Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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George Rapp [Johann Georg Rapp]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

Johann Georg Rapp
George Rapp as painted from memory by Phineas Staunton (1835)
Born: Johann Georg Rapp, November 1, 1757, Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg, Germany
Died: August 7, 1847 (aged 89), Economy, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation: Religious colonizer
Spouse(s): Christine Benzinger
Children: Johannes Rapp (1783–1812) and Rosine Rapp (1786–1849)

John George Rapp (German: Johann Georg Rapp; November 1, 1757 in Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg – August 7, 1847 in Economy, Pennsylvania) was the founder of the religious sect called Harmonists, Harmonites, Rappites, or the Harmony Society.

Born in Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg, Germany, Rapp became inspired by the philosophies of Jakob Böhme, Philipp Jakob Spener, and Emanuel Swedenborg, among others. In the 1780s, George Rapp began preaching and soon started to gather a group of his own followers. His group officially split with the Lutheran Church in 1785 and was promptly banned from meeting. The persecution that Rapp and his followers experienced caused them to leave Germany and come to the United States in 1803.[1] Rapp was a Pietist, and a number of his beliefs were shared by the Anabaptists, as well as groups such as the Shakers.

Rapp's religious beliefs and philosophy were the cement that held his community together both in Germany and in America – a Christian community and commune, which in America organized as the Harmony Society. The Harmony Society built three American towns, became rich, famous, and survived for 100 years – roughly from 1805 until 1905.

George Rapp and the Harmony Society

In 1791, George Rapp said, "I am a prophet and I am called to be one" in front of the civil affairs official in Maulbronn, Germany, who promptly had him imprisoned for two days and threatened with exile if he did not cease preaching.[2][3] To the great consternation of church and state authorities, this peasant from Iptingen had become the outspoken leader of several thousand Separatists in the southern German duchy of Württemberg.[1][2][3] In 1798, Rapp and his group of followers had further distanced themselves from mainstream society. In the Lomersheimer Declaration, written in 1798, Rapp's followers refused to serve in the military or attend Lutheran schools. By 1802, the Separatists had grown in number to about 12,000 and the Württemberg government decided that they were a dangerous threat to social order.[1] Rapp was summoned to Maulbronn for an interrogation and the government confiscated Separatist books.[1] When released in 1803, Rapp told his followers to pool their assets and follow him on a journey for safety to the "land of Israel" in the United States, and soon over 800 people were living with him there.[1]

The initial move scattered the followers and reduced Rapp's original group of 12,000 to many fewer persons. In 1804, Rapp was able to secure a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and started his first commune. This first commune, 'Harmonie', (Harmony), Butler County, Pennsylvania, soon grew to a population of about 800, and was highly profitable. At Harmony, the Harmony Society was formally organized on February 15, 1805, and its members contracted to hold all property in common and to submit to spiritual and material leadership by Rapp and associates. In 1807, celibacy was advocated as the preferred custom of the community in an attempt to purify themselves for the coming Millennium.

In 1814, the society sold their first town in Pennsylvania to Mennonites for 10 times the amount originally paid for the land, and the entire commune moved out west to Indiana where their new town was also known as Harmony. Ten years after the move to Indiana the commune moved again, this time it returned to Pennsylvania and named their town 'Ökonomie', Economy. The Indiana settlement was sold to Robert Owen, at which point it was renamed New Harmony, Indiana.

George Rapp lived out his remaining days in the town of Economy, Pennsylvania, until August 7, 1847, when he died at the age of 89.

Early life and family

Church at Iptingen, Rapp's home village

Johann Georg Rapp was born on November 1, 1757, to Rosine Berger and Hans Adam Rapp (1720–71) in the village of Iptingen, 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Stuttgart in the Duchy of Württemberg. Rapp was the second child an oldest son of the family. His brother, Adam (born on March 9, 1762), and three sisters, Marie Dorothea (born October 11, 1756), Elise Dorothea (born August 7, 1760), and Maria Barbara (born October 21, 1765) later followed him to America; however, Adam died at sea.[4][5]

Rapp learned the art of wine making from his father, a farmer. After his father's death in 1771, Rapp trained as a journeyman weaver. He also developed an interest in preaching.[4] Vineyards and textiles would become a part of the agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial economy in all three of the Harmonite towns that were later founded in the United States.[6]

On February 4, 1783, Rapp married Christine Benzinger of Fiolzheim. The couple had two children, a son, Johannes (December 22, 1783 – 1812), and a daughter, Rosine (February 10, 1786 – 1849).[4] Johannes, who trained as a surveyor, died at the age of twenty-nine in an industrial accident. Johannes's name is the only one listed on a stone in the Harmonist cemetery in Harmony, Pennsylvania. (The Harmonists did not mark their graves.) The marker was donated by non-Harmonists and the Society accepted it reluctantly. The specific location of Johannes's gravesite within the cemetery is unknown. Johannes's daughter, Gertrude (1808–89), later became a minor American celebrity and organized the Society's silk production at Economy, Pennsylvania.[citation needed] George Rapp later adopted Frederick Reichert (April 12, 1775 – June 24, 1834).[7]

Frederick Reichert, Rapp’s adopted son, organized the relocation of Rapp's followers from Württemberg to Pennsylvania in 1804 and supervised the immigration of other Rappites to the United States. Reichert, who became known as Frederick Rapp, was the business leader and public spokesman for the Harmony Society, drew up the town plan for its new village at New Harmony, Indiana, in 1814, and served as one of the delegates to the Indiana Territory's Constitutional Convention in 1816. Frederick Rapp also helped choose the site for the permanent seat of government of Indiana in 1820 that was later named Indianapolis and held leadership roles in several Indiana banks. After the Harmonists sold their Indiana land in 1824, he relocated with other members of the Society to Economy, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1834.[8][9]

George Rapp was tall, blue eyed, broad shouldered, with long hair and a patriarch's beard. He had a powerful voice, which matched his commanding presence.

Religious views

Map of Harmony (1833).

Rapp and his followers, the Harmonites, believed Christ would return in their lifetime. The purpose of the community was to be worthy of Christ and prepare for his return. They were nonviolent pacifists, refused to serve in the military, and tried to live by George Rapp's philosophy and literal interpretations of the New Testament. After leaving Germany and coming to the United States, they first settled in (and built) the town of Harmony, Pennsylvania in 1804, and established the Harmony Society in 1805 as a religious commune. In 1807, celibacy was advocated as the preferred custom of the community in an attempt to purify themselves for the coming Millennium. Rapp believed that the events and wars going on in the world at the time were a confirmation of his views regarding the imminent Second Coming of Christ, and he also viewed Napoleon as the Antichrist.[10] Rapp produced a book with his ideas and philosophy, Thoughts on the Destiny of Man, published in German in 1824 and in English a year later.

Virgin Sophia design on doorway in Harmony, Pennsylvania, carved by Frederick Reichert Rapp (1775-1834).

The Harmonites were Millennialists, in that they believed Jesus Christ was coming to earth in their lifetime to help usher in a thousand-year kingdom of peace on earth. This is perhaps why they believed that people should try to make themselves "pure" and "perfect", and share things with others while willingly living in communal "harmony" (Acts 4:32-37) and practicing celibacy. They believed that the old ways of life on earth were coming to an end, and that a new perfect kingdom on earth was about to be realized. They practiced socialism within their community, but traded their exotic agricultural goods, including lemons and figs grown in movable greenhouses, with others.[11]

Rapp and his group also practiced forms of Esoteric Christianity, Mysticism (Christian mysticism), and Rapp often spoke of the virgin spirit or Goddess named Sophia in his writings.[12] Rapp was very influenced by the writings of Jakob Böhme,[12] Philipp Jakob Spener, and Emanuel Swedenborg, among others. Also, in Economy, Pennsylvania, there are glass bottles and literature that seems to indicate that the group was interested in (and practiced) alchemy.[12] Some other books that were found in the Harmony Society's library in Old Economy, Pennsylvania, include those by the following authors: Christoph Schütz, Gottfried Arnold, Justinus Kerner, Thomas Bromley, Jane Leade, Johann Scheible (Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses[2]), Paracelsus, and Georg von Welling (Opus Mago-Cabalisticum), among others.

The Harmonites tended to view unmarried celibate life as morally superior to marriage, based on Rapp's belief that God had originally created Adam as a dual being having male and female sexual organs.[13] According to this view, when the female portion of Adam separated to form Eve, disharmony followed, but one could attempt to regain harmony through celibacy.

Controversy and problems

George Rapp's life was not without controversy and problems. Rapp and the Harmony Society were involved in protracted legal cases: many relating to the monetary claims by former Society members who did not feel properly compensated for their time and labor, other cases concerned the ownership and sale of property Society members left in Württemberg, and legal complications from fines and payments made to avoid militia service. Rapp was called a tyrant and Society members his slaves. During elections, the Society was seen as a monolithic voting block which caused political ill feelings and generated animosity against Rapp. He was accused of killing his son Johannes – who died in an industrial accident. Rapp predicted that on September 15, 1829, the three and one half years of the Sun Woman would end and Christ would begin his reign on earth.[10]

The Woman of the Apocalypse (or Woman clothed in the Sun, γυνὴ περιβεβλημένη τὸν ἥλιον; Mulier amicta sole) is a figure described in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation (written c. AD 95).

The woman gives birth to a male child who is threatened by a dragon, identified as the Devil and Satan, who intends to devour the child as soon as he is born.[1] When the child is taken to heaven, the woman flees into the wilderness leading to a "War in Heaven" in which the angels cast out the dragon. The dragon attacks the woman, who is given wings to escape and then attacks her again with a flood of water from his mouth, which is subsequently swallowed by the earth.[2] Frustrated, the dragon initiates war on "the remnant of her seed", identified as the righteous followers of Christ.

The Woman of the Apocalypse is widely identified as the Virgin Mary [Pistis Sophia]. This interpretation is held by some commentators of the ancient Church as well as in the medieval and modern Catholic Church. This view does not negate the alternative interpretation of the Woman representing the Church, as in modern Catholic dogma, Mary is herself considered both the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. Some Catholic commentaries, such as Thomas Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary (1859), allow for the interpretation of the woman as either the Church or Mary. The commentary of the New American Bible (the official Catholic Bible for America) states that "The woman adorned with the sun, the moon, and the stars (images taken from Genesis 37:9–10) symbolizes God’s people in the Old and the New Testament. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah (Rev 12:5) and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon (Rev 12:6, 13–17); cf. Is 50:1; 66:7; Jer 50:12."[3]

In Reformed theology and traditions which are averse to Marian veneration, the interpretation of the Woman represents the church.

-- Woman of the Apocalypse, by Wikipedia

Dissension grew when Rapp's predictions went unfulfilled. Perhaps his greatest error was in 1831 when he accepted Bernhard Müller, who called himself Maximilian Count de Leon, the "Lion of Judah" as the man who would unite all true Christians. In the year that followed Rapp changed his mind, but one third of the Society members separated and joined with Müller in establishing a separate community, the New Philadelphian Congregation. After Rapp's death in 1847, a number of members left the group because of disappointment and disillusionment over the fact that his prophecies regarding the return of Jesus Christ in his lifetime were not fulfilled. His last words to his followers were, "If I did not so fully believe, that the Lord has designated me to place our society before His presence in the land of Canaan, I would consider this my last".[14]

The Harmonite commune ultimately failed because the policy of celibacy prevented new members from within, and the majority of the outside world had no desire to give up so much to live in a commune. The society was formally dissolved in 1906.

See also

• Harmony Society
• Harmony, Pennsylvania
• New Harmony, Indiana
• Ambridge, Pennsylvania
• Old Economy Village
• Old Economy, Pennsylvania
• Economy, Pennsylvania


1. Robert Paul Sutton, Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Religious Communities (2003) p. 38
2. Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785-1847 (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1972)
3. Donald E. Pitzer, America's Communal Utopias (University of North Carolina, 1997) p.57
4. Karl J. R. Arndt (1965). George Rapp’s Harmony Society, 1785 -1847. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 15–17.
5. Donald E. Pitzer and Josephine M. Elliott (September 1979). "New Harmony's First Utopians, 1814-1924". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 75 (3): 227. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
6. Pitzer and Elliott, "New Harmony's First Utopians, 1814-1924,", pp. 233–34.
7. Arndt, pp. 52, 122, and 531.
8. Arndt, pp. 173, 165, 178 –79.
9. James H. Madison (2014). Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press and the Indiana Historical Society Press. pp. 115–16. ISBN 978-0-253-01308-8. See also:"Frederick Rapp Papers, 1816-1827, Collection Guide" (pdf). Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
10. Frederic J. Baumgartner, Longing for the End: A History of Millennialism in Western Civilization (1999) p.166
11. Rode, Silvia. "Johann Georg Rapp." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 1, edited by Marianne S. Wokeck. German Historical Institute. Last modified May 07, 2015.
12. Arthur Versluis, "Western Esotericism and The Harmony Society", Esoterica I (1999) pp. 20-47 [1]
13. Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, 1847–1916 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1971), p. 147.
14. William E. Wilson, The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony (Indiana University Press, 1984) p.11


• Arndt, Karl J. R., George Rapp's Harmony Society 1785–1847, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965.
• Arndt, Karl J. R., Harmony on the Connoquenessing 1803–1815, Worcester, Mass. Harmony Society Press, 1980.
• Duss, John S., The Harmonist: A Personal History, Harrisburg, PA, the Pennsylvania Book Service, 1943.
• Stewart, Arthur I. and Veith, Loran W., Harmony: Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of Harmony, Pennsylvania, Harmony, PA., June 1955.

Books and articles in German:

• Fritz, Eberhard: Johann Georg Rapp (1757–1847) und die Separatisten in Iptingen. Mit einer Edition der relevanten Iptinger Kirchenkonventsprotokolle. Blätter für Wuerttembergische Kirchengeschichte 95/1995. S. 129-203.
• Fritz, Eberhard: Radikaler Pietismus in Württemberg. Religioese Ideale im Konflikt mit gesellschaftlichen Realitaeten. Quellen und Forschungen zur wuerttembergischen Kirchengeschichte Band 18.. Epfendorf 2003.
• Fritz, Eberhard: Separatistinnen und Separatisten in Wuerttemberg und in angrenzenden Territorien. Ein biografisches Verzeichnis. Arbeitsbücher des Vereins für Familien- und Wappenkunde. Stuttgart 2005. (Register of Separatists in Wuerttemberg, including most of Rapp's followers).
• Theodor Heuss: Der Räpple, in the same author's Schattenbeschwörung. Wunderlich, Stuttgart/Tübingen 1947; Klöpfer und Meyer, Tübingen 1999.

External links

• Daniel Heinz (1994). "Rapp, Johann Georg". In Bautz, Traugott (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 7. Herzberg: Bautz. cols. 1359–1361. ISBN 3-88309-048-4. with further reading.
• Johann Georg Rapp in the German-language in ADB volume 27 page 286 - 289 with further reading.
• "Rapp, George" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 11:39 am

Bernhard Müller [Count de Leon]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

Bernhard Müller, or Count de Leon
Count de Leon
Born: March 21, 1788, Kostheim, Germany
Died: August 29, 1834 (aged 46), Grand Ecore, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States
Occupation: Religious colonizer
Spouse(s): Elisa Heuser Leon, or Countess Leon
Children: Johanna Schardt, Joseph Maximilian, and Anna Stahl Muller (or Leon)

Bernhard Müller, known as Count de Leon (born March 21, 1788,[1] Kostheim, Germany - died August 29, 1834, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana), was a German Christian mystic and alchemist of uncertain origins.


Müller wrote to the Harmony Society (and other communes in the United States as well as numerous leaders in Europe) in 1829 proclaiming himself to be the "Lion of Judah" and a prophet in possession of the Philosopher's stone. As well as giving himself numerous fictitious names and titles, like Count de Leon, Archduke Maximilian von Este, and Proli, he claimed that he and his followers were the true Philadelphians and were ready to make a home for themselves with the Harmonites in Old Economy, Pennsylvania. The Harmonites, being religious searchers looking for a hopeful sign, and eager to justify their own religious prophesies, agreed to the visit, and in 1831, Müller arrived with his entourage of forty people (including a Dr. Göntgen.) Soon, Müller and the Harmony Society's leader, George Rapp, grew tired of each other and began to argue. Sensing the dissatisfaction that some Harmonites were feeling towards the Society's custom of celibacy, Müller was able to use that to his advantage and get about a third of the Harmonites to be on his side in the ensuing argument. However, the majority of the Society decided to keep George Rapp as their leader. In the end, a settlement was reached with the dissenters, and all who wished to leave the Harmony Society during the schism were given $105,000 as a group.

In 1832, after leaving Old Economy, Pennsylvania, with about 250 former Harmony Society members, Bernhard Müller and his followers started a new community in Phillipsburg (now Monaca, Pennsylvania) with the money they obtained in the compromise with the Harmony Society. Here they established the New Philadelphian Congregation of the New Philadelphia Society, having constructed a church, a hotel, and other buildings. They renamed this community Löwenburg (Lion City). However, the Harmony Society soon made legal claims against the New Philadelphia Society. Perhaps because of ongoing litigation, and other financial problems, Müller's group decided to sell their communal land in Pennsylvania in 1833. Some community members stayed in Monaca in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, while others followed Müller and his family down the Ohio River on a flatboat. Soon they started a new colony at Grand Ecore, Louisiana, twelve miles north of Natchitoches; and there, in August, 1834, Müller died of yellow fever or cholera and was interred in Natchitoches Parish.

A number of his followers remained in Louisiana and practiced communal living for some years after that. When Müller died, a congressman successfully proposed a bill donating a tract of land to his followers, and Germantown Colony was formed.[2]

In 1835, the remaining group, led by Müller's widow, Countess Leon, moved from Grand Ecore to a place that is now called Germantown, which is located seven miles (11 km) northeast of Minden, in what was then Claiborne Parish.[3] Here, all property was owned in common and observance of religious principles was required. Though the colony was not very large, only about thirty-five people, it worked together and prospered.

The Civil War led to the end of the Germantown Colony, partially because of their disapproval of the war and the financial losses they suffered as a small pacifistic community during wartime, and because of the economic hardships of the war era in general. The colony disbanded in 1871, after nearly four decades of operating on a communal basis, and then Webster Parish was created from Claiborne Parish.[4] The Countess then moved to Hot Springs in Garland County, Arkansas, where she died in 1881.[3] The preservation of the Louisiana settlement is maintained by the Germantown Colony and Museum, now operated by the State of Louisiana.

Not long after Müller and his closest followers left Monaca, Pennsylvania, in 1833, a new religious speaker named William Keil showed up in that area in the early 1840s. Keil was able to attract some followers who were former Harmony Society and New Philadelphia Society members, and his group eventually moved away and settled the communal town of Bethel, Missouri, in 1844. By 1850, Bethel had a population of 650. However, the construction of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad threatened Keil's theocracy. From 1853 to 1856, Keil led his followers westward over the Oregon Trail, and eventually settled the town of Aurora, Oregon. Keil died in 1877, and his community was dissolved in 1883.

The Harmony Society, on the other hand, in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania, lasted until 1905. It was dissolved in 1906.

The house where Bernhard Müller lived from 1832 to 1833 in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

The New Philadelphia Society's church, founded and led by Bernhard Müller from 1832 to 1833, in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

The house where Müller's widow lived from around 1835 to 1871 at the Germantown Colony near Minden, Louisiana.

See also

• Ambridge, Pennsylvania
• Beaver County, Pennsylvania
• Harmony, Pennsylvania
• New Harmony, Indiana
• Germantown Colony and Museum


1. Louisiana Historical Association, Dictionary of Louisiana Biography "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
2. "Minden Germantown Colony", The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.), August 14, 1987 [1]
3. David James, III, "Germantown: Once Thriving and Socialistic", Minden Press, July 7, 1958, pp. 1-2
4. "Respect for the Past, Confidence in the Future", Webster Parish Centennial, 1871-1971, pp. 13-14
• Account of the Harmony Society and its beliefs
• History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania and Its Centennial Celebration by Joseph Henderson Bausman (1904) Volume II, pp. 797–801
• Germantown Colony Museum near Minden, Louisiana
• Claus Bernet (2004). "Müller, Bernhard". In Bautz, Traugott (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 23. Nordhausen: Bautz. cols. 978–984. ISBN 3-88309-155-3.

