Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, practical philosopher and natural scientist, known for his doctrines of Transcendentalism. He is noted for his book “Walden”, a statement of simple living in a natural environment. His other important work, “Civil Disobedience”, is often cited as a vigorous advocate of civil liberties.
Early Life and Education:
Born in Concord, Massachusetts, Thoreau studied philosophy, science and mathematics at Harvard University between 1833 and 1837. After he graduated in 1837, Thoreau became a schoolteacher briefly before opening a grammar school himself with the help of his brother.
Contributions and Achievements:
Thoreau’s work consists of more than 20 volumes. A few of his extraordinary contributions include books and essays about natural history and philosophy, in which he analyzed the major sources of modern day environmentalism; ecology and environmental history.
His philosophy of nonviolent resistance inspired such later figures as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Leo Tolstoy. Thoreau highlighted the theories for human culture appropriated by the American natural environment. He is often classified as an individualist anarchist and a major source of inspiration for anarchists worldwide.
Thoreau’s two legendary acts, his two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond and his imprisonment for civil disobedience, typify his doctrines of New England Transcendentalism.
Later Life and Death:
Thoreau spent the last years of his life at a home on Belknap Street, Westborough, where he had moved along with his family in 1850. He stayed there until his death of tuberculosis in 1862.