Biography Of Henry David Thoreau -

Biography Of Henry David Thoreau

Biography Of Henry David Thoreau


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)  American poet, author, and an important participant in the Transcendentalist movement. One of his most famous works was ” Walden” in which he described his journey to living a life of simplicity and near the natural world. Also, as a well-known writer, he played a key role in opposition to slavery and was a pioneer environmentalist. In the pamphlet he wrote in 1849 “Civil Disobedience,” He argued against civil authority if it led to inequity, like slavery. After when he died in 1862 his fame as a poet and philosopher increased.

The beginning of life

Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He was a student at Harvard College (1833-37) where he was a student of the classics, philosophy, and science.

After having graduated from Harvard He resisted the more typical roles that were available to Harvard graduates and opted to go back to Concord in the same city where he founded the Concord Academy that was founded by was named after his brother John. The school was known for its progressive ideas like nature walks, and the elimination of corporal discipline. Tragically the year 1842 saw his brother John pass away of Tetanus and this led to the closing of the institution. Thoreau was later employed in the family’s pencil factory where he worked to increase the efficiency of pencils by making use of clay as a binder.

In Concord, the writer was a close friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson helped the younger Thoreau in his writing and encouraged him to take a keen interest in concepts of Transcendentalism. Thanks to Emerson, Thoreau also became acquainted with like-minded persons like Margaret Fuller and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Thoreau was a man who felt a strong desire to live life in its purest most basic form. In 1845, he started an experiment of two years to live simplicity and lived in a cabin along the shores of Walden Pond.

“I was in the woods to try to be a conscious person and to only face the fundamental realities of life, and to see if I could not gain the knowledge it could teach me and not when I passed away to discover that I’d never lived.”

One of the most important aspects of the retreat of Thoreau was the feeling of solitude of being in the woods on your own. Thoreau was at peace in nature, and he sought an even greater meaning in the world.

“I consider it healthy to be with myself for the majority all the time. To be around other people even with the very best will soon become exhausting and dissolving. I prefer being alone. I have never met a person who was as comradely like solitude.”

Biography Of Henry David Thoreau


Biography Of Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau was also adamant about the increasing commercialization of society. He believed that the need for money was too dominant and desired an easier life, focusing on reducing requirements and placing principles of nature and honesty over materialistic demands.

“…for my best talent has been my ability to want but have.”

When he was on retreat at Walden He ran into an individual tax collector in the town, who demanded an additional six-year payment of taxes on polls. Walden was unable to comply on the grounds of protesting against the Mexican-American war as well as the slavery system that was lawful in America during the period. He was imprisoned for one day, but his release was granted after one of his relatives (without knowing it) took care of the tax back. Walden was believed to be disappointed that the tax was paid for in the absence of his knowledge.

The incident inspired Thoreau to pen an essay called “Civil Disobedience” (Resistance against Civil Government) in 1849. The essay is regarded as a declaration of civil disobedience, and also a type of anarchism. Thoreau later said he wanted to see better governance than having no government.

He was born in 1847. came back from the forest. He then, at an invitation from his close friend Emerson moved into Emerson his home to assist with household chores during the time that Emerson was in Europe. This allowed him to write. He released “Walden” also known as “Life In the Forest” an essay about his time near nature. It was autobiographical and a reflection of man’s spiritual journey. He utilized the analogy of the seasons to convey thoughts about man’s search to find meaning in his life. In time, the novel has become a standard of counter-culture that aims to return to natural harmony.

Walden was part of his fellow members of the Transcendentalist Movement, a spiritual philosophical movement that sought to discover God in the natural world and outside the dogmas that define religion. Regarding his own faith-based beliefs, Thoreau stated:

“I don’t believe in comparing one faith or philosophy over one over the other. I am not a fan of the bigotry and ignorance that are apathetic and make absurd distinctions between a person’s religion or faith and the other’s . . . For the philosopher, all religions as well as all peoples, are one. I love Brahma, Hari, Buddha, and the Great Spirit as well be God.”

Biography Of Henry David Thoreau


Thoreau had a wide-ranging appreciation for religions from all across the globe. He particularly admired his reading of the Bhagavad Gita, which is a classic Hindu text that was written

“In the morning, I bathe my mind in the astonishing and cosmogonal philosophy of Bhagavad Gita by comparison to the modern world, which makes its literature seem tinny and insignificant.”

Thoreau was a key leader in the movement to abolish slavery. Thoreau was involved as a participant in his involvement in the Underground Railroad In 1859; John Brown sought to lead an unarmed revolt against slavery. The rebellion failed as Brown ended up being executed. The initial reaction to the revolt of Brown was sluggish or not favorable. Walden offered a strong defense for Brown in his book “A Pleading for Captain John Brown”

“The only government I can recognize, regardless of how few people are at its helm or the size of its force, is the one that creates justice across the country and never one that creates inequity. What do we think of a system where all of the most courageous and righteous citizens of the nation are enemies, standing in the gap between them and the people they oppress? A government pretending as Christian and can crucify millions of Christ every single day!”

Thoreau’s defense of Brown was crucial in influencing the public’s opinions in the North and making him an important actor in the anti-slavery movement. Brown’s return to the public’s opinion court contributed to making the uprising an important factor in the coming civil war.

Thoreau was also fascinated by the natural sciences and history. He observed a variety of natural phenomena in the vicinity of Concord and described the seasons’ changing patterns and how weather changes could affect the onset of spring. He became an ardent fan of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution during a time in which the theory was challenged by many.

In 1862 at the age of 45 years old, Thoreau died of Tuberculosis. Thoreau was a single man all his time, never getting married, and did not have children.


Quotes from Henry David Thoreau


“The problem is not about the things you look at but rather what you observe.”

-” Henry David Thoreau

“You must be in the present moment, float yourself into every wave, discover your eternality in every moment. Fools are stranded on their islands of possibilities and gaze toward an alternative world. There isn’t any other place There isn’t a life other than this.”

— Henry David Thoreau

“Why do we have to be in such a rush to be successful, and at such a desperate time? If one is unable to keep up with his friends Perhaps it’s due to an entirely different drummer.”

-” Henry David Thoreau

“Things don’t change, but we are changing.”

— Henry David Thoreau

” It’s not too late to let go of your beliefs.”

– Henry David Thoreau


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