External links

• Karl John Richard Arndt collection of Bernhard Muller and the Harmony Society at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 11:53 am

William Keil
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

William Keil (1812-1877).

William Keil (March 6, 1812 – December 30, 1877) was the founder of communal religious societies in Bethel, Missouri, and Aurora Colony in Oregon, that he established and led in the nineteenth century.

Influenced by German Lutheranism, pietism, and revival Methodism, Keil's theology was based on the principle of the Golden Rule as well as the view that people should try to share all with others by living communally (Acts 4:32-37).

Keil was born in Prussia March 6, 1812 and raised by German Lutheran parents. He emigrated to the United States as a young man—apparently after receiving a mystic text from a gypsy. Initially he settled in New York and worked as a tailor, his family trade. Within a year, he and his wife, also German, moved to western Pennsylvania, where Keil gained a reputation as a mystic and healer. By 1837, he had opened a drugstore in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Keil soon heard about a group of former Harmony Society members who had left that communal group, and had moved to Phillipsburg (now Monaca, Pennsylvania), where they had tried to form the New Philadelphia Society. When Keil contacted the families in the early 1840s, he impressed some of them, and they suggested he form a communal society. As former members of such a society, they provided invaluable practical assistance to its founding and maintenance.

Keil was influenced by revivalism and utopianism, which were popular in western Pennsylvania during the 1830s. After becoming a successful Christian preacher and building a large congregation, Keil, and his followers, moved to Bethel, Missouri, in 1844 and started a Utopian commune. This colony was considered successful, but many of its members—again led by Keil—moved to Oregon between 1853 and 1856 to start a new settlement, which became known as Aurora Mills. Keil died December 30, 1877, leaving a power vacuum that led to the dissolution of the colony in 1883.

Dr. Keil led the first wagon train to the Oregon territory carrying his eldest son, Willie, in a coffin in the lead wagon. Willie died a few days before the trip was to begin and had been promised by his Father that he would go, no matter what. Willie's coffin was filled with whiskey distilled at the Bethel colony and put in the lead wagon as promised. He was buried in Washington on the original settlement that would later move and become the Aurora Colony.

The community at Aurora is given tribute at Twin Oaks Community, a contemporary intentional community of over 100 people in Louisa County, Virginia. All Twin Oaks' buildings are named after communities that are no longer actively functioning, and "Aurora" is the name of the visitor residence.

His house near Bethel, known as Elim, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Located nearby is Hebron.[1]

See also

• Aurora Colony


1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
• Bek, W.(1909) The Community at Bethel, Missouri and its Off-Spring at Aurora, Oregon. German American Annals, n.s. 7 (September 1909), 263
• Kanter, R.(1971) Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in Sociological Perspective. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA
• Bethel Colony, Missouri
• Old Aurora Colony Museum, Oregon
• "William Keil". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 12:26 pm

George Ripley (transcendentalist)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

George Ripley
George Ripley, sometime between 1849 and 1860: a detail from Mathew Brady's daguerreotype of the New York Tribune editorial staff.
Born: October 3, 1802, Greenfield, Massachusetts
Died: July 4, 1880 (aged 77), New York City

George Ripley (October 3, 1802 – July 4, 1880) was an American social reformer, Unitarian minister, and journalist associated with Transcendentalism. He was the founder of the short-lived Utopian community Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, George Ripley was pushed to attend Harvard College by his father and completed his studies in 1823. He went on graduate from the Harvard Divinity School and the next year married Sophia Dana. Shortly after, he became ordained as the minister of the Purchase Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts, where he began to question traditional Unitarian beliefs. He became one of the founding members of the Transcendental Club and hosted its first official meeting in his home. Shortly after, he resigned from the church to put Transcendental beliefs in practice by founding an experimental commune called Brook Farm. The community later converted to a model based on the work of Charles Fourier, although the community was never financially stable in either format.

After Brook Farm's failure, Ripley was hired by Horace Greeley at the New York Tribune.
He also published the New American Cyclopaedia, which made him financially successful. He built a national reputation as an arbiter of taste and literature before his death in 1880.


Early life and education

Ripley's ancestors had lived in Hingham, Massachusetts for 140 years before Jerome Ripley moved his family to Greenfield, a town in the western part of the state, in 1789.[1] He was moderately successful as the owner of a general store and tavern[2] and was a prominent member of the community.[3] His son George Ripley was born in Greenfield on October 3, 1802,[4] the ninth child in the family.[1]

George Ripley's early life was heavily influenced by women. His nearest brother was thirteen years older than he was and he was raised primarily by his conservative mother, who was distantly related to Benjamin Franklin, and his sisters.[5] He was sent to a private academy run by a Mr. Huntington in Hadley, Massachusetts to prepare for college.[6] Before going to college, he spent three months in Lincoln with Ezra Ripley, a distant relative who also married the aunt of Ralph Waldo Emerson.[7] Although Ripley wanted to attend the religiously conservative Yale University, his Unitarian father pushed him to attend Harvard College, then known as a hotbed of liberal Unitarianism.[3] Ripley was a good and dedicated student,[8] although he was not popular with students because of his trust of the establishment. Early in his time at Harvard, he had sided with the administration during a student-led protest against poor food, and his attempts at reconciling the two sides prompted ridicule from his peers.[9] Ripley, seeking a socially useful role, found work as a teacher in Fitchburg during winter vacation of his senior year.[10] He graduated in 1823.[3]

During his time at the school, Ripley became disenchanted with his father and his home town, admitting "no particular attachment to Greenfield".[11] He hoped to enroll at Andover[12] but his father convinced him to stay in Cambridge to attend Harvard Divinity School.[13] There, he was influenced by Levi Frisbie, Professor of Natural Religion, who was largely interested in moral philosophy, which he termed "the science of the principles and obligations of duty".[14] Ripley was becoming very interested in more "liberal" religious views, what he wrote to his mother as "so simple, scriptural, and reasonable".[3] He graduated in 1826. A year later, on August 22, 1827, he married Sophia Dana, a fact which he originally kept a secret from his parents. He asked his sister Marianne to inform them shortly after.[15]

Early career

Ripley officially became a minister at Boston's Purchase Street Church on November 8, 1826, and became influential in the developing the Unitarian religion.[16] These ten years of his tenure there were quiet and uneventful,[17] until March 1836, when Ripley published a long article titled "Schleiermacher as a Theologian" in the Christian Examiner. In it, Ripley praised Schleiermacher's attempt to create a "religion of the heart" based on intuition and personal communion with God.[18] Later that year, he published a review of British theologian James Martineau's The Rationale of Religious Enquiry in the same publication.[19] In the review, Ripley charged Unitarian church elders with religious intolerance because they forced the literal acceptance of miracles as a requirement for membership in their church.[20] Andrews Norton, a leading theologian of the day, responded publicly and insisted that disbelief in miracles ultimately denied the truth of Christianity.[21] Norton, formerly Ripley's teacher at the Divinity School, had been labeled by many as the "hard-headed Unitarian Pope", and began his public battle with Ripley in the Boston Daily Advertiser on November 5, 1836, in an open letter charging Ripley with academic and professional incompetence.[20] Ripley contended that to insist upon the reality of miracles was to demand material proof of spiritual matters, and that faith needed no such external confirmation; but Norton and the mainstream of Unitarianism found this tantamount to heresy. This dispute laid the groundwork for the separation of a more extreme Transcendentalism from its liberal Unitarian roots. The debate between Norton and Ripley, which earned allies on both sides, continued until 1840.[22]

Transcendental Club

Ripley met with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederic Henry Hedge, and George Putnam in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 8, 1836, to discuss the formation of a new club.[23] Ten days later, on September 18, 1836, Ripley hosted their first official meeting at his house. The group at this first meeting of what would become known as the "Transcendental Club" included Amos Bronson Alcott, Orestes Brownson, James Freeman Clarke, and Convers Francis as well as Hedge, Emerson, and Ripley.[24] Future members would include Henry David Thoreau, William Henry Channing, Christopher Pearse Cranch, Sylvester Judd, and Jones Very.[25] Female members included Sophia Ripley, Margaret Fuller, and Elizabeth Peabody.[26] The group planned its meetings for times when Hedge was visiting from Bangor, Maine, leading to the early nickname "Hedge's Club".[23] The name Transcendental Club was given to the group by the public and not by its participants. Hedge wrote: "There was no club in the strict sense... only occasional meetings of like-minded men and women", earning the nickname "the brotherhood of the 'Like-Minded'".[27] Beginning in 1839, Ripley edited Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature: fourteen volumes of translations meant to demonstrate the breadth of Transcendental thoughts.[28]

Separation from church

Amid the Panic of 1837, many began to criticize social institutions. That year, Ripley gave a sermon titled "The Temptations of the Times", suggesting that the major problem in the country was "the inordinate pursuit, the extravagant worship of wealth".[29] Ripley had been asked by church proprietors to avoid controversial topics in his sermons. He said, "Unless a minister is expected to speak out on all subjects which are uppermost in his mind, with no fear of incurring the charge of heresy or compromising the interests of his congregation, he can never do justice to himself, to his people, or the truth which he is bound to declare".[30] In May 1840, he offered his resignation from the Purchase Street Church but was convinced to stay. He soon decided he should leave the ministry altogether and, on October 3, 1840, he read a 7,300-word lecture, Letter Addressed to the Congregational Church in Purchase Street, expressing his dissatisfaction with Unitarianism.[31]

Because of his experience with the Specimens translations,[32] Ripley was chosen to be the managing editor of the Transcendental publication The Dial at its inception, working alongside its first editor Margaret Fuller.[33] In addition to overseeing distribution, subscriptions, printing, and finances, Ripley also contributed essays and reviews.[34] In October 1841, he resigned his post with The Dial as he prepared for an experiment in communal living.[35] As he told Emerson, although he was happy seeing all the Transcendental thoughts in print, he could not be truly happy "without the attempt to realize them".[36]

Brook Farm

Former site of Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

In the late 1830s Ripley became increasingly engaged in "Associationism", an early Fourierist socialist movement. In October 1840 he announced to the Transcendental Club his plan to form an Associationist community based on Fourier's Utopian plans.[37] His goals were lofty. As he wrote, "If wisely executed, it will be a light over this country and this age. If not the sunrise, it will be the morning star."[38]

Ripley and his wife formed a joint stock company in 1841 along with 10 other initial investors.[39] Shares of the company were sold for $500 apiece with a promise of five percent of the profits to each investor.[37] The founding membership of the original community included Nathaniel Hawthorne.[39] They chose the Ellis Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts as the site of their experiment, which they named Brook Farm. Its 170 acres (0.69 km2) were about eight miles (13 km) from Boston; a pamphlet described the land as a "place of great natural beauty, combining a convenient nearness to the city with a degree of retirement and freedom from unfavorable influences unusual even in the country".[40] The land, however, turned out to be difficult to farm and the community struggled with financial difficulties as it built greenhouses and craft shops.[41]

Brook Farm was initially based mostly on the ideals of Transcendentalism; its founders believed that by pooling labor they could sustain the community and still have time for literary and scientific pursuits.[39] The experiment meant to serve as an example for the rest of the world, established on the principles of "industry without drudgery, and true equality without its vulgarity".[42] Many in the community wrote of how much they enjoyed their experience. One participant, a man named John Codman, joined the community at the age of 27 in 1843. He wrote, "It was for the meanest a life above humdrum, and for the greatest something far, infinitely far beyond. They looked into the gates of life and saw beyond charming visions, and hopes springing up for all".[43] In their free time, the members of Brook Farm enjoyed music, dancing, card games, drama, costume parties, sledding, and skating.[39] Hawthorne, eventually elected treasurer of the community, did not enjoy his experience. He wrote to his wife-to-be Sophia Peabody, "labor is the curse of the world, and nobody can meddle with it without becoming proportionately brutified".[44]

Many outside the community were also critical, especially in the press. The New York Observer, for example, suggested that, "The Associationists, under the pretense of a desire to promote order and morals, design to overthrow the marriage institution, and in the place of the divine law, to substitute the 'passions' as the proper regulator of the intercourse of the sexes", concluding that they were "secretly and industriously aiming to destroy the foundation of society".[45]

In 1844, the community, perpetually struggling financially, drafted an entirely new constitution and committed to following more closely the Fourierist model.[46] Not everyone at the community supported the transition, and many left.[47] Many were disappointed that the new, more structured daily routine de-emphasized the carefree leisure time that had been a trademark.[48] Ripley himself became a celebrity proponent of Fourierism and organized conventions throughout New England to discuss the community.[49]

By May 1846, troubled by the financial difficulties at Brook Farm, Ripley had made an informal split from the community.[50] By its closure a year later, Brook Farm had amassed a total debt of $17,445.[51] Ripley was devastated at the failure of his experiment and told a friend, "I can now understand how a man would feel if he could attend his own funeral".[52] His personal life was also taxed. His wife had converted to Catholicism in 1846, encouraged by Orestes Brownson, and had become doubtful of his Associationist politics;[53] the Ripleys' relationship became strained by the 1850s.[54]


George Ripley as he appeared in his later years.

After Brook Farm, George Ripley began to work as a freelance journalist. In 1849 he was employed by Horace Greeley at the New York Tribune, taking the role left vacant by Margaret Fuller.[55] Greeley had been a proponent of Brook Farm's conversion to Fourierism.[56] Ripley started his role with the Tribune at $12 a week and, at this wage, was not able to pay off the debt of Brook Farm until 1862.[54] As a critic, he believed in high moral standards for literature but offered good-natured praise in the majority of his reviews.[57] Greeley took advantage of Ripley's cheerful style of writing to boost circulation amid significant competition. Ripley wrote a "Gotham Gossip" column and many articles discussing local personalities and notable public events, including speeches by Henry Clay and Frederick Douglass.[58] He stayed away from philosophy of theology, despite some efforts to persuade him to write on the subject. As he told a friend, he had "long since lost... immediate interest in that line of speculation".[59]

Ripley then edited Harper's Magazine. Together with Bayard Taylor he compiled a Handbook of Literature and the Fine Arts (1852).

With Charles A. Dana, he edited the 16 volume The New American Cyclopaedia (1857–1863), reissued as The American Cyclopaedia (1873–1876). It sold in the millions and its immediate earnings amounted to over $100,000.[60]

He also continued his critical work and in 1860 reviewed On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. He was one of the few contemporary critics to be sympathetic to Darwin, although he was reluctant to show he was convinced of the theories.[61]

Later years

In 1861 Sophia Ripley died. George Ripley remarried, to Louisa Sclossberger, in 1865, and was a part of the Gilded Age New York literary scene for the remainder of his life. Because of his convivial nature, he was careful to avoid the city's rampant literary feuds at the time.[55] He became a public figure with a national reputation[57] and, known as an arbiter of taste, he helped establish the National Institute of Literature, Art, and Science in 1869.[62] In his later years, he began suffering frequent illnesses, including a bout with influenza in 1875 which prevented him from traveling to Germany. He also suffered from gout and rheumatism.[63]

Ripley was found dead at his desk on July 4, 1880, slumped over his work.[64] Pallbearers at his funeral included Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard, George William Curtis, and Whitelaw Reid.[65] At the time of his death, Ripley had become financially successful; the New American Cyclopaedia had earned him royalties of nearly $1.5 million.[57] A biography entitled George Ripley (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1882) was written by Octavius Brooks Frothingham.

Critical assessment

Ripley built a wide reputation as a critic. Contemporary publications rated him as one of the most important critics of the day, including the Hartford Courant, the Springfield Republican, the New York Evening Gazette, and the Chicago Daily Tribune.[66] Henry Theodore Tuckerman commended Ripley as "a scholar and an aesthetic as well as technical critic: [he] knows public taste and the laws of literature".[67]


1. Golemba, 15
2. Crowe, 3
3. Rose, 49
4. Ehrlich, Eugene and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982: 48. ISBN 0-19-503186-5
5. Golemba, 16
6. Crowe, 14
7. Golemba, 18
8. Crowe, 26
9. Golemba, 19
10. Crowe, 27
11. Crowe, 24–25
12. Crowe, 29
13. Golemba, 22
14. Crowe, 34
15. Crowe, 40–41
16. Golemba, 26
17. Felton, 123
18. Packer, 54
19. Rose, 51
20. Delano, 5
21. Hankins, 30
22. Delano, 7
23. Packer, 47
24. Hankins, 23
25. Gura, 7–8
26. Buell, Lawrence. Emerson. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003: 32. ISBN 0-674-01139-2
27. Gura, 5
28. Golemba, 50
29. Delano, 8
30. Packer, 84
31. Delano, 9–10
32. Golemba, 58–59
33. Slater, Abby. In Search of Margaret Fuller. New York: Delacorte Press, 1978: 61–62. ISBN 0-440-03944-4
34. Golemba, 59
35. Packer, 119
36. Golemba, 60
37. Packer, 133
38. Felton, 124
39. Hankins, 34
40. Delano, 39
41. Packer, 134
42. McFarland, Philip. Hawthorne in Concord. New York: Grove Press, 2004: 83. ISBN 0-8021-1776-7
43. Packer, 135
44. McFarland, Philip. Hawthorne in Concord. New York: Grove Press, 2004: 84. ISBN 0-8021-1776-7
45. Delano, 275–276
46. Packer, 157
47. Packer, 158
48. Felton, 127
49. Crowe, 170
50. Delano, 269
51. Rose, 136
52. Delano, 283
53. Packer, 172
54. Rose, 209
55. Miller, 249
56. Hankins, 35
57. Rose, 210
58. Crowe, 232
59. Crowe, 233
60. Miller, 341
61. Crowe, 248–249
62. Golemba, 150
63. Crowe, 261
64. Crowe, 262
65. "The Funeral of George Ripley: Simple but impressive services at the Church of the Messiah". The New York Times. July 8, 1880. Accessed November 9, 2008.
66. Golemba, 113
67. England, Eugene. Beyond Romanticism: Tuckerman's Life and Poetry. New York: SUNY Press, 1991: 231. ISBN 0-7914-0791-8


• Crowe, Charles. George Ripley: Transcendentalist and Utopian Socialist. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1967.
• Delano, Sterling F. Brook Farm: The Dark Side of Utopia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01160-0
• Felton, R. Todd. A Journey into the Transcendentalists' New England. Berkeley, California: Roaring Forties Press, 2006. ISBN 0-9766706-4-X
• Golemba, Henry L. George Ripley. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977. ISBN 0-8057-7181-6
• Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007. ISBN 0-8090-3477-8
• Hankins, Barry. The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalists. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004. ISBN 0-313-31848-4
• Miller, Perry. The Raven and the Whale: Poe, Melville, and the New York Literary Scene. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997 (originally published 1956). ISBN 0-8018-5750-3
• Packer, Barbara L. The Transcendentalists. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-8203-2958-1
• Rose, Anne C. Transcendentalism as a Social Movement, 1830–1850. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 1981. ISBN 0-300-02587-4

External links

• George Ripley, Charles A. Dana. The American Cyclopaedia.. From Internet Archive.
• Ripley biography from Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography
• Ripley's career as a writer from Alcott School
• Ripley and Brook Farm from Transcendentalism Web
• Octavius Brooks Frothingham (1900). "Ripley, George" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography.
• Collection Guide to Ripley's scrapbooks, Houghton Library at Harvard University
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Horace Greeley
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Accessed: 5/20/20

Horace Greeley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 6th district
In office: December 4, 1848 – March 3, 1849
Preceded by: David S. Jackson
Succeeded by: James Brooks
Personal details
Born: February 3, 1811, Amherst, New Hampshire, U.S.
Died: November 29, 1872 (aged 61), Pleasantville, New York, U.S.
Political party: Whig (Before 1854); Republican (1854–1872); Liberal Republican (1872)
Spouse(s): Mary Cheney

Horace Greeley (February 3, 1811 – November 29, 1872) was an American newspaper editor and publisher who was the founder and editor of the New-York Tribune, among the great newspapers of its time. Long active in politics, he served briefly as a congressman from New York, and was the unsuccessful candidate of the new Liberal Republican party in the 1872 presidential election against incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant, who won by a landslide.

