "Men of talent, that is who start wrong, who set out from accepted dogmas, not from their own sight of principles." This means that even if a person is intelligent but starts his thoughts in the wrong way such as collecting ideas from a text written by other scholars, he or she lacks originality in their writings and is not a true American scholar. Emerson refers to such people as “mere thinkers” who collect information from different sources and then come up with ideologies that basically depend on the same information collected. The ideas are therefore not their own but an agreement to the persuasion of other writers. It is as good as stealing and pretending like the object belongs to them. If instead the scholar observes nature and finds ways to describe everything in their own words it will be an original form of writing. As described by Emerson (1837) "To the young mind everything is individual, stands by itself. By and by, it finds how to join two things and see in them one nature; then three, then three thousand; and so, tyrannized over by its own unifying instinct, it goes on tying things together, diminishing anomalies, discovering roots running underground whereby contrary and remote things cohere and flower out from one stem." Emerson refers to those with original ideas to be man thinking than being mere thinkers. However if the old writings has a medium to exist on then the ideologies can still be affected. This can happen through scripts written on papers and books. Old...

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