Illusory Individuality Essay

763 words - 4 pages

Which is more valuable: the needs of the many of the needs of the one? It is a question that has been explored all throughout the world and all throughout human history. From the collectivist societies of the Eastern Hemisphere to the individualistic cultures of the Western, everyone has their own opinion on the subject and it is doubtful that a universally accepted answer will ever be found. The United States of America tends to answer “the one.” The freedom to pursue one’s dreams and desires is one of the founding principles of the county – promised in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed in the Constitution – however, American history reveals that that oftentimes the ...view middle of the document...

Transcendentalism, a branch of Romanticism which was based on the idea that people are essentially good and society is a corruptive force, epitomizes individualism. In “Self - Reliance,” one of the essential (word? Halp.) essays of Transcendentalism, it says, “Every heart vibrates to that iron string” (Emerson). In essence, it says that every man beats to the rhythm of their own drum. In Henry David Thoreau’s, another famed Transcendentalist, “Civil Disobedience,” he denounces the government as an arm of the majority creating unjust laws and encourages people not to eradicate evil from the world, but to not take part in it (Thoreau ). However, in the end, while Romanticism was an important movement idk ppl still carried on doing what they were doing help me i stupid.
Romanticism eventually bowed to Realism. During the Realism movement, the tensions between the North and South of the United States erupted into the South seceding from the Union and forming the Confederacy. Similar to the Puritans, this is also a manifestation of individualism. The South supported the less involved government proposed by the Transcendentalists and they separated because their desires and ideals differed too greatly to that of the North. However, those ideals and desires involved the horrifying and brutal...

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