Greeley was born to a poor family in Amherst, New Hampshire. He was apprenticed to a printer in Vermont and went to New York City in 1831 to seek his fortune. He wrote for or edited several publications and involved himself in Whig Party politics, taking a significant part in William Henry Harrison's successful 1840 presidential campaign. The following year, he founded the Tribune, which became the highest-circulating newspaper in the country through weekly editions sent by mail. Among many other issues, he urged the settlement of the American West, which he saw as a land of opportunity for the young and the unemployed. He popularized the slogan "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country."[a] He endlessly promoted utopian reforms such as socialism, vegetarianism, agrarianism, feminism, and temperance while hiring the best talent he could find.

Greeley's alliance with William H. Seward and Thurlow Weed led to him serving three months in the House of Representatives, where he angered many by investigating Congress in his newspaper. In 1854, he helped found and may have named the Republican Party. Republican newspapers across the nation regularly reprinted his editorials. During the Civil War, he mostly supported Lincoln, though he urged the president to commit to the end of slavery before he was willing to do so. After Lincoln's assassination, he supported the Radical Republicans in opposition to President Andrew Johnson. He broke with Republican President Ulysses Grant because of corruption and Greeley's sense that Reconstruction policies were no longer needed.

Greeley was the new Liberal Republican Party's presidential nominee in 1872. He lost in a landslide despite having the additional support of the Democratic Party. He was devastated by the death of his wife five days before the election and died himself one month later, before the Electoral College had met.

Early life

Horace Greeley Birthplace in Amherst, New Hampshire

Horace Greeley was born on February 3, 1811, on a farm about five miles from Amherst, New Hampshire. He could not breathe for the first twenty minutes of his life. It is suggested that this deprivation may have caused him to develop Asperger's syndrome—some of his biographers, such as Mitchell Snay, maintain that this condition would account for his eccentric behaviors in later life.[1] His father's family was of English descent, and his forebears included early settlers of Massachusetts and New Hampshire,[2] while his mother's family descended from Scots-Irish immigrants from the village of Garvagh in County Londonderry who had settled Londonderry, New Hampshire. Some of Greeley's maternal ancestors were present at the Siege of Derry during the Williamite War in Ireland in 1689.[3]

Greeley was the son of poor farmers Zaccheus and Mary (Woodburn) Greeley. Zaccheus was not successful, and moved his family several times, as far west as Pennsylvania. Horace attended the local schools and was a brilliant student.[4]

Seeing the boy's intelligence, some neighbors offered to pay Horace's way at Phillips Exeter Academy, but the Greeleys were too proud to accept charity. In 1820, Zaccheus's financial reverses caused him to flee New Hampshire with his family lest he be imprisoned for debt, and settle in Vermont. Even as his father struggled to make a living as a hired hand, Horace Greeley read everything he could—the Greeleys had a neighbor who let Horace use his library. In 1822, Horace ran away from home to become a printer's apprentice, but was told he was too young.[5]

In 1826, at age 15, he was made a printer's apprentice to Amos Bliss, editor of the Northern Spectator, a newspaper in East Poultney, Vermont. There, he learned the mechanics of a printer's job, and acquired a reputation as the town encyclopedia, reading his way through the local library.[6] When the paper closed in 1830, the young man went west to join his family, living near Erie, Pennsylvania. He remained there only briefly, going from town to town seeking newspaper employment, and was hired by the Erie Gazette. Although ambitious for greater things, he remained until 1831 to help support his father. While there, he became a Universalist, breaking from his Congregationalist upbringing.[7]

First efforts at publishing

Early depiction of Greeley's first arrival in New York

In late 1831, Greeley went to New York City to seek his fortune. There were many young printers in New York who had likewise come to the metropolis, and he could only find short-term work.[8] In 1832, Greeley worked as an employee of the publication Spirit of the Times.[9] He built his resources and set up a print shop in that year. In 1833, he tried his hand with Horatio D. Sheppard at editing a daily newspaper, the New York Morning Post, which was not a success. Despite this failure and its attendant financial loss, Greeley published the thrice-weekly Constitutionalist, which mostly printed lottery results.[10]

On March 22, 1834, he published the first issue of The New-Yorker in partnership with Jonas Winchester.[9] It was less expensive than other literary magazines of the time and published both contemporary ditties and political commentary. Circulation reached 9,000, then a sizable number, yet it was ill-managed and eventually fell victim to the economic Panic of 1837.[11] He also published the campaign newssheet of the new Whig Party in New York for the 1834 campaign, and came to believe in its positions, including free markets with government assistance in developing the nation.[12]

Soon after his move to New York City, Greeley met Mary Young Cheney. Both were living at a boarding house run on the diet principles of Sylvester Graham, eschewing meat, alcohol, coffee, tea, and spices, as well as abstaining from the use of tobacco. Greeley was subscribing to Graham's principles at the time, and to the end of his life rarely ate meat. Mary Cheney, a schoolteacher, moved to North Carolina to take a teaching job in 1835. They were married in Warrenton, North Carolina on July 5, 1836, and an announcement duly appeared in The New-Yorker eleven days later. Greeley had stopped over in Washington, D.C. on his way south to observe Congress. He took no honeymoon with his new wife, returning to work while his wife took up a teaching job in New York City.[13]

One of the positions taken by The New-Yorker was that the unemployed of the cities should seek lives in the developing American West (in the 1830s, the West encompassed today's Midwestern states). The harsh winter of 1836–1837 and the financial crisis that developed soon after made many New Yorkers homeless and destitute. In his journal, Greeley urged new immigrants to buy guide books on the West, and Congress to make public lands available for purchase at cheap rates to settlers. He told his readers, "Fly, scatter through the country, go to the Great West, anything rather than remain here ... the West is the true destination."[14] In 1838, he advised "any young man" about to start in the world, "Go to the West: there your capabilities are sure to be appreciated and your energy and industry rewarded."[a][15]

In 1838, Greeley met Albany editor Thurlow Weed. Weed spoke for a liberal faction of the Whigs in his newspaper the Albany Evening Journal. He hired Greeley as editor of the state Whig newspaper for the upcoming campaign. The newspaper, the Jeffersonian, premiered in February 1838 and helped elect the Whig candidate for governor, William H. Seward.[11] In 1839, Greeley worked for several journals, and took a month-long break to go as far west as Detroit.[16]

Greeley was deeply involved in the campaign of the Whig candidate for president in 1840, William Henry Harrison. He published the major Whig periodical the Log Cabin, and also wrote many of the pro-Harrison songs that marked the campaign. These songs were sung at mass meetings, many organized and led by Greeley. According to biographer Robert C. Williams, "Greeley's lyrics swept the country and roused Whig voters to action."[17] Funds raised by Weed helped distribute the Log Cabin widely. Harrison and his running mate John Tyler were easily elected.[18]

Editor of the Tribune

Early years (1841–1848)

Photograph of Greeley by Mathew Brady, taken between 1844 and 1860

By the end of the 1840 campaign, the Log Cabin's circulation had risen to 80,000 and Greeley decided to establish a daily newspaper, the New-York Tribune.[19] At the time, New York had many newspapers, dominated by James Gordon Bennett's New York Herald, which with a circulation of about 55,000 had more readers than its combined competition. As technology advanced, it became cheaper and easier to publish a newspaper, and the daily press came to dominate the weekly, which had once been the more common format for news periodicals. Greeley borrowed money from friends to get started, and published the first issue of the Tribune on April 10, 1841 — the day of a memorial parade in New York for President Harrison, who had died after a month in office and been replaced by Vice President Tyler.[20]

In the first issue, Greeley promised that his newspaper would be a "new morning Journal of Politics, Literature, and General Intelligence".[20] New Yorkers were not initially receptive; the first week's receipts were $92 and expenses $525.[20] The paper was sold for a cent a copy by newsboys who purchased bundles of papers at a discount. The price of advertising was initially four cents a line but was quickly raised to six cents. Through the 1840s, the Tribune was four pages, that is, a single sheet folded. It initially had 600 subscribers and 5,000 copies were sold of the first issue.[21]

In the early days, Greeley's chief assistant was Henry J. Raymond, who a decade later founded The New York Times. To place the Tribune on a sound financial footing, Greeley sold a half-interest in it to attorney Thomas McElrath (1807–1888), who became publisher of the Tribune (Greeley was editor) and ran the business side. Politically, the Tribune backed Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, who had unsuccessfully sought the presidential nomination that fell to Harrison, and supported Clay's American System for development of the country. Greeley was one of the first newspaper editors to have a full-time correspondent in Washington, an innovation quickly followed by his rivals.[20] Part of Greeley's strategy was to make the Tribune a newspaper of national scope, not merely local.[22] One factor in establishing the paper nationally was the Weekly Tribune, created in September 1841 when the Log Cabin and The New-Yorker were merged. With an initial subscription price of $2 a year,[23] this was sent to many across the United States by mail and was especially popular in the Midwest.[24] In December 1841, Greeley was offered the editorship of the national Whig newspaper, the Madisonian. He demanded full control, and declined when not given it.[25]

Greeley, in his paper, initially supported the Whig program.[26] As divisions between Clay and President Tyler became apparent, he supported the Kentucky senator and looked to a Clay nomination for president in 1844.[25] However, when Clay was nominated by the Whigs, he was defeated by the Democrat, former Tennessee governor James K. Polk, though Greeley worked hard on Clay's behalf.[27] Greeley had taken positions in opposition to slavery as editor of The New-Yorker in the late 1830s, opposing the annexation of the slaveholding Republic of Texas to the United States.[28] In the 1840s, Greeley became an increasingly vocal opponent of the expansion of slavery.[26]

Greeley hired Margaret Fuller in 1844 as first literary editor of the Tribune, for which she wrote over 200 articles. She lived with the Greeley family for several years, and when she moved to Italy, he made her a foreign correspondent.[29] He promoted the work of Henry David Thoreau, serving as literary agent and seeing to it that Thoreau's work was published.[30] Ralph Waldo Emerson also benefited from Greeley's promotion.[31] Historian Allan Nevins explained:

The Tribune set a new standard in American journalism by its combination of energy in newsgathering with good taste, high moral standards, and intellectual appeal. Police reports, scandals, dubious medical advertisements, and flippant personalities were barred from its pages; the editorials were vigorous but usually temperate; the political news was the most exact in the city; book reviews and book-extracts were numerous; and as an inveterate lecturer Greeley gave generous space to lectures. The paper appealed to substantial and thoughtful people.[32]

Greeley, who had met his wife at a Graham boarding house, became enthusiastic about other social movements that did not last and promoted them in his paper. He subscribed to the views of Charles Fourier, a French social thinker, then recently deceased, who proposed the establishment of settlements called "phalanxes" with a given number of people from various walks of life, who would function as a corporation and among whose members profits would be shared. Greeley, in addition to promoting Fourierism in the Tribune, was associated with two such settlements, both of which eventually failed, though the town that eventually developed on the site of the one in Pennsylvania was after his death renamed Greeley.[33]

Congressman (1848–1849)

In November 1848, Congressman David S. Jackson, a Democrat, of New York's 6th district was unseated for election fraud. Jackson's term was to expire in March 1849 but, during the 19th century, Congress convened annually in December, making it important to fill the seat. Under the laws then in force, the Whig committee from the Sixth District chose Greeley to run in the special election for the remainder of the term, though they did not select him as their candidate for the seat in the following Congress. The Sixth District, or Sixth Ward as it was commonly called, was mostly Irish-American, and Greeley proclaimed his support for Irish efforts towards independence from Great Britain. He easily won the November election and took his seat when Congress convened in December 1848.[34] Greeley's selection was procured by the influence of his ally, Thurlow Weed.[35]

As a congressman for three months, Greeley introduced legislation for a homestead act that would allow settlers who improved land to purchase it at low rates—a fourth of what speculators would pay. He was quickly noticed because he launched a series of attacks on legislative privileges, taking note of which congressmen were missing votes, and questioning the office of House Chaplain. This was enough to make him unpopular. But he outraged his colleagues when on December 22, 1848, the Tribune published evidence that many congressmen had been paid excessive sums as travel allowance. In January 1849, Greeley supported a bill that would have corrected the issue, but it was defeated. He was so disliked, he wrote a friend, that he had "divided the House into two parties—one that would like to see me extinguished and the other that wouldn't be satisfied without a hand in doing it."[36]

Other legislation introduced by Greeley, all of which failed, included attempts to end flogging in the Navy and to ban alcohol from its ships. He tried to change the name of the United States to "Columbia", abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, and increase tariffs.[35] One lasting effect of the term of Congressman Greeley was his friendship with a fellow Whig, serving his only term in the House, Illinois's Abraham Lincoln. Greeley's term ended after March 3, 1849, and he returned to New York and the Tribune, having, according to Williams, "failed to achieve much except notoriety".[37]

Influence (1849–1860)

New-York Tribune editorial staff, with Greeley third from the left in the front row

By the end of the 1840s, Greeley's Tribune was not only solidly established in New York as a daily paper, it was highly influential nationally through its weekly edition, which circulated in rural areas and small towns. Journalist Bayard Taylor deemed its influence in the Midwest second only to that of the Bible. According to Williams, the Tribune could mold public opinion through Greeley's editorials more effectively than could the president. Greeley sharpened those skills over time, laying down what future Secretary of State John Hay, who worked for the Tribune in the 1870s, deemed the "Gospel according to St. Horace".[38]

The Tribune remained a Whig paper, but Greeley took an independent course. In 1848, he had been slow to endorse the Whig presidential nominee, General Zachary Taylor, a Louisianan and hero of the Mexican–American War. Greeley opposed both the war and the expansion of slavery into the new territories seized from Mexico and feared Taylor would support expansion as president. Greeley considered endorsing former President Martin Van Buren, candidate of the Free Soil Party, but finally endorsed Taylor, who was elected; the editor was rewarded for his loyalty with the congressional term.[39] Greeley vacillated on support for the Compromise of 1850, which gave victories to both sides of the slavery issue, before finally opposing it. In the 1852 presidential campaign, he supported the Whig candidate, General Winfield Scott, but savaged the Whig platform for its support of the Compromise. "We defy it, execrate it, spit upon it."[40] Such party divisions contributed to Scott's defeat by former New Hampshire senator Franklin Pierce.[41]

In 1853, with the party increasingly divided over the slavery issue, Greeley printed an editorial disclaiming the paper's identity as Whig and declaring it to be nonpartisan. He was confident that the paper would not suffer financially, trusting in reader loyalty. Some in the party were not sorry to see him go: the Republic, a Whig organ, mocked Greeley and his beliefs: "If a party is to be built up and maintained on Fourierism, Mesmerism, Maine Liquor laws, Spiritual Rappings, Kossuthism, Socialism, Abolitionism, and forty other isms, we have no disposition to mix with any such companions."[42] When, in 1854, Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas introduced his Kansas–Nebraska Bill, allowing residents of each territory to decide whether it would be slave or free, Greeley strongly fought the legislation in his newspaper. After it passed, and the Border War broke out in Kansas Territory, Greeley was part of efforts to send free-state settlers there, and to arm them.[43] In return, proponents of slavery recognized Greeley and the Tribune as adversaries, stopping shipments of the paper to the South and harassing local agents.[44] Nevertheless, by 1858, the Tribune reached 300,000 subscribers through the weekly edition, and it would continue as the foremost American newspaper through the years of the Civil War.[45]

The Kansas–Nebraska Act helped destroy the Whig Party, but a new party with opposition to the spread of slavery at its heart had been under discussion for some years. Beginning in 1853, Greeley participated in the discussions that led to the founding of the Republican Party and may have coined its name.[46] Greeley attended the first New York state Republican Convention in 1854 and was disappointed not to be nominated either for governor or lieutenant governor. The switch in parties coincided with the end of two of his longtime political alliances: in December 1854, Greeley wrote that the political partnership between Weed, William Seward (who was by then senator after serving as governor) and himself was ended "by the withdrawal of the junior partner".[47] Greeley was angered over patronage disputes and felt that Seward was courting the rival The New York Times for support.[48]

In 1853, Greeley purchased a farm in rural Chappaqua, New York, where he experimented with farming techniques.[49] In 1856, he designed and built Rehoboth, one of the first concrete structures in the United States.[50]

The Tribune continued to print a wide variety of material. In 1851, its managing editor, Charles Dana, recruited Karl Marx as a foreign correspondent in London. Marx collaborated with Friedrich Engels on his work for the Tribune, which continued for over a decade, covering 500 articles. Greeley felt compelled to print, "Mr. Marx has very decided opinions of his own, with some of which we are far from agreeing, but those who do not read his letters are neglecting one of the most instructive sources of information on the great questions of current European politics."[51]

Greeley sponsored a host of reforms, including pacifism and feminism and especially the ideal of the hard-working free laborer. Greeley demanded reforms to make all citizens free and equal. He envisioned virtuous citizens who would eradicate corruption. He talked endlessly about progress, improvement, and freedom, while calling for harmony between labor and capital.[52] Greeley's editorials promoted social democratic reforms and were widely reprinted. They influenced the free-labor ideology of the Whigs and the radical wing of the Republican Party, especially in promoting the free-labor ideology. Before 1848 he sponsored an American version of Fourierist socialist reform. but backed away after the failed revolutions of 1848 in Europe.[53] To promote multiple reforms Greeley hired a roster of writers who later became famous in their own right, including Margaret Fuller,[54] Charles Anderson Dana, George William Curtis, William Henry Fry, Bayard Taylor, Julius Chambers and Henry Jarvis Raymond, who later co-founded The New York Times.[55] For many years George Ripley was the staff literary critic.[56] Jane Swisshelm was one of the first women hired by a major newspaper.[57]

In 1859, Greeley traveled across the continent to see the West for himself, to write about it for the Tribune, and to publicize the need for a transcontinental railroad.[58] He also planned to give speeches to promote the Republican Party.[59] In May 1859, he went to Chicago, and then to Lawrence in Kansas Territory, and was unimpressed by the local people. Nevertheless, after speaking before the first ever Kansas Republican Party Convention at Osawatomie, Kansas, Greeley took one of the first stagecoaches to Denver, seeing the town then in course of formation as a mining camp of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[58] Sending dispatches back to the Tribune, Greeley took the Overland Trail, reaching Salt Lake City, where he conducted a two-hour interview with the Mormon leader Brigham Young – the first newspaper interview Young had given. Greeley encountered Native Americans and was sympathetic but, like many of his time, deemed Indian culture inferior. In California, he toured widely and gave many addresses.[60]

1860 presidential election

Main articles: 1860 Republican National Convention and 1860 United States presidential election
Although he remained on cordial terms with Senator Seward, Greeley never seriously considered supporting him in his bid for the Republican nomination for president. Instead, during the run-up to the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago, he pressed the candidacy of former Missouri representative Edward Bates, an opponent of the spread of slavery who had freed his own slaves. In his newspaper, in speeches, and in conversation, Greeley pushed Bates as a man who could win the North and even make inroads in the South. Nevertheless, when one of the dark horse candidates for the Republican nomination, Abraham Lincoln, came to New York to give an address at Cooper Union, Greeley urged his readers to go hear Lincoln, and was among those who accompanied him to the platform. Greeley thought of Lincoln as a possible nominee for vice president.[61]

Greeley attended the convention as a substitute for a delegate from Oregon who was unable to attend. In Chicago, he promoted Bates but deemed his cause hopeless and felt that Seward would be nominated. In conversations with other delegates, he predicted that, if nominated, Seward could not carry crucial battleground states such as Pennsylvania.[62] Greeley's estrangement from Seward was not widely known, giving the editor more credibility.[63] Greeley (and Seward) biographer Glyndon G. Van Deusen noted that it is uncertain how great a part Greeley played in Seward's defeat by Lincoln—he had little success gaining delegates for Bates. On the first two ballots, Seward led Lincoln, but on the second only by a small margin. After the third ballot, on which Lincoln was nominated, Greeley was seen among the Oregon delegation, a broad smile on his face.[64] According to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, "it is hard to imagine Lincoln letting Greeley's resentment smolder for years as Seward did".[65]

