Related Analysis Pages
Facts in Self-Reliance
Facts Examples in Self-Reliance:
"Thor and Woden..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Thor and Woden are pagan gods who appear in varied forms in Viking, Germanic, and Anglo-Saxon mythology. Thor is the god of thunder. Woden, also known as Odin, is the chief of the gods. Their influence can be found in our daily lives: Wednesday mean “Woden’s day” and Thursday means “Thor’s day.”
"Whigs..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
The Whigs were an American political party prominent in the 19th century. The Whigs opposed the Democratic Party and promoted the protection of industry and limitation on the power of the executive branch. There have been four Whig presidents: William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Millard Fillmore, all of whom served between 1841 and 1853.
"Phidias..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Phidias (490 BCE–430 BCE) was an Athenian artist and sculptor most famous for directing the construction of the Parthenon, which still stands on the Athenian acropolis despite being worn down by time and weather.
"Bacon..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Francis Bacon (1561–1626) was a philosopher who served as the Lord Chancellor of England. He was most famous for arguing for an observational and experimental approach to science, now known as the scientific method.
"Washington..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
George Washington (1732–1799) led the Continental Army in the American Revolution and was the first president of the United States.
"Franklin..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was a scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer, and, most famously, a founding father of the United States. Some of his most well-known inventions include swim fins, the Franklin stove, and the lightning rod.
"Swedenborgism..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) was a Swedish philosopher and theologian who founded Swedenborgianism, also known as The New Church. At the age of 53, he claimed to go through a spiritual rebirth where he had dreams and visions from God that called upon him to write The Heavenly Doctrine, which called for a reformation of Christianity.
"Bentham..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) was an English philosopher and social activist who founded utilitarianism, the idea that the best moral action is the one that benefits the greatest number of people. Although innovative, his theories have come under criticism because they ignore individual values and feelings.
"Hutton..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
James Hutton (1726–1797) was a Scottish geologist and naturalist who described uniformitarianism, a cornerstone principle of geology that accounts for geological change over time.
"Lavoisier..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794) was a French scientist known as the “father of modern chemistry.” His most notable discovery was understanding the role that oxygen plays in combustion.
"Locke..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
John Locke (1632–1704) was an English philosopher who contributed to the disciplines of political theory, empiricism, economics, epistemology, and social reform. He was associated with the Whig party and heavily promoted political liberalism. His essays remain amongst the most influential and foundational documents of modern Western philosophy.
"Zoroaster..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Zoroaster (628 BCE–551 BCE) was an Iranian religious leader who founded Zoroastrianism. His name roughly translates to “He of the golden light.” His major focus of study was the struggle between good and evil.
"Fletcher's Bonduca..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
John Fletcher (1579 - 1625) was a Jacobean-era English playwright who rivaled Shakespeare at the turn of the 17th century. His historic play Bonduca is about a Celtic queen who leads a revolt against the Romans in 60 CE.
"Franklin..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
John Franklin (1786–1847) was an English naval officer and explorer who disappeared during his last exploration of the Arctic.
"Parry..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Sir William Edward Perry (1790–1855) was an English explorer who attempted to reach the North Pole and although he didn’t get there, held the record as the person closest to doing so for nearly five decades.
"Cæsar..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Julius Caesar (100–44 BCE) was a Roman general and statesman who led a vast military campaign in an effort to overturn the Republic. He is responsible for laying the foundations of the Roman empire.
"Milton..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
John Milton (1608–1674) was an English poet most famous for his epic poem Paradise Lost. He predominantly wrote in a signature blank-verse style. His writing addressed themes of faith and morality as well as issues of political and societal injustice. Milton has been tremendously influential since his time, both as a powerful, innovative poet and also as a visionary interpreter of Christian theology.
"Plato..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Plato (approx. 428 –348 BCE) was a Greek philosopher. He was a student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, the two other most prominent Greek philosophers. He wrote on human justice, worldly beauty, and morality in his “dialogues,” a form of exposition in which he used several characters with conflicting ideas to present a variety of perspectives. He founded the Academy of Athens, known as one of the first academic institutions in the Western world.
