A collection of famous transcendentalist essays from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
Nature, Self Reliance, Walking, and Civil Disobedience.
In Nature, Emerson put forth the foundation of transcendentalism, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature. Transcendentalism suggests that the divine, or God, suffuses nature, and suggests that reality can be understood by studying nature.
Self Reliance contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson's recurrent themes: the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow their own instincts and ideas.
Walking is a Transcendental essay in which Thoreau talks about the importance of nature to mankind, and how people cannot survive without nature, physically, mentally, and spiritually, yet we seem to be spending more and more time entrenched by society. For Thoreau walking is a self-reflective spiritual act that occurs only when you are away from society, that allows you to learn about who you are, and find other aspects of yourself that have been chipped away by society. "Walking" is an important canon in the transcendental movement that would lay the foundation for his best known work, Walden. It has become one of the most important essays in the Transcendentalist movement.
In Civil Disobedience, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War.