Seward's forces made Greeley a target of their anger at the senator's defeat. One subscriber cancelled, regretting the three-cent stamp he had to use on the letter; Greeley supplied a replacement. When he was attacked in print, Greeley responded in kind. He launched a campaign against corruption in the New York Legislature, hoping voters would defeat incumbents and the new legislators would elect him to the Senate when Seward's term expired in 1861 (senators were until 1913 elected by state legislatures). But his main activity during the campaign of 1860 was boosting Lincoln and denigrating the other presidential candidates. He made it clear that a Republican administration would not interfere with slavery where it already was and denied that Lincoln was in favor of voting rights for African Americans. He kept up the pressure until Lincoln was elected in November.[66]

Lincoln soon let it be known that Seward would be Secretary of State, meaning he would not be a candidate for re-election to the Senate. Weed wanted William M. Evarts elected in his place, while the anti-Seward forces in New York gathered around Greeley. The crucial battleground was the Republican caucus, as the party held the majority in the legislature. Greeley's forces did not have enough votes to send him to the Senate, but they had enough strength to block Evarts's candidacy. Weed threw his support to Ira Harris, who had already received several votes, and who was chosen by the caucus and elected by the legislature in February 1861. Weed was content to have blocked the editor, and stated that he had "paid the first installment on a large debt to Mr. Greeley".[67]

Civil War

Main article: American Civil War

War breaks out

After Lincoln's election, there was talk of secession in the South. The Tribune was initially in favor of peaceful separation, with the South becoming a separate nation. According to an editorial on November 9:

If the Cotton States shall become satisfied that they can do better out of the Union than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace. The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but it exists nevertheless ... And whenever a considerable section of our Union shall deliberately resolve to go out, we shall resist all coercive measures designed to keep it in. We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.[68]

Similar editorials appeared through January 1861, after which Tribune editorials took a hard line on the South, opposing concessions.[69] Williams concludes that "for a brief moment, Horace Greeley had believed that peaceful secession might be a form of freedom preferable to civil war".[70] This brief flirtation with disunion would have consequences for Greeley—it was used against him by his opponents when he ran for president in 1872.[70]

In the days leading up to Lincoln's inauguration, the Tribune headed its editorial columns each day, in large capital letters: "No compromise!/No concession to traitors!/The Constitution as it is!"[71] Greeley attended the inauguration, sitting close to Senator Douglas, as the Tribune hailed the beginning of Lincoln's presidency. When southern forces attacked Fort Sumter, the Tribune regretted the loss of the fort, but applauded the fact that war to subdue the rebels, who formed the Confederate States of America, would now take place. The paper criticized Lincoln for not being quick to use force.[72]

Through the spring and early summer of 1861, Greeley and the Tribune beat the drum for a Union attack. "On to Richmond", a phrase coined by a Tribune stringer, became the watchword of the newspaper as Greeley urged the occupation of the rebel capital of Richmond before the Confederate Congress could meet on July 20. In part because of the public pressure, Lincoln sent the half-trained Union Army into the field at the First Battle of Manassas in mid-July where it was soundly beaten. The defeat threw Greeley into despair, and he may have suffered a nervous breakdown.[73]

"Prayer of Twenty Millions"

Restored to health by two weeks at the farm he had purchased in Chappaqua, Greeley returned to the Tribune and a policy of general backing of the Lincoln administration, even having kind words to say about Secretary Seward, his old foe. He was supportive even during the military defeats of the first year of the war. Late in 1861, he proposed to Lincoln through an intermediary that the president provide him with advance information as to its policies, in exchange for friendly coverage in the Tribune. Lincoln eagerly accepted, "having him firmly behind me will be as helpful to me as an army of one hundred thousand men."[74]

By early 1862, however, Greeley was again sometimes critical of the administration, frustrated by the failure to win decisive military victories, and perturbed at the president's slowness to commit to the emancipation of the slaves once the Confederacy was defeated, something the Tribune was urging in its editorials. This was a change in Greeley's thinking which began after First Manassas, a shift from preservation of the Union being the primary war purpose to wanting the war to end slavery. By March, the only action against slavery that Lincoln had backed was a proposal for compensated emancipation in the border states that had remained loyal to the Union, though he signed legislation abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia.[75] Lincoln supposedly asked a Tribune correspondent, "What in the world is the matter with Uncle Horace? Why can't he restrain himself and wait a little while?"[76]

Greeley's prodding of Lincoln culminated in a letter to him on August 19, 1862, reprinted on the following day in the Tribune as the "Prayer of Twenty Millions". By this time, Lincoln had informed his Cabinet of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation he had composed, and Greeley was told of it the same day the prayer was printed. In his letter, Greeley demanded action on emancipation and strict enforcement of the Confiscation Acts. Lincoln must "fight slavery with liberty", and not fight "wolves with the devices of a sheep".[77]

Lincoln's reply would become famous, much more so than the prayer that provoked it.[78] "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union."[79] Lincoln's statement angered abolitionists; William Seward's wife Frances complained to her husband that Lincoln had made it seem "that the mere keeping together a number of states is more important than human freedom."[79] Greeley felt Lincoln had not truly answered him, "but I'll forgive him everything if he'll issue the proclamation".[78] When Lincoln did, on September 22, Greeley hailed the Emancipation Proclamation as a "great boon of freedom". According to Williams, "Lincoln's war for Union was now also Greeley's war for emancipation."[80]
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Part 2 of 2

Draft riots and peace efforts

Greeley honored on a 1961 U.S. postage stamp

After the Union victory at Gettysburg in early July 1863, the Tribune wrote that the rebellion would be quickly "stamped out".[81] A week after the battle, the New York City draft riots erupted. Greeley and the Tribune were generally supportive of conscription, though feeling that the rich should not be allowed to evade it by hiring substitutes. Support for the draft made them targets of the mob, and the Tribune Building was surrounded, and at least once invaded. Greeley secured arms from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and 150 soldiers kept the building secure. Mary Greeley and her children were at the farm in Chappaqua; a mob threatened them, but dispersed without doing harm.[82]

In August 1863, Greeley was requested by a firm of Hartford publishers to write a history of the war. Greeley agreed, and over the next eight months penned a 600-page volume, which would be the first of two, entitled The American Conflict.[83] The books were very successful, selling a total of 225,000 copies by 1870, a large sale for the time.[84]

Throughout the war, Greeley played with ideas as to how to settle it. In 1862, Greeley had approached the French minister to Washington, Henri Mercier, to discuss a mediated settlement. However, Seward rejected such talks and the prospect of European intervention receded after the bloody Union victory at Antietam in September 1862.[85] In July 1864, Greeley received word that there were Confederate commissioners in Canada, empowered to offer peace. In fact, the men were in Niagara Falls, Canada to aid Peace Democrats and otherwise undermine the Union war effort. but they played along when Greeley journeyed to Niagara Falls, at Lincoln's request: the president was willing to consider any deal that included reunion and emancipation. The Confederates had no credentials and were unwilling to accompany Greeley to Washington under safe conduct. Greeley returned to New York, and the episode, when it became public, embarrassed the administration. Lincoln said nothing publicly concerning Greeley's credulous conduct, but privately indicated that he had no confidence in him anymore.[86]

Greeley did not initially support Lincoln for nomination in 1864, casting about for other candidates. In February, he wrote in the Tribune that Lincoln could not be elected to a second term. Nevertheless, no candidate made a serious challenge to Lincoln, who was nominated in June, which the Tribune applauded slightly.[87] In August, fearing a Democratic victory and acceptance of the Confederacy, Greeley engaged in a plot to get a new convention to nominate another candidate, with Lincoln withdrawing. The plot came to nothing. Once Atlanta was taken by Union forces on September 3, Greeley became a fervent supporter of Lincoln. Greeley was gratified both by Lincoln's re-election and continued Union victories.[88]


As the war drew to a close in April 1865, Greeley and the Tribune urged magnanimity towards the defeated Confederates, arguing that making martyrs of Confederate leaders would only inspire future rebels. This talk of moderation ceased when Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Many concluded that Lincoln had fallen as the result of a final rebel plot, and the new president, Andrew Johnson, offered $100,000 for the capture of fugitive Confederate president Jefferson Davis. After the rebel leader was caught, Greeley initially advocated that "punishment be meted out in accord with a just verdict".[89]

Through 1866, Greeley editorialized that Davis, who was being held at Fortress Monroe, should either be set free or put on trial. Davis's wife Varina urged Greeley to use his influence to gain her husband's release. In May 1867, a Richmond judge set bail for the former Confederate president at $100,000. Greeley was among those who signed the bail bond, and the two men met briefly at the courthouse. This act resulted in public anger against Greeley in the North. Sales of the second volume of his history (published in 1866) declined sharply.[90] Subscriptions to the Tribune (especially the Weekly Tribune) also dropped off, though they recovered during the 1868 election.[91]

Initially supportive of Andrew Johnson's lenient Reconstruction policies, Greeley soon became disillusioned, as the president's plan allowed the quick formation of state governments without securing suffrage for the freedman. When Congress convened in December 1865, and gradually took control of Reconstruction, he was generally supportive, as Radical Republicans pushed hard for universal male suffrage and civil rights for freedmen. Greeley ran for Congress in 1866 but lost badly, and for Senate in the legislative election held in early 1867, losing to Roscoe Conkling.[92]

As president and Congress battled, Greeley remained firmly opposed to the president, and when Johnson was impeached in March 1868, Greeley and the Tribune strongly supported his removal, attacking Johnson as "an aching tooth in the national jaw, a screeching infant in a crowded lecture room," and declaring, "There can be no peace or comfort till he is out."[93] Nevertheless, the president was acquitted by the Senate, much to Greeley's disappointment. Also in 1868, Greeley sought the Republican nomination for governor but was frustrated by the Conkling forces. Greeley supported the successful Republican presidential nominee, General Ulysses S. Grant in the 1868 election.[94]

Grant years

Greeley at his Chappaqua farm in 1869, photographed by his friend George G. Rockwood

In 1868, Whitelaw Reid joined the Tribune 's staff as managing editor.[95] In Reid, Greeley found a reliable second-in-command.[96] Also on the Tribune's staff in the late 1860s was Mark Twain;[97] Henry George sometimes contributed pieces, as did Bret Harte.[98] In 1870, John Hay joined the staff as an editorial writer. Greeley soon pronounced Hay the most brilliant at that craft ever to write for the Tribune.[99]

Greeley maintained his interest in associationism. Beginning in 1869, he was heavily involved in an attempt to found a utopia, called the Union Colony of Colorado, on the prairie in a scheme led by Nathan Meeker. The new town of Greeley, Colorado Territory was named after him. He served as treasurer and lent Meeker money to keep the colony afloat. In 1871, Greeley published a book What I Know About Farming, based on his childhood experience and that from his country home in Chappaqua.[100][101]

Greeley continued to seek political office, running for state comptroller in 1869 and the House of Representatives in 1870, losing both times.[102] In 1870, President Grant offered Greeley the post of minister to Santo Domingo (today, the Dominican Republic), which he declined.[103]

Presidential candidate

Main article: Horace Greeley presidential campaign, 1872

As had been the case for much of the 19th century, political parties continued to be formed and to vanish after the Civil War. In September 1871, Missouri Senator Carl Schurz formed the Liberal Republican Party, founded on opposition to President Grant, opposition to corruption, and support of civil service reform, lower taxes, and land reform. He gathered around him an eclectic group of supporters whose only real link was their opposition to Grant, whose administration had proved increasingly corrupt. The party needed a candidate, with a presidential election upcoming. Greeley was one of the best-known Americans, as well as being a perennial candidate for office.[104] He was more minded to consider a run for the Republican nomination, fearing the effect on the Tribune should he bolt the party. Nevertheless, he wanted to be president, as a Republican if possible, if not, as a Liberal Republican.[105][106]

The Liberal Republican national convention met in Cincinnati in May 1872. Greeley was spoken of as a possible candidate, as was Missouri Governor Benjamin Gratz Brown. Schurz was ineligible as foreign-born. On the first ballot, Supreme Court Justice David Davis led, but Greeley took a narrow lead on the second ballot. Former minister to Britain Charles Francis Adams took the lead, but on the sixth ballot, after a "spontaneous" demonstration staged by Reid, Greeley gained the nomination, with Brown as vice presidential candidate.[107]

Thomas Nast cartoon for the 1872 campaign, alleging that Greeley was contradicting his earlier positions

The Democrats, when they met in Baltimore in July, faced a stark choice: nominate Greeley, long a thorn in their side, or split the anti-Grant vote and go on to certain defeat. They chose the former, and even adopted the Liberal Republican platform, which called for equal rights for African Americans.[108] This was the first time one man had been nominated for president by two political parties.[109] Greeley resigned as editor of the Tribune for the campaign,[110] and, unusually for the time, embarked on a speaking tour to bring his message to the people. As it was more usual for candidates for major office to not actively campaign, he was attacked as a seeker after office.[111] Nevertheless, in late July, Greeley (and others, such as former Ohio governor Rutherford B. Hayes) thought he would very likely be elected.[112] Greeley campaigned on a platform of intersectional reconciliation, arguing that the war was over and the issue of slavery was resolved. It was time to restore normality and end the continuing military occupation of the South.[113]

The Republican counterattack was well-financed, accusing Greeley of support for everything from treason to the Ku Klux Klan. The anti-Greeley campaign was famously and effectively summed up in the cartoons of Thomas Nast, whom Grant later credited with a major role in his re-election. Nast's cartoons showed Greeley giving bail money for Jefferson Davis, throwing mud on Grant, and shaking hands with John Wilkes Booth across Lincoln's grave. The Crédit Mobilier scandal—corruption in the financing of the Union Pacific Railroad—broke in September, but Greeley was unable to take advantage of the Grant administration's ties to the scandal as he had stock in the railroad himself, and some alleged it had been given to him in exchange for favorable coverage.[114]

Greeley's wife Mary had returned ill from a trip to Europe in late June.[115] Her condition worsened in October, and he effectively broke off campaigning after October 12 to be with her. She died on October 30, plunging him into despair a week before the election.[116] Poor results for the Democrats in those states that had elections for other offices in September and October presaged defeat for Greeley, and so it proved. He received 2,834,125 votes to 3,597,132 for Grant, who secured 286 electors to 66 chosen for Greeley. The editor-turned-candidate won only six states (out of 37): Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.[117]

Final month and death

Greeley resumed the editorship of the Tribune, but quickly learned there was a movement underway to unseat him. He found himself unable to sleep, and after a final visit to the Tribune on November 13 (a week after the election) remained under medical care. At the recommendation of a family physician, Greeley was sent to Choate House, the asylum of Dr. George Choate at Pleasantville, New York.[118] There, he continued to worsen, and died on November 29, with his two surviving daughters and Whitelaw Reid at his side.[119]

His death came before the Electoral College balloted. His 66 electoral votes were divided among four others, principally Indiana governor-elect Thomas A. Hendricks and Greeley's vice presidential running mate, Benjamin Gratz Brown.[120]

Although Greeley had requested a simple funeral, his daughters ignored his wishes and arranged a grand affair at the Church of the Divine Paternity, later the Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York, where Greeley was a member. He is buried in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. Among the mourners were old friends, Tribune employees including Reid and Hay, his journalistic rivals, and a broad array of politicians, led by President Grant.[121]


Further information: Tributes to Horace Greeley

Monument to Horace Greeley in Green-Wood Cemetery

Despite the venom that had been spewed over him in the presidential campaign, Greeley's death was widely mourned. Harper's Weekly, which had printed Nast's cartoons, wrote, "Since the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, the death of no American has been so sincerely deplored as that of Horace Greeley; and its tragical circumstances have given a peculiarly affectionate pathos to all that has been said of him."[122] Henry Ward Beecher wrote in the Christian Union, "when Horace Greeley died, unjust and hard judgment of him died also".[123] Harriett Beecher Stowe noted Greeley's eccentric dress, "That poor white hat! If, alas, it covered many weaknesses, it covered also much strength, much real kindness and benevolence, and much that the world will be better for".[123]

Greeley supported liberal policies towards the fast-growing western regions; he memorably advised the ambitious to "Go West, young man."[124] A champion of the working man, he flirted with European socialism. he hired Karl Marx because of his interest in coverage of working-class society and politics[125] he attacked monopolies of all sorts and rejected land grants to railroads.[126] Industry would make everyone rich, he insisted, as he promoted high tariffs.[127] He supported vegetarianism, opposed liquor and paid serious attention to any ism anyone proposed.[128]

Historian Iver Bernstein says:

Greeley was an eclectic and unsystematic thinker, a one-man switch-board for the international cause of "Reform." He committed himself, all at once, to utopian and artisan socialism, to land, sexual, and dietary reform, and, of course, to anti-slavery. Indeed Greeley's great significance in the culture and politics of Civil War-era America stemmed from his attempt to accommodate intellectually the contradictions inherent in the many diverse reform movements of the time.[129]

Greeley's view of freedom was based in the desire that all should have the opportunity to better themselves.[130] According to his biographer, Erik S. Lunde, "a dedicated social reformer deeply sympathetic to the treatment of poor white males, slaves, free blacks, and white women, he still espoused the virtues of self-help and free enterprise".[131] Van Deusen stated: "His genuine human sympathies, his moral fervor, even the exhibitionism that was a part of his makeup, made it inevitable that he should crusade for a better world. He did so with apostolic zeal."[132]

Nevertheless, Greeley's effectiveness as a reformer was undermined by his idiosyncrasies: according to Williams, he "must have looked like an apparition, a man of eccentric habits dressed in an old linen coat that made him look like a farmer who came into town for supplies".[133] Van Deusen wrote, "Greeley's effectiveness as a crusader was limited by some of his traits and characteristics. Culturally deficient, he was to the end ignorant of his own limitations, and this ignorance was a great handicap."[132]

The Tribune remained under that name until 1924, when it merged with the New York Herald to become the New York Herald-Tribune, which was published until 1966.[134] The name survived until 2013, when the International Herald-Tribune became the International New York Times.[135]

There is a statue of Greeley in City Hall Park in New York, donated by the Tribune Association. Cast in 1890, it was not dedicated until 1916.[136] A second statue of Greeley is located in Greeley Square in Midtown Manhattan.[137] Greeley Square, at Broadway and 33rd Street, was named by the New York City Common Council in a vote after Greeley's death.[138] Van Deusen concluded his biography of Greeley:

More significant still was the service that Greeley performed as a result of his faith in his country and his countrymen, his belief in infinite American progress. For all his faults and shortcomings, Greeley symbolized an America that, though often shortsighted and misled, was never suffocated by the wealth pouring from its farms and furnaces ... For through his faith in the American future, a faith expressed in his ceaseless efforts to make real the promise of America, he inspired others with hope and confidence, making them feel that their dreams also had the substance of realty. It is his faith, and theirs that has given him his place in American history. In that faith he still marches among us, scolding and benevolent, exhorting us to confidence and to victory in the great struggles of our own day.[139]

Notes and references

Explanatory notes

1. The origin of the phrase "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country" and its variants is uncertain, though Greeley popularized it and he is closely associated with the phrase. The Tribune alleged that the phrase was "attached to the editor erroneously" and, according to his biographer Williams, Greeley probably did not coin it. There are many tales regarding its origination: minister Josiah Grinnell, founder of Iowa's Grinnell College, claimed to be the young man whom Greeley first told to "go West". See Thomas Fuller, "'Go West, young man!'—An Elusive Slogan." Indiana Magazine of History (2004): 231-242. online See Williams, pp. 40–41