"Newton..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727) was an English mathematician and physicist who developed the Laws of Motion, which serve as the basis for a number of theories in physics.
"“I think,” “I am,”..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
This is a possible reference to René Descartes' (1596–1650) most famous philosophical statement, “I think, therefore I am” (“Cogito ergo sum). René Descartes was a French philosopher known as the father of modern Western philosophy.
"Epilogue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Honest Man's Fortune..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Francis Beaumont (1584–1616) and John Fletcher (1579–1625) were English dramatists who collaborated on a number of plays during the English Renaissance. Along with other dramatists (including Nathan Field and Philip Massinger), the two writers published the Beaumont and Fletcher folios in 1647 and 1679. Honest Man's Fortune is a play in the 1647 folio.
"“without abolishing our arms, magazines, commissaries and carriages, until, in imitation of the Roman custom, the soldier should receive his supply of corn, grind it in his hand-mill and bake his bread himself.”..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Emmanuel Las Casas (1766–1842) was a French historian and author most famous for his book about Napoleon, The Memorial of Saint Helena. This quote serves as a metaphor for one of Emerson's main claims in this essay: "to make a perfect army" every soldier would have to learn how to do everything involved in the battle from scratch (even manufacturing guns), instead of being given the guns ready to shoot.
"Napoleon..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) was a French military general who led a number of successful military conquests and temporarily conquered most of mainland Europe. He is famous for an unwavering desire to expand French rule and changing the way military campaigns are fought. Considered one of the greatest military generals in history, he was also the first emperor of France.
"Behring..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Vitus Jonassen Behring (Bering) (1681–1741) was a Danish explorer credited with “finding” the passageway that is now called the Bering Strait.
"Hudson..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Henry Hudson (1565–1611) was an English explorer credited with “discovering” what are now called the Hudson River and Hudson Bay.
"Diogenes..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Diogenes of Sinope (404–323 BCE) was a Greek philosopher who promoted personal virtue by means of self-control and simple living. Based on these ideals, he founded the Cynic school, which believed the prominent reason for living is to live a life of virtue. The cynicism of Diogenes became the foundation of stoicism in subsequent generations.
"Anaxagoras..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Anaxagoras (500–428 BCE) was a Greek philosopher who studied nature and cosmology. His most famous discovery was that of celestial eclipses. Anaxagoras stated that these phenomena occur when a celestial mass passes in front of a source of celestial light, such as when the moon passes in front of the sun.
"Phocion..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Phocion (402 BCE–318 BCE) was an Athenian politician who became known as “The Good” for his sense of virtue and reputation as an honest government official. When Macedonia threatened (with their significantly stronger military) to overtake Athens, he built good diplomatic relations with them to avoid complete domination. Plutarch wrote about him in Parallel Lives.
"Plutarch's heroes..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Plutarch (46–119 CE) was a Greek biographer whose work contributed to the popularity of essay and biographical writings in Europe beginning in the 16th century. His two most famous works are Bioi parallēloi, or Parallel lives (stories of Greek and Roman soldiers, government officials, and artists), and Moralia (a book of essays covering a wide variety of topics). Emerson uses this reference to show that although there have been great strides in all fields of study, the men Plutarch wrote about were all great even without all of those impressive strides to build upon.
"Gustavus..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Gustavus Adolphus (1594–1632) was the King of Sweden accredited with making Sweden into a great power during his military leadership during the Thirty Years War.
"Scanderbeg..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Known as “Skanderbeg,” George Castriot (1405–1468) was an Albanian warrior who led marches through Ottoman territory while severely undermanned and consistently defeated opposing armies. This was important at the time because the Ottoman Empire was ruthlessly trying to spread throughout Europe and the Middle East through brute military force.
