Today In History: Thoreau Moves to Walden Pond

Today In History: Thoreau Moves to Walden Pond


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life. And see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not yet lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation unless it was quite necessary..."

-- Henry David Thoreau, Walden, "What I Lived For," p. 98.

On July 4th, 1845 essayist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau moved at the age of twenty-eight to the northern shore of Walden Pond, south of the village of Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau built a small cabin and modestly lived in semi-isolation there for two years, writing his masterwork, Walden; or Life in the Woods. His influential book comprised eighteen essays on nature, labor, self-reliance, and individualism -- inspired by simple living and transcendental beliefs.

Thoreau was among a group of influential nineteenth century transcendentalist writers that included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Margaret Fuller, and Louisa May Alcott.  Their broad, progressive views on education embraced the whole child, individualism and independence,  interconnectedness with nature, and the ultimate goal of happiness. The New England movement reacted against science, rationalism, and typical norms and standards that sought meaning and truth in a more conservative and structured society.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.






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