Statues of Horace Greeley in New York City

In City Hall Park

At Greeley Square

1. Snay, p. 9.
2. Williams, p. 6.
3. "The Ulster-Scots and New England: Scotch-Irish foundations in the New World" (PDF). Ulster-Scots Agency. p. 33. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 7, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
4. Lunde, p. 26.
5. Williams, p. 12.
6. Williams, p. 15.
7. Williams, pp. 30–33.
8. Snay, p. 16.
9. Lunde, p. 11.
10. Williams, p. 27.
11. Tuchinsky, pp. 4–5.
12. Williams, pp. 31–32.
13. Williams, pp. 37–39.
14. Williams, pp. 41–42.
15. Williams, p. 43.
16. Williams, p. 47.
17. Williams, p. 53.
18. Williams, pp. 53–54.
19. Tuchinsky, p. 5.
20. Williams, p. 58.
21. Snay, pp. 54–55.
22. Lunde, p. 24.
23. Snay, p. 55.
24. Snay, pp. 11, 23.
25. Williams, p. 59.
26. Snay, p. 63.
27. Snay, pp. 86–87.
28. Snay, pp. 39–41.
29. Williams, pp. 78–81.
30. Williams, p. 82.
31. Williams, pp. 81–82.
32. Nevins, pp. 528–534.
33. Snay, pp. 68–72.
34. Williams, p. 114.
35. Tuchinsky, p. 145.
36. Williams, pp. 114–115.
37. Williams, pp. 115–116.
38. Williams, p. 61.
39. Tuchinsky, pp. 144–145.
40. Snay, pp. 110–112.
41. Snay, p. 112.
42. Tuchinsky, p. 155.
43. Snay, pp. 114–115.
44. Williams, p. 168.
45. Williams, p. 169.
46. Williams, p. 175.
47. Snay, pp. 116–117.
48. Snay, p. 117.
49. Lunde ANB.
50. Walter J. Gruber and Dorothy W. Gruber (March 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Registration:Rehoboth". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
51. Williams, pp. 131–135.
52. Mitchell Snay, Horace Greeley and the Politics of Reform in Nineteenth-Century America (2011).
53. Adam-Max Tuchinsky, "'The Bourgeoisie Will Fall and Fall Forever': The New-York Tribune, the 1848 French Revolution, and American Social Democratic Discourse." Journal of American History 92.2 (2005): 470-497.
54. Adam-Max Tuchinsky, "'Her Cause Against Herself': Margaret Fuller, Emersonian Democracy, and the Nineteenth-Century Public Intellectual." American Nineteenth Century History 5.1 (2004): 66-99.
55. Sandburg, Carl (1942). Storm Over the Land. Harcourt, Brace and Company.
56. Charles Crowe, George Ripley: Transcendentalist and Utopian Socialist (1967)
57. Kathleen Endres, "Jane Grey Swisshelm: 19th century journalist and feminist." Journalism History 2.4 (1975): 128.
58. Williams, p. 203.
59. Van Deusen, p. 230.
60. Lunde, pp. 60–65.
61. Van Deusen, pp. 231, 241–245.
62. Stoddard, pp. 198–199.
63. Goodwin, p. 242.
64. Hale, pp. 222–223.
65. Goodwin, pp. 255–256.
66. Van Deusen, pp. 248–253.
67. Van Deusen, pp. 256–257.
68. Seitz, pp. 190–191.
69. Bonner, p. 435.
70. Williams, p. 219.
71. Stoddard, p. 210.
72. Stoddard, pp. 211–212.
73. Williams, pp. 220–223.
74. Van Deusen, pp. 279–281.
75. Van Deusen, pp. 282–285.
76. Williams, p. 226.
77. Williams, pp. 232–233.
78. Williams, p. 233.
79. Goodwin, p. 471.
80. Williams, p. 234.
81. Hale, p. 271.
82. Williams, pp. 240–241.
83. Van Deusen, p. 301.
84. Williams, p. 245.
85. Williams, p. 247.
86. Van Deusen, pp. 306–309.
87. Van Deusen, pp. 303–304.
88. Van Deusen, pp. 310–311.
89. Stoddard, pp. 231–234.
90. Williams, pp. 272–273.
91. Van Deusen, pp. 354–355.
92. Van Deusen, pp. 342–349.
93. Cohen, Adam (1998) [Time, December 21, 1998, Vol.152, No.25]. "An impeachment long ago: Andrew Johnson's saga". CNN. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
94. Van Deusen, pp. 368–373.
95. Stoddard, p. 270.
96. Van Deusen, p. 377.
97. Van Deusen, p. 320.
98. Hale, pp. 300, 311.
99. Taliaferro, pp. 132–133.
100. Williams, pp. 284–289.
101. Stoddard, p. 266.
102. Williams, p. 293.
103. Williams, p. 294.
104. Williams, pp. 292–293.
105. Williams, pp. 295–296.
106. Stoddard, pp. 302–303.
107. Williams, pp. 296–298.
108. Hale, p. 338.
109. Williams, p. 299.
110. Seitz, p. 388.
111. Stoddard, pp. 309–310.
112. Williams, p. 303.
113. Stoddard, p. 313.
114. Williams, pp. 303–304.
115. Hale, pp. 339–340.
116. Williams, p. 305.
117. Seitz, pp. 390–391.
118. Seitz, pp. 398–399.
119. Williams, p. 306.
120. Seitz, p. 391.
121. Hale, pp. 352–353.
122. Seitz, p. 403.
123. Seitz, p. 404.
124. Earle D. Ross,"Horace Greeley and the West." Mississippi Valley Historical Review 20#1 (1933): 63-74. online
125. Leo P. Brophy, "Horace Greeley," Socialist"." New York History 29.3 (1948): 309-317 excerpt.
126. James H. Stauss, "The Political Economy of Horace Greeley" Southwestern Social Science Quarterly (1939): 399-408. online
127. James M. Lundberg, Horace Greeley: Print, Politics, and the Failure of American Nationhood (2019) p 154.
128. Karen Iacobbo and Michael Iacobbo, Vegetarian America: A History (2004), p. 84.
129. Iver Bernstein (1991). The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War. Oxford UP. p. 184. ISBN 9780199923434.
130. Williams, p. 314.
131. Lunde, Erik S. (February 2000). "Greeley, Horace". American National Biography Online.(subscription required)
132. Van Deusen, p. 428.
133. Williams, p. 313.
134. "Hear Herald-Tribune Folds in New York". Chicago Tribune. August 13, 1966. pp. 2–10.
135. Schmemann, Serge (October 14, 2013). "Turning the Page". International Herald Tribune.
136. "Horace Greeley". NYC Parks. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
137. "Horace Greeley". NYC Parks. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
138. Linn, William Alexander (1912). Horace Greeley: Founder and Editor of the New York Tribune. D. Appleton. pp. 258–259. OCLC 732763.
139. Van Deusen, p. 430.


• Bonner, Thomas N. (December 1951). "Horace Greeley and the Secession Movement, 1860–1861". Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 38 (3): 425–444. doi:10.2307/1889030. JSTOR 1889030.(subscription required)
• Goodwin, Doris Kearns (2005). Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-82490-1.
• Hale, William Harlan (1950). Horace Greeley: Voice of the People. Harper & Brothers. OCLC 336934.
• Lunde, Erik S. (February 2000). "Greeley, Horace". American National Biography Online. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
• Lunde, Erik S. (1981). Horace Greeley. Twayne's United States Authors Series. Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-7343-6.
• Nevins, Allan (1931). "Horace Greeley". Dictionary of American Biography. 7. Scribner's. pp. 528–34. OCLC 4171403.
• Seitz, Don Carlos (1926). Horace Greeley: Founder of The New York Tribune. online edition
• Snay, Mitchell (2011). Horace Greeley and the Politics of Reform in Nineteenth-Century America. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
• Stoddard, Henry Luther (1946). Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader. G. P. Putnam's Sons. OCLC 1372308.
• Taliaferro, John (2013). All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt (Kindle ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-9741-4.
• Tuchinsky, Adam (2009). Horace Greeley's New-York Tribune: Civil War–Era Socialism and the Crisis of Free Labor. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4667-2. JSTOR 10.7591/j.ctt7zfzw.
• Van Deusen, Glyndon G. (1953). Horace Greeley: Nineteenth-Century Reformer. University of Pennsylvania Press. online edition
• Williams, Robert C. (2006). Horace Greeley: Champion of American Freedom. New York University Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-9402-9., scholarly biography

Books written by Greeley

• The American Conflict: A History of the Great Rebellion in the United States of America, 1860–64 Vol. I (1864) Vol. II (1866)
• Essays Designed to Elucidate The Science of Political Economy, While Serving To Explain and Defend The Policy of Protection to Home Industry, As a System of National Cooperation For True Elevation of Labor (1870)
• Recollections of a Busy Life (1868)
• Journey from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859 (1860)

Further reading

• Borchard, Gregory A. Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley. Southern Illinois University Press; 2011.
• Cross, Coy F., II. Go West Young Man! Horace Greeley's Vision for America. U. of Mexico Press, 1995.
• Downey, Matthew T. "Horace Greeley and the Politicians: The Liberal Republican Convention in 1872," The Journal of American History, Vol. 53, No. 4. (March 1967), pp. 727–750. in JSTOR
• Durante, Dianne, Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide. (New York University Press, 2007): discussion of Greeley and the 2 memorials to him in New York
• Fahrney, Ralph Ray, Horace Greeley and the Tribune in the Civil War (1936) online
• Isely, Jeter A. Horace Greeley and the Republican Party, 1853–1861: A study of the New York Tribune (1947)
• Lundberg, James M. Horace Greeley: Print, Politics, and the Failure of American Nationhood (2019), popular history excerpt
• Lunde, Erik S. "The Ambiguity of the National Idea: the Presidential Campaign of 1872" Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism 1978 5(1): 1–23.
• Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism: A History, 1690-1960 (1962) passim.
• Parrington, Vernon L. Main Currents in American Thought (1927), II, pp. 247–57. online edition
• Parton, James. The Life of Horace Greeley (1889) online.
• Potter, David M. "Horace Greeley and Peaceable Secession." Journal of Southern History (1941) 7#2 pp: 145–159. in JSTOR
• Reid, Whitelaw. Horace Greeley (Scribner's sons, 1879) online.
• Robbins, Roy M., "Horace Greeley: Land Reform and Unemployment, 1837–1862," Agricultural History, VII, 18 (January 1933).
• Rourke, Constance Mayfield ; Trumpets of Jubilee: Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lyman Beecher, Horace Greeley, P.T. Barnum (1927). online edition
• Schulze, Suzanne. Horace Greeley: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood, 1992. 240 pp.
• Slap, Andrew. The Doom of Reconstruction: The Liberal Republicans in the Civil War Era (2010). online
• Taylor, Sally. "Marx and Greeley on Slavery and Labor." Journalism History 6#4 (1979): 103-7
• Weisberger, Bernard A. "Horace Greeley: Reformer as Republican" . Civil War History 1977 23(1): 5–25. online

External links

• Media from Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations from Wikiquote
• Texts from Wikisource
• Data from Wikidata
• Works by Horace Greeley at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Horace Greeley at Internet Archive
• Cartoonist Thomas Nast vs. Candidate Horace Greeley
• Mr. Lincoln and Friends: Horace Greeley
• The New York Tribune Online 1842–1866 and 1866–1922
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Margaret Fuller
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

Margaret Fuller
The only known daguerreotype of Margaret Fuller (by John Plumbe, 1846)
Born: Sarah Margaret Fuller, May 23, 1810, Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: July 19, 1850 (aged 40), Off Fire Island, New York, U.S.
Occupation: Teacher; Journalist; Critic
Literary movement: Transcendentalism

Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli (May 23, 1810 – July 19, 1850), commonly known as Margaret Fuller, was an American journalist, editor, critic, and women's rights advocate associated with the American transcendentalism movement. She was the first full-time American female book reviewer in journalism. Her book Woman in the Nineteenth Century is considered the first major feminist work in the United States.

Born Sarah Margaret Fuller in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she was given a substantial early education by her father, Timothy Fuller, who died in 1835 due to cholera.[1] She later had more formal schooling and became a teacher before, in 1839, she began overseeing her Conversations series: classes for women meant to compensate for their lack of access to higher education.[2] She became the first editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial in 1840, which was the year her writing career started to succeed[3], before joining the staff of the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley in 1844. By the time she was in her 30s, Fuller had earned a reputation as the best-read person in New England, male or female, and became the first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard College. Her seminal work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, was published in 1845. A year later [1846], she was sent to Europe for the Tribune as its first female correspondent. She soon became involved with the revolutions in Italy and allied herself with Giuseppe Mazzini.

The first contact with Theosophy in Italy may be traced to the frequent presence of H. P. BLAVATSKY there, where she undoubtedly met many persons who later became members of the Theosophical Society. She visited Trieste, Venice, Rome, Bologna, Bari, and Naples. She is reported to have been with the Italian patriots Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-82) and Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-72); the latter she apparently met in London in the year 1851. She claimed to have participated with volunteers at Garibaldi’s battle of Mentana (in an attempt to capture Rome) in the year 1867 (Cranston and Williams, p. 79).

-- Theosophy in Italy, by Theosopedia

She had a relationship with Giovanni Ossoli, with whom she had a child. All three members of the family died in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York, as they were traveling to the United States in 1850. Fuller's body was never recovered.

Fuller was an advocate of women's rights and, in particular, women's education and the right to employment. She revolted against Boston-Cambridge’s learned professions because she was barred from entering as a girl.[4] Fuller, along with Coleridge, wanted to stay free of what she called the “strong mental oder” of female teachers.[5] She also encouraged many other reforms in society, including prison reform and the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Many other advocates for women's rights and feminism, including Susan B. Anthony, cite Fuller as a source of inspiration. Many of her contemporaries, however, were not supportive, including her former friend Harriet Martineau. She said that Fuller was a talker rather than an activist. Shortly after Fuller's death, her importance faded; the editors who prepared her letters to be published, believing her fame would be short-lived, censored or altered much of her work before publication.


Early life and family

Birthplace and childhood home of Margaret Fuller

Sarah Margaret Fuller was born on May 23, 1810,[6] in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, the first child of Congressman Timothy Fuller and Margaret Crane Fuller. She was named after her paternal grandmother and her mother, but by age nine she dropped "Sarah" and insisted on being called "Margaret."[7] The Margaret Fuller House, in which she was born, is still standing. Her father taught her to read and write at the age of three and a half, shortly after the couple's second daughter, Julia Adelaide, died at 14 months old.[8] He offered her an education as rigorous as any boy's at the time and forbade her to read the typical feminine fare of the time, such as etiquette books and sentimental novels.[9] He incorporated Latin into his teaching shortly after the birth of the couple's son Eugene in May 1815, and soon Margaret was translating simple passages from Virgil.[10] Later in life Margaret blamed her father's exacting love and his valuation of accuracy and precision for her childhood nightmares and sleepwalking.[11] During the day Margaret spent time with her mother, who taught her household chores and sewing.[12] In 1817, her brother William Henry Fuller was born, and her father was elected as a representative in the United States Congress. For the next eight years, he spent four to six months a year in Washington, D.C.[13] At age ten, Fuller wrote a cryptic note which her father saved: "On 23 May 1810, was born one foredoomed to sorrow and pain, and like others to have misfortunes."[14]

Fuller began her formal education at the Port School in Cambridgeport in 1819[11] before attending the Boston Lyceum for Young Ladies from 1821 to 1822.[15] In 1824, she was sent to the School for Young Ladies in Groton, on the advice of aunts and uncles, though she resisted the idea at first.[16] While she was there, Timothy Fuller did not run for re-election, in order to help John Quincy Adams with his presidential campaign in 1824; he hoped Adams would return the favor with a governmental appointment.[17] On June 17, 1825, Fuller attended the ceremony at which the American Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette laid the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument 50 years after the battle.[18] 15-year-old Fuller introduced herself to Lafayette in a letter which concluded: "Should we both live, and it is possible to a female, to whole the avenues of glory are seldom accessible, I will recal my name to your recollection." Early on, Fuller sensed herself to be a significant person and thinker.[19] Fuller left the Groton school after two years and returned home at 16.[20] At home she studied the classics and trained herself in several modern languages and read world literature.[21] By this time, she realized she did not fit in with other young women her age. She wrote, "I have felt that I was not born to the common womanly lot."[22] Eliza Farrar, wife of Harvard professor John Farrar and author of The Young Lady's Friend (1836), attempted to train her in feminine etiquette until the age of 20,[23] but was never wholly successful.[24]

Early career

Fuller was an avid reader. By the time she was in her 30s, she had earned a reputation as the best-read person, male or female, in New England.[25] She used her knowledge to give private lessons based on the teaching style of Elizabeth Palmer Peabody.[26] Fuller hoped to earn her living through journalism and translation; her first published work, a response to historian George Bancroft, appeared in November 1834 in the North American Review.[27] When she was 23, her father's law practice failed and he moved the family to a farm in Groton.[28] On February 20, 1835, Frederic Henry Hedge and James Freeman Clarke asked her to contribute to each of their periodicals. Clarke helped her publish her first literary review in the Western Messenger in June: criticisms of recent biographies on George Crabbe and Hannah More.[29] In the fall of that year, she suffered a terrible migraine with a fever that lasted nine days. Fuller continued to experience such headaches throughout her life.[30] While she was still recovering, her father died of cholera on October 2, 1835.[31] She was deeply affected by his death: "My father's image follows me constantly", she wrote.[32] She vowed to step in as the head of the family and take care of her widowed mother and younger siblings.[33] Her father had not left a will, and two of her uncles gained control of his property and finances, later assessed at $18,098.15, and the family had to rely on them for support. Humiliated by the way her uncles were treating the family, Fuller wrote that she regretted being "of the softer sex, and never more than now".[34]

The Greene Street School where Fuller taught from 1837 to 1839

Around this time, Fuller was hoping to prepare a biography of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but felt that she could work on it only if she traveled to Europe. Her father's death and her sudden responsibility for her family caused her to abandon this idea.[27] In 1836, Fuller was given a job teaching at Bronson Alcott's Temple School in Boston,[35] where she remained for a year. She then accepted an invitation to teach under Hiram Fuller (no relation) at the Greene Street School in Providence, Rhode Island, in April 1837 with the unusually high salary of $1,000 per year.[36] Her family sold the Groton farm and Fuller moved with them to Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.[37] On November 6, 1839, Fuller held the first of her Conversations,[38] discussions among local women who met in the Boston home of the Peabodys.[39] Fuller intended to compensate for the lack of women's education[40] with discussions and debates focused on subjects including the fine arts, history, mythology, literature, and nature.[41] Serving as the "nucleus of conversation", Fuller also intended to answer the "great questions" facing women and encourage women "to question, to define, to state and examine their opinions".[42] She asked her participants, "What were we born to do? How shall we do it? Which so few ever propose to themselves 'till their best years are gone by".[43] In Conversations, Fuller was finally finding equal intellectual companions among her female contemporaries.[44] A number of significant figures in the women's rights movement attended these gatherings, including Sophia Dana Ripley, Caroline Sturgis,[45] and Maria White Lowell.[38]

The Dial

In October 1839, Ralph Waldo Emerson was seeking an editor for his transcendentalist journal The Dial. After several declined the position, he offered it to Fuller, referring to her as "my vivacious friend."[46] Emerson had met Fuller in Cambridge in 1835; of that meeting, he admitted: "she made me laugh more than I liked." The next summer, Fuller spent two weeks at Emerson's home in Concord.[47] Fuller accepted Emerson's offer to edit The Dial on October 20, 1839, and began work in the first week of 1840.[48] She edited the journal from 1840 to 1842, though her promised annual salary of $200 was never paid.[49] Because of her role, she was soon recognized as one of the most important figures of the transcendental movement and was invited to George Ripley's Brook Farm, a communal experiment.[50] Fuller never officially joined the community but was a frequent visitor, often spending New Year's Eve there.[51] In the summer of 1843, she traveled to Chicago, Milwaukee, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo, New York;[52] while there, she interacted with several Native Americans, including members of the Ottawa and the Chippewa tribes.[53] She reported her experiences in a book called Summer on the Lakes,[52] which she completed writing on her 34th birthday in 1844.[54] The critic Evert Augustus Duyckinck called it "the only genuine book, I can think of, this season."[55] Fuller used the library at Harvard College to do research on the Great Lakes region,[52] and became the first woman allowed to use Harvard's library.[56]

Fuller's "The Great Lawsuit" was written in serial form for The Dial. She originally intended to name the work The Great Lawsuit: Man 'versus' Men, Woman 'versus' Women;[57] when it was expanded and published independently in 1845, it was entitled Woman in the Nineteenth Century. After completing it, she wrote to a friend: "I had put a good deal of my true self in it, as if, I suppose I went away now, the measure of my footprint would be left on earth."[58] The work discussed the role that women played in American democracy and Fuller's opinion on possibilities for improvement. It has since become one of the major documents in American feminism.[59] It is considered the first of its kind in the United States.[58][60] Soon after the American publication of Woman in the Nineteenth Century, it was pirated and published by H.G. Clarke in England.[61][62] Despite never receiving commissions due to a lack of international copyright laws,[62][63] Fuller was "very glad to find it will be read by women" around the world.[64]

New York Tribune

Engraving of Margaret Fuller

Fuller left The Dial in 1844 in part because of ill health but also because of her disappointment with the publication's dwindling subscription list.[65] She moved to New York that autumn and joined Horace Greeley's New York Tribune as a literary critic, becoming the first full-time book reviewer in American journalism[66] and, by 1846, the publication's first female editor.[67] Her first article, a review of a collection of essays by Emerson, appeared in the December 1, 1844, issue.[68] At this time, the Tribune had some 50,000 subscribers and Fuller earned $500 a year for her work.[69] In addition to American books, she reviewed foreign literature, concerts, lectures, and art exhibits.[70] During her four years with the publication, she published more than 250 columns, most signed with a "*" as a byline.[69] In these columns, Fuller discussed topics ranging from art and literature to political and social issues such as the plight of slaves and women's rights.[71] She also published poetry; her poems, styled after the work of Emerson, do not have the same intellectual vigor as her criticism.[72]

Around this time, she was also involved in a scandal involving fellow literary critic Edgar Allan Poe, who had been carrying on a public flirtation with the married poet Frances Sargent Osgood.[73] Another poet, Elizabeth F. Ellet, had become enamored of Poe and jealous of Osgood[74] and suggested the relationship between Poe and Osgood was more than an innocent flirtation.[75] Osgood then sent Fuller and Anne Lynch Botta to Poe's cottage on her behalf to request that he return the personal letters she had sent him. Angered by their interference, Poe called them "Busy-bodies".[76] A public scandal erupted and continued until Osgood's estranged husband Samuel Stillman Osgood stepped in and threatened to sue Ellet.[77]

Assignment in Europe

The house in Rieti, Italy where Margaret Fuller lived and gave birth to her son (the one on the left side of the arch, not where the plaque has been placed).

