Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) was an American lecturer, poet, essayist and leader of the Transcendentalist movement.

Nearly 1,500 Emerson’s public lectures have been published. In his essay from 1836, Emerson formulated his transcendental philosophy of nature. His basic ideas were freedom, individuality, relationship between the human soul and its environment, and the ability of a human being to realize anything. Some of his best-known essays include The Poet and Experience, The Over-Soul, and The Self-Reliance.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Money, which represents the prose of life, and which is hardly spoken of in parlors without an apology, is, in its effects and laws, as beautiful as roses.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The more he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge. The wise instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the attractions the study has for himself.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk. It is as when a conflagration has broken out in a great city, and no man knows what is safe, or where it will end.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles

In dealing with the State, we ought to remember that its institutions are not aboriginal, though they existed before we were born: that they are not superior to the citizen: that every one of them was once the act of a single man: every law and usage was a man’s expedient to meet a particular case: that they all are imitable, all alterable; we may make as good; we may make better.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

The meaning of good and bad, of better and worse, is simply helping or hurting.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every actual state is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson