15 April 2013
Ralph Waldo Emerson's life was trying. "Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage."
He was born in Boston Massachusetts on May 25, 1803. (Chew, Robin) His father was the pastor of the First Church in Boston and died of stomach cancer when Emerson was only eight. (Emerson, Ralph Waldo) His mother was a devoted churchgoer. After his father's death, she opened a boarding house. (Wilhelm, Jeffery D.) He was the second of eight children. His three siblings, namely Phebe, John Clarke, and Mary Caroline, died in childhood leaving only four of Emerson's seven siblings.
His other four brothers who survived to adulthood were William, Edward, Robert Bulkeley and Charles. Charles, born in 1808, died in 1836 from tuberculosis. Another of Emerson's younger brothers, Edward, born in 1805, died in 1882, also of tuberculosis.
He went to Harvard at the age of 14 and graduated at the age of 18. After college he taught for 3 years. He used the money he made teaching to pay for divinity school at Harvard. At the age of 23 he began to preach. (Emerson, Ralph Waldo) He liked being a clergyman, but decided that he could do more outside of the church. He preached to Americans as an independent essayist and lecturer. ("American Literature") He ended up resigned from ministry due to doubts of faith and failing health. He founded and edited for the magazine, The Dial for a few years. At the age of...