In 1846 the New York Tribune sent Fuller to Europe, specifically England and Italy, as its first female foreign correspondent.[78] She traveled from Boston to Liverpool in August on the Cambria, a vessel that used both sail and steam to make the journey in ten days and sixteen hours.[79] Over the next four years she provided the Tribune with thirty-seven reports.[80] She interviewed many prominent writers including George Sand and Thomas Carlyle—whom she found disappointing because of his reactionary politics, among other things. George Sand had previously been an idol of hers, but Fuller was disappointed when Sand chose not to run for the French National Assembly, saying that women were not ready to vote or to hold political office.[81] Fuller was also given a letter of introduction to Elizabeth Barrett by Cornelius Mathews, but did not meet her at that time, because Barrett had just eloped with Robert Browning.[82]

In England in the spring of 1846, she met Giuseppe Mazzini, who had been in exile there from Italy since 1837.[83] Fuller also met the Roman patriot Giovanni Angelo Ossoli, a marquis belonging to a noble family not particularly rich (but not poor) who worked as an employee at an uncle's commercial office and at the same time volunteered in the Civic Guard corps (then National Guard).[84] Fuller and Ossoli moved in together in Florence, Italy, likely before they were married, though whether they ever married is uncertain.[21][85][86] Fuller was originally opposed to marrying him, in part because of the difference in their religions; she was Protestant and he was Roman Catholic.[87] Emerson speculated that the couple was "married perhaps in Oct. Nov. or Dec" of 1847, though he did not explain his reasoning.[88] Biographers have speculated that the couple married on April 4, 1848, to celebrate the anniversary of their first meeting[89] but one biographer provided evidence they first met on April 1 during the ceremony called "Lavanda degli Altari" (Altars Lavage).[90] By the time the couple moved to Florence, they were referred to as husband and wife, though it is unclear if any formal ceremony took place.[91] It seems certain that at the time their child was born, they were not married. By New Year's Day 1848, she suspected that she was pregnant but kept it from Ossoli for several weeks.[92] Their child, Angelo Eugene Philip Ossoli, was born in early September 1848[93] and nicknamed Angelino. The couple was very secretive about their relationship but, after Angelino suffered an unnamed illness, they became less so.[94] Fuller informed her mother about Ossoli and Angelino in August 1849 in a letter that explained that she had kept silent so as not to upset her "but it has become necessary, on account of the child, for us to live publicly and permanently together."[94] Her mother's response suggests that she was aware that the couple was not legally married.[95] She was nevertheless happy for her daughter, writing: "I send my first kiss with my fervent blessing to my grandson."[96]

Plaque placed in 2010 on the house in Rieti

The couple supported Giuseppe Mazzini's movement for the establishment of a Roman Republic proclaimed on February 9, 1849 after it had been voted by the Constituent Assembly, elected by male universal suffrage in January 1849. The fundamental decree of the Roman Republic stated: "Art. 1. - The Pope has lapsed in fact and in law from the temporal government of the Roman State. Art. 2. —- The Roman Pontiff will have all the necessary guarantees for independence in the exercise of his spiritual power. Art. 3 - The form of the government of the Roman state will be pure democracy, and will take on the glorious name of Roman Republic. Art. 4. - The Roman Republic will have with the rest of Italy the relations required by the common nationality." The Pope resisted this statement and asked for international intervention to be restored in his temporal power, and France was the first to respond to his appeal and put Rome under siege. Ossoli fought on the ramparts of the Vatican walls while Fuller volunteered at two supporting hospitals.[97] [98] When the patriots they supported met defeat,[99] they believed safer to flee Rome and decided to move to Florence and in 1850 to the United States. [100] In Florence they finally met Elizabeth Barrett Browning.[101] Fuller used her experience in Italy to begin a book about the history of the Roman Republic—a work she may have begun as early as 1847—[102] and hoped to find an American publisher after a British one rejected it.[103] She believed the work would be her most important, referring to it in a March 1849 letter to her brother Richard as, "something good which may survive my troubled existence."[104]


In the beginning of 1850, Fuller wrote to a friend: "It has long seemed that in the year 1850 I should stand on some important plateau in the ascent of life ... I feel however no marked and important change as yet."[105] Also that year, Fuller wrote: "I am absurdly fearful and various omens have combined to give me a dark feeling ... It seems to me that my future upon earth will soon close ... I have a vague expectation of some crisis—I know not what".[106] A few days after writing this, Fuller, Ossoli, and their child began a five-week return voyage to the United States aboard the ship Elizabeth, an American merchant freighter carrying cargo that included mostly marble from Carrara.[107] They set sail on May 17.[108] At sea, the ship's captain, Seth Hasty, died of smallpox.[109] Angelino contracted the disease and recovered.[110]

Possibly because of the inexperienced first mate, now serving as captain, the ship slammed into a sandbar less than 100 yards from Fire Island, New York, on July 19, 1850, around 3:30 a.m.[111] Many of the other passengers and crew members abandoned ship. The first mate, Mr. Bangs, urged Fuller and Ossoli to try to save themselves and their child as he himself jumped overboard,[112] later claiming he believed Fuller had wanted to be left behind to die.[113] On the beach, people arrived with carts hoping to salvage any cargo washed ashore. None made any effort to rescue the crew or passengers of the Elizabeth,[114] though they were only 50 yards from shore.[113] Most of those aboard attempted to swim to shore, leaving Fuller and Ossoli and Angelino some of the last on the ship. Ossoli was thrown overboard by a massive wave and, after the wave had passed, a crewman who witnessed the event said Fuller could not be seen.[115]

Henry David Thoreau traveled to New York, at the urging of Emerson, to search the shore but neither Fuller's body nor that of her husband was ever recovered. Angelino's had washed ashore.[116] Few of their possessions were found other than some of the child's clothes and a few letters.[117] Fuller's manuscript on the rise and fall of the 1849 Roman Republic, which she described as, "what is most valuable to me if I live of any thing",[118] was also lost.[119] A memorial to Fuller was erected on the beach at Fire Island in 1901 through the efforts of Julia Ward Howe.[120] A cenotaph to Fuller and Ossoli, under which Angelino is buried, is in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.[121] The inscription reads, in part:[122]

By birth a child of New England
By adoption a citizen of Rome
By genius belonging to the world

Within a week after her death, Horace Greeley suggested to Emerson that a biography of Fuller, to be called Margaret and Her Friends, be prepared quickly "before the interest excited by her sad decease has passed away".[123] Many of her writings were soon collected together by her brother Arthur as At Home and Abroad (1856) and Life Without and Life Within (1858). He also edited a new version of Woman in the Nineteenth Century in 1855.[124] In February 1852, The Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli was published,[125] edited by Emerson, James Freeman Clarke, and William Henry Channing, though much of the work was censored or reworded. It left out details about her love affair with Ossoli and an earlier relationship with a man named James Nathan.[126] The three editors, believing the public interest in Fuller would be short-lived and that she would not survive as a historical figure, were not concerned about accuracy.[127] For a time, it was the best-selling biography of the decade and went through thirteen editions before the end of the century.[125] The book focused on her personality rather than her work. Detractors of the book ignored her status as a critic and instead criticized her personal life and her "unwomanly" arrogance.[128]

Since her death, the majority of Margaret Fuller’s extant papers are kept at Houghton Library at Harvard and the Boston Public Library.[129] She was also voted sixth in a mass magazine poll to select twenty American women for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at University Heights in New York City in 1902.[130]


Fuller was an early proponent of feminism and especially believed in providing education to women.[131] Once equal educational rights were afforded women, she believed, women could push for equal political rights as well.[132] She advocated that women seek any employment they wish, rather than catering to the stereotypical "feminine" roles of the time, such as teaching. She once said, "If you ask me what office women should fill, I reply—any ... let them be sea captains if you will. I do not doubt that there are women well fitted for such an office".[133] She had great confidence in all women but doubted that a woman would produce a lasting work of art or literature in her time[134] and disliked the popular female poets of her time.[135] Fuller also warned women to be careful about marriage and not to become dependent on their husbands. As she wrote, "I wish woman to live, first for God's sake. Then she will not make an imperfect man for her god and thus sink to idolatry. Then she will not take what is not fit for her from a sense of weakness and poverty".[57] By 1832, she had made a personal commitment to stay single.[136] Fuller also questioned a definitive line between male and female: "There is no wholly masculine man ... no purely feminine" but that both were present in any individual.[71] She suggested also that within a female were two parts: the intellectual side (which she called the Minerva) and the "lyrical" or "Femality" side (the Muse).[137] She admired the work of Emanuel Swedenborg, who believed men and women shared "an angelic ministry", as she wrote, as well as Charles Fourier, who placed "Woman on an entire equality with Man".[60] Unlike several contemporary women writers, including "Mrs. Sigourney" and "Mrs. Stowe", she was familiarly referred to in a less formal manner as "Margaret".[138]

Fuller also advocated reform at all levels of society, including prison. In October 1844, she visited Sing Sing and interviewed the women prisoners, even staying overnight in the facility.[139] Sing Sing was developing a more humane system for its women inmates, many of whom were prostitutes.[140] Fuller was also concerned about the homeless and those living in dire poverty, especially in New York.[141] She also admitted that, though she was raised to believe "that the Indian obstinately refused to be civilized", her travels in the American West made her realize that the white man unfairly treated the Native Americans; she considered Native Americans an important part of American heritage.[142] She also supported the rights of African-Americans, referring to "this cancer of slavery",[143] and suggested that those who were interested in the abolition movement follow the same reasoning when considering the rights of women: "As the friend of the Negro assumes that one man cannot by right hold another in bondage, so should the Friend of Woman assume that Man cannot by right lay even well-meant restrictions on Woman."[144] She suggested that those who spoke against the emancipation of slaves were similar to those who did not support the emancipation of Italy.[145]

Fuller agreed with the transcendental concern for the psychological well-being of the individual,[146] though she was never comfortable being labeled a transcendentalist.[147] Even so, she wrote, if being labeled a transcendentalist means "that I have an active mind frequently busy with large topics I hope it is so".[148] She criticized people such as Emerson, however, for focusing too much on individual improvement and not enough on social reform.[149] Like other members of the so-called Transcendental Club, she rebelled against the past and believed in the possibility of change. However, unlike others in the movement, her rebellion was not based on religion.[150] Though Fuller occasionally attended Unitarian congregations, she did not entirely identify with that religion. As biographer Charles Capper has noted, she "was happy to remain on the Unitarian margins."[151]

Legacy and criticism

Title page of Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)

Margaret Fuller was especially known in her time for her personality and, in particular, for being overly self-confident and having a bad temper.[152] This personality was the inspiration for the character Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, specifically her radical thinking about "the whole race of womanhood".[153] She may also be the basis for the character Zenobia in another of Hawthorne's works, The Blithedale Romance.[51] Hawthorne and his then-fiancée Sophia had first met Fuller in October 1839.[154]

She was also an inspiration to poet Walt Whitman, who believed in her call for the forging of a new national identity and a truly American literature.[155] Elizabeth Barrett Browning was also a strong admirer, but believed that Fuller's unconventional views were unappreciated in the United States and, therefore, she was better off dead.[156] She also said that Fuller's history of the Roman Republic would have been her greatest work: "The work she was preparing upon Italy would probably have been more equal to her faculty than anything previously produced by her pen (her other writings being curiously inferior to the impressions her conversation gave you)".[157] An 1860 essay collection, Historical Pictures Retouched, by Caroline Healey Dall, called Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century "doubtless the most brilliant, complete, and scholarly statement ever made on the subject".[158] Despite his personal issues with Fuller, the typically harsh literary critic Edgar Allan Poe wrote of the work as "a book which few women in the country could have written, and no woman in the country would have published, with the exception of Miss Fuller", noting its "independence" and "unmitigated radicalism".[76] Thoreau also thought highly of the book, suggesting that its strength came in part from Fuller's conversational ability. As he called it, it was "rich extempore writing, talking with pen in hand".[159]

Another admirer of Fuller was Susan B. Anthony, a pioneer of women's rights, who wrote that Fuller "possessed more influence on the thought of American women than any woman previous to her time".[160] Fuller's work may have partially inspired the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.[161] Anthony, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage wrote in their History of Woman Suffrage that Fuller "was the precursor of the Women's Rights agitation".[162] Modern scholars have suggested Woman in the Nineteenth Century was the first major women's rights work since Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792),[163] though an early comparison between the two women came from George Eliot in 1855.[164] It is unclear if Fuller was familiar with Wollstonecraft's works; in her childhood, her father prevented her from reading them.[165] In 1995, Fuller was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[166]

Fuller, however, was not without her critics. A one-time friend, the English writer Harriet Martineau was one of her harshest detractors after Fuller's death. Martineau said that Fuller was a talker rather than an activist, that she had "shallow conceits" and often "looked down upon persons who acted instead of talking finely ... and despised those who, like myself, could not adopt her scale of valuation".[167] The influential editor Rufus Wilmot Griswold, who believed she went against his notion of feminine modesty, referred to Woman in the Nineteenth Century as "an eloquent expression of her discontent at having been created female".[168] New York writer Charles Frederick Briggs said that she was "wasting the time of her readers", especially because she was an unmarried woman and therefore could not "truly represent the female character".[169] English writer and critic Matthew Arnold scoffed at Fuller's conversations as well, saying, "My G–d, [sic] what rot did she and the other female dogs of Boston talk about Greek mythology!"[170] Sophia Hawthorne, who had previously been a supporter of Fuller, was critical of her after Woman of the Nineteenth Century was published:[171]

The impression it left was disagreeable. I did not like the tone of it—& did not agree with her at all about the change in woman's outward circumstances ... Neither do I believe in such a character of man as she gives. It is altogether too ignoble ... I think Margaret speaks of many things that should not be spoken of.

Fuller had angered fellow poet and critic James Russell Lowell when she reviewed his work, calling him "absolutely wanting in the true spirit and tone of poesy ... his verse is stereotyped, his thought sounds no depth; and posterity will not remember him."[172] In response, Lowell took revenge in his satirical A Fable for Critics, first published in October 1848. At first, he considered excluding her entirely but ultimately gave her what was called the "most wholly negative characterization" in the work.[173] Referring to her as Miranda, Lowell wrote that she stole old ideas and presented them as her own, she was genuine only in her spite and "when acting as censor, she privately blows a censer of vanity 'neath her own nose".[174]

Shortly after Fuller's death, her importance faded. Her obituary in the newspaper she had once edited, the Daily Tribune, said that her works had a few great sentiments, "but as a whole they must commend themselves mainly by their vigor of thought and habitual fearlessness rather than freedom of utterance".[175] As biographer Abby Slater wrote, "Margaret had been demoted from a position of importance in her own right to one in which her only importance was in the company she kept".[176] Years later, Hawthorne's son Julian wrote, "The majority of readers will, I think, not be inconsolable that poor Margaret Fuller has at last taken her place with the numberless other dismal frauds who fill the limbo of human pretension and failure."[177] In the twentieth century, American writer Elizabeth Hardwick, former wife of Robert Lowell, wrote an essay called "The Genius of Margaret Fuller" (1986). She compared her own move from Boston to New York to Fuller's, saying that Boston was not a good place for intellectuals, despite the assumption that it was the best place for intellectuals.[178]

In 1995, Fuller was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[179][180]

On June 21, 2016, a historical marker in honor of Fuller was placed in Polhill Park in Beacon, NY, to commemorate her staying at Van Vliet boarding house. For the dedication ceremony, Fuller's poem, "Truth and Form," was set to music by Debra Kaye and performed by singer, Kelly Ellenwood.[181]

Selected works

• Summer on the Lakes (1844)[54]
• Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)[182]
• Papers on Literature and Art (1846)[183]

Posthumous editions

• Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1852)[125]
• At Home and Abroad (1856)[124]
• Life Without and Life Within (1858)[124]

See also

• History of feminism
• Buckminster Fuller, her grandnephew
• George Livermore, a childhood classmate
• Boston Women's Heritage Trail
• Ossoli Circle


