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Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were both transcendentalist who greatly expressed their philosophy on the importance of individualism and nonconformity. In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance”, he uses society’s expectations to show how we never act upon our own beliefs because we constantly rely on the opinions of others. As for Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience”, he shares the same philosophical idea, but focuses on the government and how that affects our ideas due to the unjust authority. Sharing this common ideology, Emerson and Thoreau use different approaches to portray the message, however Emerson’s essay is more effective in arguing that an individual needs to rely on themselves and not on the expectations of society.

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