Bronson Alcott and Thoreau group 5

          Alcott was one of the transcendentalists, which was a group of radical thinkers and writers of New England in the 1830’s. As an early admirer of Thoreau’s reasoned philosophy, they shared many similar ideas. They both believed that a more simple life with fewer obligations was a better path to happiness. He flatly rejected the accumulation of material goods, which Thoreau shows through his cabin and solitary life.

          Alcott was a farmer, lecturer, intellectual, and writer. The success of his efforts were limited. He set up a school of radical ideas and it eventually failed. The introduction of new subjects with an innovative form of teaching caused his students to withdraw from his classes and led to its failure. Later on he became a superintendent of schools in Concord and fulfilled a lifetime dream of opening “The Concord School of Philosophy.” His educational reform was introducing hands on work and new subjects such as physical education. He also worked to end hitting children in school and educating them on morals. Something interesting about this is his ideas were failures of  his time, but now something we follow and value.

          One source says that Alcott should be considered the most pure of the transcendentalists. His ideas revolved around equality, education, relations, and living a simple life. At one point in his life, Alcott built a short-lived utopia called “Fruitlands” that emphasized fair share of work, living simply, and being close to nature. We related Alcott to what Thoreau wrote in “sounds” where he finds entertainment and enjoyment in the simplest of things. 

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