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2. Simmons, Nancy Craig (1994). "Margaret Fuller's Boston Conversations: The 1839-1840 Series". Studies in the American Renaissance: 195–226. JSTOR 30227655.
3. Capper, Charles (2010). Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life. Oxford University Press. pp. X.
4. Capper, Charles (2010). Margaret Fuller:An American Romantic Life. Oxford University Press. pp. Xi.
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14. Deiss, 277.
15. Powell, John. "Fuller, Margaret" in Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences: The Nineteenth Century, 1800-1914. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001: 164. ISBN 0-313-30422-X
16. Blanchard, 41.
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23. Blanchard, 61–62.
24. Slater, 20.
25. Douglas, 263
26. Von Mehren, 82
27. Dickenson, 91
28. Slater, 22–23
29. Von Mehren, 64–66
30. Blanchard, 92
31. Von Mehren, 71
32. Blanchard, 93
33. Von Mehren, 72
34. Von Mehren, 75
35. Blanchard, 106–107
36. Slater, 30–31
37. Slater, 32
38. Slater, 43
39. Wineapple, Brenda. "Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804–1864: A Brief Biography", A Historical Guide to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Larry J. Reynolds, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001: 25. ISBN 0-19-512414-6
40. Cheever, 32
41. Gura, 134
42. Marshall, 134.
43. Marshall, Megan. The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005: 387. ISBN 978-0-618-71169-7
44. Marshall, 141.
45. Marshall, Megan. The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism. Boston: Mariner Books, 2005: 386–387. ISBN 978-0-618-71169-7
46. Gura, 128
47. Slater, 47–48
48. Von Mehren, 120
49. Dickenson, 101–102
50. Gura, 156
51. Blanchard, 187
52. Blanchard, 196
53. Slater, 80
54. Slater, 82
55. Von Mehren, 217
56. Slater, 83
57. Von Mehren, 192
58. Slater, 89
59. Von Mehren, 166
60. Gura, 172
61. Fuller, Margaret (1978). Myerson, Joel (ed.). Essays on American Life and Letters. Lanham, Maryland: Roman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 14. ISBN 0-8084-0416-4.
62. Dowling, David (Winter 2014). "Reporting the Revolution: Margaret Fuller, Herman Melville, and the Italian Risorgimento". American Journalism. 31.1: 26–48. doi:10.1080/08821127.2014.875346 – via EBSCOhost.
63. Bean, Judith Mattson; Myerson, Joel (2000). "Introduction". Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. xxv. ISBN 0-231-11132-0.
64. Marshall, 272
65. Gura, 225
66. Callow, Philip. From Noon to Starry Night: A Life of Walt Whitman. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1992: 110. ISBN 0-929587-95-2
67. Cheever, 175
68. Slater, 97
69. Gura, 226
70. Von Mehren, 215
71. Gura, 227
72. Watts, Emily Stipes. The Poetry of American Women from 1632 to 1945. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1978: 182. ISBN 0-292-76450-2
73. Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991: 280. ISBN 0-06-092331-8
74. Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 190. ISBN 0-8154-1038-7
75. Meyers, Jeffrey. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Cooper Square Press, 1992: 191. ISBN 0-8154-1038-7
76. Von Mehren, 225
77. Moss, Sidney P. Poe's Literary Battles: The Critic in the Context of His Literary Milieu. Southern Illinois University Press, 1969: 215.
78. Cheever, 176
79. Deiss, 18
80. Gura, 234
81. Von Mehren, 296
82. Von Mehren, 235
83. Gura, 235
84. Bannoni, Mario; Mariotti, Gabriella (2012). Vi scrivo da una Roma barricata (I write to you from a barricaded Rome), p. 52. Rome: Conosci per scegliere. p. 352. ISBN 978-88-903772-7-3.
85. Cheever, 176–177
86. Slater, 204
87. Deiss, 97
88. Von Mehren, 341
89. Von Mehren, 300
90. Bannoni, Mario; Mariotti, Gabriella (2012). Vi scrivo da una Roma barricata (I write to you from a barricaded Rome), p. 52. Rome: Conosci per scegliere. p. 352. ISBN 978-88-903772-7-3.
91. Blanchard, 328
92. Von Mehren, 276–277
93. Gura, 237
94. Deiss, 281
95. Deiss, 282
96. Blanchard, 317
97. Bannoni, Mario; Mariotti, Gabriella (2012). Vi scrivo da una Roma barricata (I write to you from a barricaded Rome), p. 52. Rome: Conosci per scegliere. p. 352. ISBN 978-88-903772-7-3.
98. Von Mehren, 301–302
99. Blanchard, 268–270; Deiss, 186; Dickenson, 186
100. Bannoni, Mario; Mariotti, Gabriella (2012). Vi scrivo da una Roma barricata (I write to you from a barricaded Rome), p. 52. Rome: Conosci per scegliere. p. 352. ISBN 978-88-903772-7-3.
101. Forster, Margaret. Elizabeth Barrett Browning. New York: Doubleday, 1989: 239. ISBN 0-385-24959-4
102. Von Mehren, 252
103. Deiss, 303
104. Dickenson, 194
105. Deiss, 300
106. Slater, 2–3
107. Von Mehren, 330–331
108. Blanchard, 331
109. Deiss, 309–310
110. Slater, 196
111. McFarland, Philip. Hawthorne in Concord. New York: Grove Press, 2004: 170–171. ISBN 0-8021-1776-7
112. Slater, 198
113. Dickenson, 201
114. Blanchard, 335–336
115. Deiss, 313
116. Arvin, Newton. Longfellow: His Life and Work. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1963: 171
117. Blanchard, 338
118. Marshall, xv
119. Brooks, 429
120. Ehrlich, Eugene and Gorton Carruth. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982: 109. ISBN 0-19-503186-5
121. Wilson, Susan. Literary Trail of Greater Boston. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000: 115. ISBN 0-618-05013-2
122. Slater, 1
123. Von Mehren, 340
124. Von Mehren, 344
125. Von Mehren, 343
126. Blanchard, 339
127. Von Mehren, 342
128. Blanchard, 340
129. Von Mehren, Joan (1996). Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller. United States of America: Univ of Massachusetts Press. pp. Acknowledgments.
130. Von Mehren, Joan (1996). Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller. United States of America: Univ of Massachusetts Press. p. 1.
131. Brooks, 245
132. Blanchard, 132
133. Slater, 4
134. Blanchard, 174
135. Dickenson, 172
136. Blanchard, 135
137. Von Mehren, 168
138. Douglas, 261
139. Gura, 229
140. Blanchard, 211
141. Gura, 230
142. Blanchard, 204–205
143. Deiss, 93
144. Slater, 91
145. Deiss, 94
146. Von Mehren, 231
147. Von Mehren, 84
148. Rose, Anne C. Transcendentalism as a Social Movement, 1830–1850. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 1981: 181. ISBN 0-300-02587-4
149. Slater, 97–98
150. Blanchard, 125–126
151. Capper, Charles. Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life. Vol. II: The Public Years. Oxford University Press, 2007: 214. ISBN 978-0-19-539632-4
152. Blanchard, 137
153. Wineapple, Brenda. "Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804–1864: A Brief Biography", A Historical Guide to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Larry J. Reynolds, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001: 25–26. ISBN 0-19-512414-6
154. Marshall, Megan. The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism. Boston: Mariner Books, 2005: 384. ISBN 978-0-618-71169-7
155. Callow, Philip. From Noon to Starry Night: A Life of Walt Whitman. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1992: 111. ISBN 0-929587-95-2
156. Douglas, 259
157. Dickenson, 44
158. Gura, 284–285
159. Dickenson, 41
160. Von Mehren, 2
161. Dickenson, 113
162. Stanton, Elizabeth Cady; Anthony, Susan B. and Gage, Matilda Joslyn. History of Woman Suffrage, Volume 1. New York: Fowler and Wells, 1881: 177.
163. Slater, 89–90
164. Dickenson, 45–46
165. Dickenson, 133
166. Margaret Fuller, National Women's Hall of Fame. Accessed July 23, 2008
167. Dickenson, 47–48
168. Bayless, Joy. Rufus Wilmot Griswold: Poe's Literary Executor. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943: 121
169. Von Mehren, 196
170. Dickenson, 47
171. Miller, Edwin Haviland. Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991: 235. ISBN 0-87745-332-2
172. Duberman, Martin. James Russell Lowell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1966: 99.
173. Von Mehren, 294
174. Duberman, Martin. James Russell Lowell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1966: 100.
175. Dickenson, 40
176. Slater, 3
177. James, Laurie. Why Margaret Fuller Ossoli is Forgotten. New York: Golden Heritage Press, 1988: 25. ISBN 0-944382-01-0
178. Wilson, Susan. Literary Trail of Greater Boston. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000: 68–69. ISBN 0-618-05013-2
179. "18 Nominees Chosen for National Women's Hall of Fame". Christian Science Monitor. September 15, 1995. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
180. National Women's Hall of Fame, Margaret Fuller
181. Rooney, Alison (May 17, 2016). "Beacon to Honor Early Feminist". The Highlands Current. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
182. Slater, 96
183. Von Mehren, 226


• Blanchard, Paula. Margaret Fuller: From Transcendentalism to Revolution. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1987. ISBN 0-201-10458-X
• Brooks, Van Wyck. The Flowering of New England. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 1952.
• Cheever, Susan. American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau; Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work. Detroit: Thorndike Press, 2006. ISBN 0-7862-9521-X
• Deiss, Joseph Jay. The Roman Years of Margaret Fuller. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1969. ISBN 978-0-690-01017-6 ISBN 0-690-01017-6
• Douglas, Ann. The Feminization of American Culture. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977. ISBN 0-394-40532-3
• Dickenson, Donna. Margaret Fuller: Writing a Woman's Life. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. ISBN 0-312-09145-1
• Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007. ISBN 0-8090-3477-8
• Marshall, Megan. Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. New York: Mariner Books, 2013. ISBN 978-0-547-19560-5
• Matteson, John. The Lives of Margaret Fuller: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012.
• Slater, Abby. In Search of Margaret Fuller. New York: Delacorte Press, 1978. ISBN 0-440-03944-4
• Von Mehren, Joan. Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994. ISBN 1-55849-015-9

Further reading

• Thurman, Judith (April 1, 2013). "An unfinished woman : the desires of Margaret Fuller". The Critics. Books. The New Yorker. 89 (7): 75–81. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
• Steele, Jeffrey, The Essential Margaret Fuller, New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8135-1778-8

External links

Biographical information

• Margaret Fuller (Marchesa Ossoli) by Julia Ward Howe in multiple formats at
• Brief biography and links at American Transcendentalism Web
• Brief biography at Unitarian Universalist Historical Society
• Brief biography at PBS
• "Humanity, said Edgar Allan Poe, is divided into Men, Women, and Margaret Fuller" in American Heritage magazine, Vol. 23, Issue 5 (August 1972) by Joseph Jay Deiss
• "I find no intellect comparable to my own" in American Heritage magazine, Vol. 8, Issue 2 (February 1957) by Perry Miller
• Transcendental Woman essay on Fuller by Christopher Benfey from The New York Review of Books
• "Review of the Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli", in Friend Of The People, February 21, 1852


• Works by Margaret Fuller at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Margaret Fuller at Internet Archive
• Works by Margaret Fuller at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845)
• Essays by Margaret Fuller at
• Summer On The Lakes, in 1843 (1844)
• Review of Love-Letters of Margaret Fuller June 27, 1903, The New York Times.
• Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, nonprofit that works to strengthen and empower families through social and educational programs
• Margaret Fuller Bicentennial 2010
• Margaret Fuller Family Papers at Houghton Library, Harvard University
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 1 of 2

Friedrich Schleiermacher
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/20/20

Karl Gustav Jung [the grandfather of Carl Gustav Jung] was born in Mannheim in 1794 to a physician, Franz Ignaz Jung, and his wife, Maria Josepha, rumored by later generations to have submitted, like Europa, to a most remarkable infidelity. Little is known about Karl's childhood. The Jungs were Roman Catholics from Mainz and distinguished by their heritage of German physicians and jurists. In a diary Karl kept in his later years, we know that his father had always remained something of a stranger to him and that his mother was inclined toward bouts with depression. (A similar parental constellation is described by Karl's grandson in the early chapters of MDR.) The Jung family cannot be traced prior to its residence in Mainz, for the public archives were burned in 1688 during the French occupation. Franz Ignaz Jung served in a lazaretto during the Napoleonic wars. His brother, Sigismund von Jung, was a high-ranking Bavarian official who was married to the youngest sister of perhaps the most famous religious and nationalist figure in Germany at that time, Friedrich Schleiermacher....

Like his father and grandson, Karl Gustav Jung was a physician. He was trained at Heidelberg, that famous university town, an important center of alchemy and a symbol in Rosicrucian lore. He earned his medical degree in 1816, then moved to Berlin to practice as a surgical assistant to an ophthalmologist. Berlin changed him forever.

Place, landscape, soil -- to understand the imaginal world of Jung it is important to identify these nodal spaces where meaning condenses, the earthen crossroads upon which history rains. Such a place was the home of the Berlin bookseller and publisher Georg Andreas Reimer, an intimate friend of Schleiermacher. Reimer served as the host of the Reading Society, a patriotic club that met in his home. Ernst Moritz Arndt, one of the founding fathers of the nationalist Volkish movement (Volkstumbewegung) in Germany, befriended Schleiermacher here. To avoid prosecution for anti-French activity in the occupied German heartland, Arndt fled to Berlin, the capital of Prussia, and lived in Reimer's home from 1809 to 1810. In 1816 and 1817, so did Karl Gustav Jung.

At Reimer's, Jung found himself in one of the central incubators of German Romanticism and nationalism. He came into contact with a steady flow of ideas from determined men -- some of them political fugitives -- who were convinced of the idea of a Volksgeist, the unique characteristics or genius of the German people as a single nation, determined by language, climate, soil or landscape, certain economic factors, and, of course, race. These ideas found form in the essays of J. G. Herder, Arndt, Jahn, and the sermons of Schleiermacher. Here Jung met the Schlegel brothers -- Friedrich and August Wilhelm -- and Ludwig Tieck, all noted writers and founders of the Romantic movement. Jung underwent a transformation not only of political consciousness, as evidenced by his contributions to the Teutsche Liederbuch anthology of German nationalist poem-songs (Lieder), but of religious consciousness as well. As confirmed in the baptismal certificate signed by Schleiermacher -- another proud possession of the grandson -- Karl Gustav Jung renounced the Roman Catholic faith and became an Evangelical Protestant in the Romantic and nationalist mode.

The aftershocks of the grandfather's renunciation of his ancestral faith can still be felt by those touched by the life and work of the grandson. The sudden conversion of the grandfather, his act of apostasy, his angry rejection of Rome, would arguably prove to be one of the most powerful determinants of the destiny of C. G. Jung. The importance of this familial mark of Cain cannot be overstated.

"Religion of the heart"

Religion mated with German nationalism in the eighteenth century and produced a fever in the people called Pietism. Schleiermacher had been visited by this fever in his youth, and although he forged his own path as a theologian and philosopher, he said his ideas remained closest to this "religion of the heart." To Schleiermacher, the highest form of religion was an "intuition" (Anschauung) of the "Whole," an immediate experience of every particular as part of a whole, of every finite thing as a representation of the infinite. This was the perfect theology for an age of nature-obsessed Romanticism, and at times Schleiermacher's rhetoric, adorned with organic metaphors of the whole derived from nature, shaded into pantheism and mysticism. By 1817, he most certainly infected Karl Jung with it, as he did that entire generation of young patriots through his sermons, his writings, and especially his revisions of the Reformed Protestant liturgy, making it more simple, festive, and Volkish. Additionally, in the decade before he met Jung, he had published translations of Plato and, by his own admission, had become quite influenced by Platonism. This, too, must be remembered when we fantasize about what the older spiritual adviser imparted to the enthusiastic young convert.

German Pietism was loosely related to contemporaneous religious movements, such as Quakerism and enthusiastic Methodism in England and America and Quietism and Jansenism in France. Pietism, however, was to play a key role in developing Volkish self-consciousness and a sense of nation in the politically fragmented German lands. In the spirit of Luther, Pietism was born of disgust with orthodoxies, dogmas, and church hierarchies in the traditional Protestant denominations, making it a form of radical Lutheranism. Pietists dared to question authority and to be suspicious of foreign interpreters of Christianity. They called it a Herzensreligion, a "religion of the heart," a spiritual movement that emphasized feeling, intuition, inwardness, and a personal experience of God. The function of thinking, indeed reason itself, was disparaged and could not be trusted. To experience God, the intellect must be sacrificed. (For example, according to Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a prominent eighteenth-century Pietist who influenced Schleiermacher and twentieth-century figures Rudolph Otto and Hermann Hesse, only atheists attempted to comprehend God with their mind; the True sought revelation.)

Pietists' mystical enthusiasm is reflected in some of their favorite incendiary metaphors for their ecstatic experiences. It was the fire of the Holy Spirit that must burn within; indeed, it was often said that "the heart must burn." They emphasized the burning experience of "Christ within us" instead of the inanimate, automatic belief in the dogma of a "Christ for us."

Such subtle distinctions had profound implications for German nationalism, for the belief arose in the feeling of group identity bound by common inner experience, a mystical blood-union of necessity, rather than as some thing external existing for an individual. Hence, the Pietist emphasis on service to others as a method of serving God.

Prussia, the most absolutist of the many German political entities, welcomed the Pietists to Berlin. Attracted to Pietism's rejection of the Lutheran clerical hierarchy -- which threatened the overriding legitimacy of the state -- the eighteenth-century rulers of Prussia adopted Pietism's religious philosophy and offered sanctuary to many of its exiled leaders. As populist movements, Pietism and pan-German nationalism were as threatening to the royal rulers of the dozens of German states as to Lutheran clerics, for they challenged the political status quo. Prussia, however, as the strongest of the German states, already presaged its manifest destiny as the unifier of Germany, and so its short-term goals coincided with those of such movements.

Nicholas Boyle, one of Goethe's biographers, described the immense significance of this convergence of affinities for the next two centuries of German religious life and political history:

The particular feature of Pietism which makes it of interest to us is its natural affinity for state absolutism. A religion which concentrates to the point of anxiety, not to say hypochondria, on those inner emotions, whether of dryness or abundance, of despair or of confident love of God, from which the individual may deduce the state of his immortal soul; a religion whose members meet for preference not publicly, but privately in conventicles gathered round a charismatic personality who may well not be an ordained minister; a religion who disregards all earthly (and especially all ecclesiastical) differentiation of rank, and sees its proper role in the visible world in charitable activity as nearly as possible harmonious with the prevailing order ... such a religion was tailor-made for a state system in which all, regardless of rank, were to be equally servants of the one purpose; in which antiquated rights and differentiae were to be abolished; and in which ecclesiastical opposition was particularly unwelcome, whether it came from assertive prelates or from vociferous enthusiasts unable to keep their religious lives to themselves.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, German nationalism had become so intertwined with Pietism that the literature of the time blurs distinctions between inner and outer Fatherlands. The "internalized Kingdom of Heaven" became identical with the spiritual soil of the German ancestors, a Teutonic "Land of the Dead." In these patriotic religious tracts the sacrificial deaths of Teutonic heroes such as Arminius (Hermann the German, who defeated the Romans in the Teutoberg forest) and the mythic Siegfried are compared to the crucifixion of Christ, thus equating pagan and Christian saviors. By the early 1800s, this identity became even more explicit. To Ernst Moritz Arndt, the subjective experience of the "Christ within" was reframed in German Volkish metaphors. In his 1816 pamphlet Zur Befreiung Deutschlands ("On the Liberation of Germany"), Arndt urged Germans, "Enshrine in your hearts the German God and German virtue." They did. By the end of the nineteenth century the German God had reawakened and was moving to reclaim his throne after a thousand-year interregnum.

The primary literature of Pietism consisted of diaries and autobiographies, most driven by the psychological turn inward so valued as the path to reaching the kingdom of God. These confessional texts emphasize the spiritual evolution of the diarist. Each account peaks dramatically with the description of what Schleiermacher called the "secret moment," the tremendous subjective experience that completely changed the life course of an individual and became the central, vivid milestone of his or her faith. This experience was known as the Wiedergeburt, the "rebirth" or "regeneration." Sometimes this experience was preceded or accompanied by visions. Several of the more famous texts, such as the autobiography of Heinrich Jung-Stilling, became part of the canon read by educated nineteenth-century Germans.

Several of these spiritual autobiographies were in the library in C. G. Jung's household when he was growing up, and he cites some of them (such as the work of Jung-Stilling) in MDR and in his seminars. While MDR is highly unlike usual biographies or autobiographies, its story of Jung's spiritual journey is similar in many ways to the Wiedergeburt testimonies of the Pietists. MDR is indeed the story of Jung's rebirth... a remarkable confession of Jung's pagan regeneration.

-- The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung, by Richard Noll

Friedrich Schleiermacher
Born: November 21, 1768, Breslau, Prussian Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia
Died: February 12, 1834 (aged 65), Berlin, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia
Alma mater: University of Halle (1787–90)[1]
Era: 18th-/19th-century philosophy
Region: Western philosophy
School: German Idealism[2]; Jena Romanticism[3]; Berlin Romanticism[4]; Romantic hermeneutics[5]; Methodological hermeneutics[6]
Institutions: University of Halle (1804–07); University of Berlin (1810–34)
Main interests: Theology, psychology, New Testament exegesis, ethics (both philosophic and Christian), dogmatic and practical theology, dialectics (logic and metaphysics), politics
Notable ideas: Hermeneutics as a cyclical process[7]
Influences: Immanuel Kant, K. W. F. Schlegel, J. G. Fichte, F. W. J. Schelling, Johann August Ernesti,[8] Friedrich Ast,[9] Friedrich August Wolf,[9] Johann Gottfried Herder,[10] Baruch Spinoza, Plato
Influenced: Wilhelm Dilthey, Karl Barth, August Böckh, Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich, Albrecht Ritschl, Friedrich Ueberweg, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Manfred Frank, Antoine Berman, Heinrich Ritter, Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg,[11] L. Harold DeWolf, Walter Rauschenbusch,[12][13] Daphne Hampson

Luther's Rose

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈʃlaɪɐˌmaχɐ]; November 21, 1768 – February 12, 1834) was a German theologian, philosopher, and biblical scholar known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity. He also became influential in the evolution of higher criticism, and his work forms part of the foundation of the modern field of hermeneutics. Because of his profound effect on subsequent Christian thought, he is often called the "Father of Modern Liberal Theology" and is considered an early leader in liberal Christianity. The neo-orthodoxy movement of the twentieth century, typically (though not without challenge) seen to be spearheaded by Karl Barth, was in many ways an attempt to challenge his influence.


