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Transcendentalism, philosophical and literary movement that flourished in New England c. 1835–60. Regarding rationalist Unitarianism and utilitarian philosophy as morally bankrupt and shallow, the transcendentalists took their inspiration from the German idealists, notably Immanuel Kant, from Samuel Coleridge, and from Eastern mystical philosophies. They believed in the divinity and unity of humankind and nature, and in the supremacy of intuition over sense perception as well as reason as a source of knowledge. The major figures were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, who edited The Dial (1840–44), Henry David Thoreau, and Amos Bronson Alcott. The movement had considerable influence on U.S. literature (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman) and politics (abolitionism, Brook Farm).

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Transcendentalism to United Church of Christ