Transcendentalism and the Feminist Movement


Transcendentalism was a concept that led to a movement that had the same name in the 1920s and 1930s. This interest group has roots in various parts of the world, including the United States. The assembly arose from the desire of the general population to protest the existing conditions in the nation in areas of spiritual life, especially the doctrines that were taught at local institutions.

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Members of this group had an underlying belief in individualism that is devoid of interference from areas such as organized religion (Fulton 78). Several authors denote the importance of transcendentalism as a concept. The group inspires a similar movement in different parts of the world. This essay looks at transcendentalism by taking account of the transformations that it has undergone and looks at the relationship with the feminist movement. Besides, it makes relevant conclusions based on the existing research on the topic.


The current role of women has been realized after a long-fought battle between conservative men and enlightened women. Since the Stone Age, men had been bestowed with the role of commanding in the family. It did not matter whether their decisions had any effect on children or women. In fact, the decision that women had to remain indoors, deliver children as per the men’s orders, and/or prepare food in accordance with the man’s desires had a significant negative impact on women.

This situation led to the emergence of some lobby groups whose aim was to give women the power to fight this old-fashioned battle. As such, the account of transcendentalism in relation to the feminist faction is important to understand. The group arose from the differences between diverse lines of thought in the Christian background. Issues that were recognized as being important in its origin include the nature of God. The group holds that God is more of a unity rather than the traditionally held view of the trinity of God (Fulton 78). Transcendentalism arose from the differences that occurred in the area of philosophy, especially from sensualists (Fulton 78).

The feminist pressure group is similar to the former one in many ways. Their history constitutes one of these similarities. This faction came into being because of the challenges that women were going through. It aimed to improve the general welfare of women in the society. Some of the rights that women were entitled to in this association include the right to voting, engaging in social issues, security, freedom from discrimination, and participation in politics and policymaking.

The origin of the two groups is also similar due to the comparable individuals who were involved in their formation. One of the most prominent founders is Margaret Fuller who participated in the formation and running of the lobby groups. Margaret Fuller was instrumental in their formation, with her contribution being based on her radical political views and desire to push for the rights for the female population (Fulton 78). Their similarity may also be found in the way they are run, with their propagation being made by the will of the participating individuals.


Transcendentalism is a concept that led to this movement. However, it arose from a simple concept that fueled the desire to have equality in several areas. The notion has been considered a simple one, with individualism being the main idea in this movement (Laoureux 390).

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This group led to the emergence of eccentricity, which requires individuals to take charge of their lives and decisions that they make. Many authors, philosophers, and researchers in the field of philosophy steered the association. These people contributed significantly to the different aspects of this lobby group, including the shaping of the different aspects and beliefs that the movement upholds (Ronda Rethinking Transcendentalism 95).

It was a break from tradition, especially where the involved individuals decided to break away from the conventional views and concepts to the more acceptable concept of individualism (Fulton 78). The traditional belief of group work and/or group integration went with the introduction of this concept. Despite the introduction of this movement and perception, many individuals continued with their traditional social beliefs and participation in social order and interaction (Fulton 78).

Transcendentalism achieved many milestones where the existing social order was interfered with. The group led to the emergence of a different social view where the involved individuals participated in the development of new systems and institutions. Religion is one of the areas that were affected by the transcendentalism. Its contributors were instrumental in the formation of many religious beliefs and concepts about religion. Contributors such as Margaret Fuller also developed different skills in the advancement of the interest group, with the most significant result being the emergence of the feminist movement.

The Feminist Movement

This faction is another movement that contributed to social changes. It resulted from the desire of the female gender to be more involved in the society, especially in matters to do with decision-making (Baym 82).

It resulted in different rights for this gender, including the ability to make valuable contributions to the running of societies. Before the conception of the pressure group, the female gender had been considered a secondary one, which followed the needs of their male counterparts. Women were not involved in the society in a positive manner. They were also suppressed.

Margaret Fuller as its major architect used the skills learnt in the former group to ensure that it (feminist movement) succeeded in its goal. The association was majorly successful because of the contribution and devotion of its founders (Duran 237).

The movement contributed to the liberty that women currently enjoy in different parts of the world, including the right to influence political decisions and/or be involved in them in the form of voting for political leaders (Ronda The Concord School of Philosophy 584). Different populations that existed at the time of this faction largely held views that were against women rights. Therefore, it encountered a number of challenges in its quest to deliver on these rights.

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The feminist and transcendentalism are similar factions that occurred in the same period of time and era. They shared founders such as Margaret Fuller whose contributions benefited the lobby groups in a mutual manner. They achieved different goals, including the delivery of some of the mandates that their founders had envisioned such as freeing women from the bondage of men who only used them as procreation machines and housecleaners (Deneen 12).

The feminist society achieved equity for this gender with emancipation of their rights in different parts of the world. On the other hand, transcendentalism managed to have social impacts on areas that it was developed, with the individuals involved in its development benefitting most from the resolutions in the group and their outcomes.

The above movements also led to the emergence of some of the most renowned philosophers such as Margaret Fuller. The contributions of these researchers and philosophers led to the present generation of philosophers whose impact on the field of sociology, philosophy, and religion cannot be understated (Laoureux 390). The respectable contributions of these researchers in the movements contribute to the overall area of philosophy.

Transcendentalism saw the development of different views on religion, with the issue of the trinity. Although it led to a change in the belief on different things in religion, the fundamental principles were retained (Laoureux 390). This claim means that it did not completely attain what it was set out to achieve. However, these goals may be reached. The feminist movement, just like the other group, had some achievements. However, in most places, it is yet to make gains. This association made gains in many areas.

Nevertheless, in the developing nations where culture is a major part of the daily lives of individuals, women are yet to enjoy the gains enjoyed in other parts of the world. The two interest groups had significant impacts on the way individuals interact, meaning that they could make independent decisions. Both have individualism as the central concept. In the feminist faction, women are empowered to make individual decisions. On the contrary, in transcendentalism, individualism is emphasized in all aspects of life.


In conclusion, transcendentalism is an important part of history. It led to independence as a concept in philosophy and religion. The relationship between it and the feminist movement lies in the organizers, the portrayed concepts, and their contributors. Today, individuals who are involved in these movements are always in fights to boost the lives of the people they represent. The effects of the two factions are still being felt on the global stage. This essay has established that they were an integral part in the attainment of the current social environments and the rights of women.

Works Cited

Baym, Nina. The Norton anthology of American literature. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2003. Print.

Deneen, Patrick. “Transcendentalism, Ancient and Modern: Brownson versus Emerson.” Perspectives on Political Science 37.1(2008): 8-16. Print.

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Duran, Jane. “Bronson Alcott: Transcendentalism in the Personal.” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 45.2(2009): 231-239. Print.

Fulton, Joe. “Reason for a Renaissance: The Rhetoric of Reformation and Rebirth in the Age of Transcendentalism.” New England Quarterly 80.3(2007): 383-407. Print.

Laoureux, Sebastien. “Hyper-Transcendentalism And Intentionality: On the Specificity of the ‘Transcendental’ In Material Phenomenology.” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17.3(2009): 389-400. Print.

Ronda, Bruce. “Rethinking Transcendentalism: Perry Miller, Truman Nelson, And Thoreau’s ‘Lost Journal.’.” Modern Language Quarterly 74.1(2013): 95-114. Print.

—. “The Concord School of Philosophy and the Legacy of Transcendentalism.” New England Quarterly 82.4(2009): 575-607. Print.

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