Ralph Waldo Emerson: 15 quotes on his birthday

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Transcendentalist essayist, lecturer, and poet, is one of the most influential figures in all of American cultural history and his great philosophical essays – such as "Self-Reliance" and "Nature" – are widely considered to be among the crown jewels of American literature. Emerson's writings also contain any number of memorable aphorisms, some of which can be found in "Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists" by James Geary. May 25th, 2012, will mark Emerson's 209th birthday. To celebrate Emerson's birthday, here are 15 of his more enduring quotes.

1. Individualism

By Drawing: Samuel Worcester Rowse. (In the case of engraving: Stephen Alonzo Schoff, 1878.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist.”

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