Emerson’s Pal Henry Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817 in Concord Massachusetts. He attended school at Harvard University, and later worked as a teacher and tutor in in Concord and on Staten Island, New York.

From 1841-1843 Thoreau lived in Ralph Waldo Emerson�¹s home. Emerson was a transcendentalist philosopher, and through him Thoreau met other transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and George Ripley.

In 1845 Thoreau moved to the outskirts of Concord and lived in a hut on the shores of Walden Pond. He supported himself by doing odd jobs like gardening and carpentry. He enjoyed passing his time by studying nature, meditating on philosophy, and reading Greek, Latin, French, and English literature.

During the Mexican war in 1846 Thoreau refused to pay his poll tax and was sent to prison. Later he would write an essay entitled Civil
Disobedience, to clarify his position at the time.

In 1847 Thoreau moved in with Emerson again. A year later he left Emerson and lived with his parents and sister in Concord.

It was while living with his family that Thoreau wrote his most famous
pieces. But only A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and Walden were published during his lifetime.

Thoreau’s other works were edited posthumously by his friends from his journals, manuscripts, and letters. These collections include The Maine Woods, Cape Cod, and A Yankee in Canada.

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