Ralph Waldo Emerson

RTR-author-1024x1024_0018_1 - Ralph Waldo Emerson writing poetry

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
– Emerson

b. 1803 CE – d. 1882 CE

American poet and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Seven of his ancestors were ministers of New England churches. Among them were some of those men of mark who made the backbone of the American character.

He was brought up in an atmosphere of hard work, of moral discipline, and (after his father’s death in 1811) of that wholesome self-sacrifice which is a condition of life for those who are poor in money and rich in spirit. Independence, sincerity, reality, grew more and more necessary to him. This led to him wanting to make a difference, with politics being the avenue to do so.

He believed that the less government we have, the better — the fewer laws, the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal Government is the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual; the appearance of the principal to supersede the proxy. That which all things tend to educe, which freedom, cultivation, intercourse, revolutions, go to form and deliver, is character; that is the end of nature, to reach unto this coronation of her king.

To educate the wise man, the State exists; and with the appearance of the wise man, the State expires. The appearance of character makes the State unnecessary.

Works By Ralph Waldo Emerson