Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau, born in 1817, was an American writer and philosopher. As a leader of the Transcendentalist movement, Thoreau believed that people were inherently good, that the natural world offered solace and truth, that skepticism of governmental and economic institutions was necessary, and that tyranny of all kinds should be resisted. Each of these themes appear in Thoreau’s most famous work, Walden, published in 1854, a collection of essays he wrote while living in a cabin on Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachussets. Walden is often published, as it is here, with Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience,” which influenced a number of later political figures, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Thoreau was an abolitionist and a conservationist; he is often called an anarchist and an anti-capitalist. His influence extends to the likes of Tolstoy and John F. Kennedy, Marcel Proust, John Muir, Edward Abbey, Louisa May Alcott, and many more. He died in 1862 at the age of 44, and is buried on Authors’ Ridge in Concord.