"Alfred..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Alfred the Great (849–899) was the King of Wessex in southwestern England and is most famous for defending England against a Danish invasion and forming the first British navy. He is known for being a great peacemaker during his time of rule.
"Abolition, of Clarkson..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846) was a tireless opponent of the African slave trade who led campaigns and formed the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
"Methodism, of Wesley..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Charles Wesley (1707–1788) led the Methodist movement, a denomination of Protestantism, in England during the 18th century. Methodists were concerned with social issues, mainly the abolition of slavery.
"Quakerism, of Fox..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends, a sect of Christianity founded by George Fox in England during the late 17th century. Quakers strongly oppose violence and have no formal creeds, rites, or clergy.
"America into Adams's eye..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
John Adams (1735–1774) was the first vice president of the United States and the second president. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and is known as one of the most important of the founding fathers.
"That is it which throws thunder into Chatham's voice..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
William Pitt (1708–1778), the first Earl of Chatham, supported the American colonists’ cries for independence. Emerson uses this line to show how Pitt’s consciousness and gut feeling likely made him willing to support an unpopular idea in the eyes of Great Britain’s government.
"as the inequalities of Andes and Himmaleh are insignificant in the curve of the sphere..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
The Andes are a large mountain range in South America and the Himmaleh (Himalayas) are a large mountain range in Asia. Although the Andes are a significantly longer mountain range, the Himalayas are made up of significantly taller mountains. This simile says that each individual's talents are significant in their own way and need not be compared to anyone else’s.
"Galileo..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) was an Italian astronomer and mathematician whose studies made enduring impressions in the field of astrophysics. He constructed a telescope that was able to support Copernicus’s theory that the earth is round and located within a heliocentric solar system. The church accused him twice of heresy for his controversial findings.
"Luther..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Martin Luther (1483–1546) was a German priest and an important figure in the Protestant Reformation. He was excommunicated for criticizing the Roman Catholic Church. In his Ninety-five Theses, he argued that eternal salvation was granted by God and could not be purchased through indulgences. Historically, he is an exemplar of a religious thinker who followed what he believed to be morally right rather than listening blindly to the word of the church.
"Jesus..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
According to Christian doctrine, Jesus of Nazareth (approx. 4 BCE–33 CE) is the son of God in human form. He consented to being crucified in order to save humanity from sin, so that all people could have an opportunity to go to heaven. He preached love, humility, piety, faith, and salvation as the most important values of one’s religious life. Jesus’s ideas conflicted with the two prevailing religious traditions in his time and place: Judaism and Roman Paganism.
"Socrates..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Socrates (approx. 470 BCE–399 BCE.) was a Greek philosopher from Athens who was sentenced to death because his teachings conflicted with the Greek government during his time. His teachings survived through the writings of his students, Plato and Xenophon.
"Pythagoras..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Pythagoras of Samos (approx. 570 –490 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and mathematician credited by some as the first person to devise a spherical, rather than flat, model of the world. Many of his theories were disputed because they were radically new and challenged the prevailing cosmology.
"Barbadoes..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
Barbadoes (Barbados) is an island country in the Caribbean that was once infamous for being a major port for the African slave trade.
"Moses..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
According to the Old Testament, Moses was a Hebrew raised by the Egyptian royal family. He fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian slavemaster for murdering a Hebrew. After fleeing Egypt he encountered God on Mount Horeb, who told him he must return to Egypt to save the Israelites from slavery. He led the Israelites for 40 years through the desert and died within sight of the Promised Land. He is the most important prophet in Judaism and a prominent prophet in Islam, Christianity, and a number of other faiths.
"Last Judgment..." See in text (Self-Reliance)
In Christian doctrine, the Last Judgement is God’s final, eternal judgement that determines the resting place of all souls. The term comes from passages in the Gospel according to Matthew and the Gospel according to Luke, where the text discusses the second coming of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead. Emerson mentions it to stress how one must live a life of non-conformity in its entirety.