Early life and development

Born in Breslau in the Prussian Silesia as the grandson of Daniel Schleiermacher, a pastor at one time associated with the Zionites,[14]...

The Zionites were a religious sect which flourished in the eighteenth century at Ronsdorf in the Duchy of Berg. The sect sprang from a Philadelphian society founded at Elberfeld in 1726 by Elias Eller and the pastor Daniel Schleiermacher. Eller was the foreman of a factory owned by a rich widow. He read eagerly the writings of ancient and modern visionaries, and then formed an apocalyptic, millenarian system of his own. He made such an impression on the widow, twenty years his senior, that she married him. Thus he obtained the means and influence to draw adherents around himself. The pastor Schleiermacher, grandfather of the celebrated theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, was also influenced by Eller. The prophetess of the society was the daughter of a baker, Anna van Bushel, who had dreams and visions and saw apparitions. After the death of his wife, Eller married her. She called herself mother of Zion, her husband father of Zion, and prophesied that she would bear the saviour of the world. The new order of things was to begin in 1730. Her first child was a daughter, but Eller was able to console the society with Scriptural texts. A son born in 1733, died two years later. Eller made himself the central point of theology. Christian morality was replaced by the craving for coarse and sensual pleasures. In 1737, the sect left Elberfeld and founded Ronsdorf which soon prospered, and, through Eller's influence, was raised by the State in 1745, to the rank of a city. Eller took the most important offices for himself, lived with his wife in great pomp, and generally governed tyrannically. When Eller's wife died suddenly, in 1744, doubts arose in the mind of Schleiermacher, who was pastor at Ronsdorf. He confessed his mistake, and sought to open the eyes of the deceiving leader, but Eller managed to maintain himself until death. The sect was carried on by the pastors who took Schleiermacher's place, by Eller's stepson Bolckhaus, and continued to exist until 1768. The new pastor chosen in this year, and his successors, brought back the inhabitants of Ronsdorf to Protestantism. The after-effects of the movement could be traced into the nineteenth century.

-- Zionites (Germany), by Wikipedia

The Philadelphians, or the Philadelphian Society, were a 17th century English dissenter group. They were organized around John Pordage (1607–1681), an Anglican priest from Bradfield, Berkshire, who had been ejected from his parish in 1655 because of differing views, but then reinstated in 1660 during the English Restoration. Pordage was attracted to the ideas of Jakob Böhme, a Lutheran theosophist and Christian mystic.

A group of followers came to Pordage, including Ann Bathurst and led by Mrs. Jane Leade (1624–1704), who experienced a number of visions and later published them in her book A Fountain of Gardens. The group incorporated as The Philadelphian Society for the Advancement of Piety and Divine Philosophy in 1694 (their name was inspired by the Philadelphians mentioned in the Book of Revelation.) They rejected the idea of being a church, preferring the term society, and none of the members ceased their memberships in existing churches. Together, the group held views that were somewhat similar to Panentheism, regarding the belief in the presence of God in all things, and with a Nondualist component, in that they also believed the presence of the Holy Spirit exists in each and everyone's soul, and that one can become enlightened and illuminated by living a virtuous life and seeking truth through the wisdom of God.

-- Philadelphians, by Wikipedia

[15] and the son of Gottlieb Schleiermacher, a Reformed Church chaplain in the Prussian army, Schleiermacher started his formal education in a Moravian school at Niesky in Upper Lusatia, and at Barby near Magdeburg. However, pietistic Moravian theology failed to satisfy his increasing doubts, and his father reluctantly gave him permission to enter the University of Halle, which had already abandoned pietism and adopted the rationalist spirit of Christian Wolff and Johann Salomo Semler. As a theology student, Schleiermacher pursued an independent course of reading and neglected the study of the Old Testament and of Oriental languages. However, he attended the lectures of Semler and became acquainted with the techniques of historical criticism of the New Testament, and of Johann Augustus Eberhard from whom he acquired a love of the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. At the same time, he studied the writings of Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi and began to apply ideas from the Greek philosophers to a reconstruction of Kant's system.

Schleiermacher developed a deep-rooted skepticism as a student and soon rejected orthodox Christianity.[16]

Brian Gerrish, a scholar of the works of Schleiermacher, wrote:

In a letter to his father, Schleiermacher drops the mild hint that his teachers fail to deal with those widespread doubts that trouble so many young people of the present day. His father misses the hint. He has himself read some of the skeptical literature, he says, and can assure Schleiermacher that it is not worth wasting time on. For six whole months there is no further word from his son. Then comes the bombshell. In a moving letter of 21 January 1787, Schleiermacher admits that the doubts alluded to are his own. His father has said that faith is the "regalia of the Godhead," that is, God's royal due.[17]

Schleiermacher confessed: "Faith is the regalia of the Godhead, you say. Alas! dearest father, if you believe that without this faith no one can attain to salvation in the next world, nor to tranquility in this—and such, I know, is your belief—oh! then pray to God to grant it to me, for to me it is now lost. I cannot believe that he who called himself the Son of Man was the true, eternal God; I cannot believe that his death was a vicarious atonement."[17]

Tutoring, chaplaincy and first works

An engraving of Schleiermacher from his early adulthood.

At the completion of his course at Halle, Schleiermacher became the private tutor to the family of Friedrich Alexander Burggraf und Graf zu Dohna-Schlobitten (1741–1810), developing in a cultivated and aristocratic household his deep love of family and social life. Two years later, in 1796, he became chaplain to the Charité Hospital in Berlin. Lacking scope for the development of his preaching skills, he sought mental and spiritual satisfaction in the city's cultivated society and in intensive philosophical studies, beginning to construct the framework of his philosophical and religious system. Here Schleiermacher became acquainted with art, literature, science and general culture. He was strongly influenced by German Romanticism, as represented by his friend Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel. That interest is borne out by his Confidential Letters on Schlegel's Lucinde as well as by his seven-year relationship (1798–1805) with Eleonore Christiane Grunow (née Krüger) (1769/1770–1837), the wife of Berlin clergyman August Christian Wilhelm Grunow (1764–1831).

Though his ultimate principles remained unchanged, he placed more emphasis on human emotion and the imagination. Meanwhile, he studied Spinoza and Plato, both of whom were important influences. He became more indebted to Kant though they differed on fundamental points. He sympathised with some of Jacobi's positions, and took some ideas from Fichte...

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (/ˈfɪxtə/;[28] German: [ˈjoːhan ˈɡɔtliːp ˈfɪçtə];[29][30][31] 19 May 1762 – 29 January 1814) was a German philosopher who became a founding figure of the philosophical movement known as German idealism, which developed from the theoretical and ethical writings of Immanuel Kant. ... Fichte was also the originator of thesis–antithesis–synthesis,[9] an idea that is often erroneously attributed to Hegel.[32] Like Descartes and Kant before him, Fichte was motivated by the problem of subjectivity and consciousness. Fichte also wrote works of political philosophy; he has a reputation as one of the fathers of German nationalism....

Between December 1807 and March 1808, Fichte gave a series of lectures concerning the "German nation" and its culture and language, projecting the kind of national education he hoped would raise it from the humiliation of its defeat at the hands of the French...

The aim of the German nation, according to Fichte, was to "found an empire of spirit and reason, and to annihilate completely the crude physical force that rules of the world." Like Herder's German nationalism, Fichte's was wholly cultural, and grounded in the aesthetic, literary, and moral.

The nationalism propounded by Fichte in the Addresses would be appealed to over a century later by the Nazi Party in Germany, which sought in Fichte a forerunner to its own nationalist ideology. Like Nietzsche, the association of Fichte with the Nazi regime came to colour readings of Fichte's German nationalism in the post-war period. This reading of Fichte was often bolstered through reference to an unpublished letter from 1793, Contributions to the Correction of the Public's Judgment concerning the French Revolution, wherein Fichte expressed anti-semitic sentiments, such as arguing against extending civil rights to Jews and calling them a "state within a state" that could "undermine" the German nation.

However, attached to the letter is a footnote in which Fichte provides an impassioned plea for permitting Jews to practice their religion without hindrance. Furthermore, the final act of Fichte's academic career was to resign as rector of the University of Berlin in protest when his colleagues refused to punish the harassment of Jewish students.
While recent scholarship has sought to dissociate Fichte's writings on nationalism with his adoption by the Nazi Party, the association continues to blight his legacy, although Fichte, as if to exclude all ground of doubt, clearly and distinctly prohibits, in his reworked version of The Science of Ethics as Based on the Science of Knowledge (see § Final period in Berlin)&nbsp, genocide and other crimes against humanity:

If you say that it is your conscience's command to exterminate peoples for their sins, […] we can confidently tell you that you are wrong; for such things can never be commanded against the free and moral force.

-- Johann Gottlieb Fichte, by Wikipedia

and Schelling. The literary product of that period of rapid development was his influential book, Reden über die Religion (On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers), and his "new year's gift" to the new century, the Monologen (Soliloquies).

In the first book, Schleiermacher gave religion an unchanging place among the divine mysteries of human nature, distinguished it from what he regarded as current caricatures of religion and described the perennial forms of its manifestation. That established the programme of his subsequent theological system. In the Monologen, he revealed his ethical manifesto in which he proclaimed his ideas on the freedom and independence of the spirit and on the relationship of the mind to the sensual world, and he sketched his ideal of the future of the individual and of society.


From 1802 to 1804, Schleiermacher served as a pastor in the Pomeranian town of Stolp. He relieved Friedrich Schlegel entirely of his nominal responsibility for the translation of Plato, which they had together undertaken (vols. 1–5, 1804–1810; vol. 6, Repub. 1828). Another work, Grundlinien einer Kritik der bisherigen Sittenlehre [Outlines of a Critique of the Doctrines of Morality to date] (1803), the first of his strictly critical and philosophical productions, occupied him; it is a criticism of all previous moral systems, including those of Kant and Fichte: Plato's and Spinoza's find most favour. It contends that the tests of the soundness of a moral system are the completeness of its view of the laws and ends of human life as a whole and the harmonious arrangement of its subject-matter under one fundamental principle. Although it is almost exclusively critical and negative, the book announces Schleiermacher's later view of moral science, attaching prime importance to a Güterlehre, or doctrine of the ends to be obtained by moral action. The obscurity of the book's style and its negative tone prevented immediate success.


In 1804, Schleiermacher moved as university preacher and professor of theology to the University of Halle, where he remained until 1807. He quickly obtained a reputation as professor and preacher and exercised a powerful influence in spite of contradictory charges, which accused him of atheism, Spinozism and pietism. In this period, he began his lectures on hermeneutics (1805–1833) ...

Hermeneutics (/ˌhɜːrməˈnjuːtɪks/)[1] is the theory and methodology of interpretation,[2][3] especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.[4][5]

-- Hermeneutics, by Wikipedia

and he also wrote his dialogue the Weihnachtsfeier (Christmas Eve: Dialogue on the Incarnation, 1806), which represents a midway point between his Speeches and his great dogmatic work, Der christliche Glaube (The Christian Faith); the speeches represent phases of his growing appreciation of Christianity as well as the conflicting elements of the theology of the period. After the Battle of Jena, he returned to Berlin (1807), was soon appointed pastor of the Trinity Church and, on May 18, 1809, married Henriette von Willich (née von Mühlenfels) (1788–1840), the widow of his friend Johann Ehrenfried Theodor von Willich (1777–1807).

At the foundation of the University of Berlin (1810), in which he took a prominent part, Schleiermacher obtained a theological chair and soon became secretary to the Prussian Academy of Sciences. He took a prominent part in the reorganization of the Prussian church and became the most powerful advocate of the union of the Lutheran and Reformed divisions of German Protestantism, paving the way for the Prussian Union of Churches (1817). The 24 years of his professional career in Berlin began with his short outline of theological study (Kurze Darstellung des theologischen Studiums, 1811) in which he sought to do for theology what he had done for religion in his Speeches.

While he preached every Sunday, Schleiermacher also gradually took up in his lectures in the university almost every branch of theology and philosophy: New Testament exegesis, introduction to and interpretation of the New Testament, ethics (both philosophic and Christian), dogmatic and practical theology, church history, history of philosophy, psychology, dialectics (logic and metaphysics), politics, pedagogy, translation and aesthetics.

In politics, Schleiermacher supported liberty and progress, and in the period of reaction that followed the overthrow of Napoleon, he was charged by the Prussian government with "demagogic agitation" in conjunction with the patriot Ernst Moritz Arndt.

Ernst Moritz Arndt (26 December 1769 – 29 January 1860) was a German nationalist historian, writer and poet. Early in his life, he fought for the abolition of serfdom, later against Napoleonic dominance over Germany. Arndt had to flee to Sweden for some time due to his anti-French positions. He is one of the main founders of German nationalism and the 19th century movement for German unification. After the Carlsbad Decrees, the forces of the restoration counted him as a demagogue.

Arndt played an important role for the early national and liberal Burschenschaft movement and for the unification movement, and his song "Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland?" acted as an unofficial German national anthem....

Like Fichte and Jahn, Arndt began to envision the German nation as a society of ethnic homogeneity, drawing on the history of the German people, especially in the Middle Ages. His writings lack a specific political program, but instead cite external enemies. While "freedom" is often mentioned, the freedom Arndt envisioned was not that of a pluralistic society, but rather of a romanticized national community. The French are denigrated as weakened, womanish and morally depraved, while supposed German virtues are extolled.

"The Germans have not been bastardized by foreign peoples, have not become half-breeds, they more than many other peoples have remained in their native state of purity."[3]

These ideas led Arndt to generate anti-French propaganda during the Napoleonic conquest of the German states:

"When I say I hate the French carelessness, I despise the French daintiness, I disapprove of the French loquacity and flightiness, I may pronounce a flaw, but it is a flaw that I share with all my people. I could likewise say I hate the English presumption, the English prudery, the English seclusiveness. These hated, despised, dispraised characteristics are not yet vices as such, from the peoples that they represent they may come with great virtues which I and my people are lacking. Therefore ... let us hate our Frenchmen, the infamizers and destroyers of our power and virginity, even more, now that we feel how they weaken and enervate our virtue and strength."[4]

Arndt also was prejudiced against Poles and other Slavs, and published an anti-Polish pamphlet in 1831 in which he castigated Polish "barbarity and wildness". During the liberal Revolution of 1848, when the issue of reviving the Polish state was raised in Frankfurt, Arndt declared that "tribes" of Slavs and Wends "have never done or been able to do anything lasting with respect to state, science, or art," and concluded: "At the outset I assert with world history that pronounces judgment [that] the Poles and the whole Slavonic tribe are inferior to Germans."

He also warned of close contact with Judaism. He warned of the "thousands [of Jews] which by the Russian tyranny will now come upon us even more abounding from Poland" – "the impure flood from the East". Moreover, he warned of a Jewish intellectual conspiracy, claiming that Jews had "usurped" half of literature.

Arndt paired his antisemitism with his anti-French views, calling the French "the Jewish people" ("das Judenvolk"), or "refined bad Jews" ("verfeinerte schlechte Juden"). In 1815 he wrote of the French: "Jews... I call them again, not only for their Jewish lists and their penny-pinching avarice, but even more because of their Jew-like sticking together."

-- Ernst Moritz Arndt, by Wikipedia

At the same time, Schleiermacher prepared his chief theological work, Der christliche Glaube nach den Grundsätzen der evangelischen Kirche (1821–1822; 2nd ed., greatly altered, 1830–1831; 6th ed., 1884; The Christian faith according to the principles of the evangelical church). Its fundamental principle is that the source and the basis of dogmatic theology are the religious feeling, the sense of absolute dependence on God as communicated by Jesus through the church, not the creeds or the letter of Scripture or the rationalistic understanding. The work is therefore simply a description of the facts of religious feeling, or of the inner life of the soul in its relations to God, and the inward facts are looked at in the various stages of their development and presented in their systematic connection. The aim of the work was to reform Protestant theology, to put an end to the unreason and superficiality of both supernaturalism and rationalism, and to deliver religion and theology from dependence on perpetually changing systems of philosophy.

Though the work added to the reputation of its author, it aroused the increased opposition of the theological schools it was intended to overthrow, and at the same time, Schleiermacher's defence of the right of the church to frame its own liturgy in opposition to the arbitrary dictation of the monarch or his ministers brought him fresh troubles. He felt isolated although his church and his lecture-room continued to be crowded.

Schleiermacher continued with his translation of Plato and prepared a new and greatly-altered edition of his Christlicher Glaube, anticipating the latter in two letters to his friend Gottfried Lücke (in the Studien und Kritiken, 1829) in which he defended his theological position generally and his book in particular against opponents on both the right and the left.

The same year, Schleiermacher lost his only son, Nathaniel (1820–1829), a blow that he said "drove the nails into his own coffin", but he continued to defend his theological position against Hengstenberg's party ...

[H]e began to direct his attention to a study of the Bible, which led him to a conviction, not only of the divine character of evangelical religion, but also of the unapproachable adequacy of its expression in the Augsburg Confession. In 1824 he joined the philosophical faculty of the University of Berlin as a privatdozent, and in 1825 he became a licentiate in theology, his theses being remarkable for their evangelical fervour and for their emphatic protest against every form of "rationalism", especially in questions of Old Testament criticism.

-- Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg, by Wikipedia

and the rationalists Daniel Georg Konrad von Cölln (1788–1833) and David Schulz (1779–1854), protesting against both subscription to the ancient creeds and the imposition of a new rationalistic formulary.


A statue of Schleiermacher at Palais Universitaire in Strasbourg

Schleiermacher died at 65 of pneumonia on February 12, 1834.


Doctrine of knowledge

Schleiermacher's psychology takes as its basis the phenomenal dualism of the ego and the non-ego, and regards the life of man as the interaction of these elements with their interpenetration as its infinite destination. The dualism is therefore not absolute, and, though present in man's own constitution as composed of body and soul, is relative only even there. The ego is itself both body and soul — the conjunction of both constitutes it. Our "organization" or sense nature has its intellectual element, and our "intellect" its organic element, and there is no such thing as "pure mind" or "pure body." The one general function of the ego, thought, becomes in relation to the non-ego either receptive or spontaneous action, and in both forms of action its organic, or sense, and its intellectual energies co-operate; and in relation to man, nature and the universe the ego gradually finds its true individuality by becoming a part of them, "every extension of consciousness being higher life."

The specific functions of the ego, as determined by the relative predominance of sense or intellect, are either functions of the senses (or organism) or functions of the intellect. The former fall into the two classes of feelings (subjective) and perceptions (objective); the latter, according as the receptive or the spontaneous element predominates, into cognition and volition. In cognition, thought is ontologically oriented to the object; and in volition it is the teleological purpose of thought. In the first case we receive (in our fashion) the object of thought into ourselves. In the latter we plant it out into the world. Both cognition and volition are functions of thought as well as forms of moral action.

It is in those two functions that the real life of the ego is manifested, but behind them is self-consciousness permanently present, which is always both subjective and objective — consciousness of ourselves and of the non-ego. This self-consciousness is the third special form or function of thought — which is also called feeling and immediate knowledge. In it we cognize our own inner life as affected by the non-ego. As the non-ego helps or hinders, enlarges or limits, our inner life, we feel pleasure or pain. Aesthetic, moral and religious feelings are respectively produced by the reception into consciousness of large ideas — nature, mankind and the world; those feelings are the sense of being one with these vast objects. Religious feeling therefore is the highest form of thought and of life; in it we are conscious of our unity with the world and God; it is thus the sense of absolute dependence.

Schleiermacher's doctrine of knowledge accepts the fundamental principle of Kant that knowledge is bounded by experience, but it seeks to remove Kant's scepticism as to knowledge of the ding an sich (the noumenon) or Sein, as Schleiermacher's term is. The idea of knowledge or scientific thought as distinguished from the passive form of thought — of aesthetics and religion — is thought which is produced by all thinkers in the same form and which corresponds to being. All knowledge takes the form of the concept (Begriff) or the judgment (Urteil), the former conceiving the variety of being as a definite unity and plurality, and the latter simply connecting the concept with certain individual objects.

In the concept, therefore, the intellectual and in the judgment the organic or sense element predominates. The universal uniformity of the production of judgments presupposes the uniformity of our relations to the outward world, and the uniformity of concepts rests similarly on the likeness of our inward nature. This uniformity is not based on the sameness of either the intellectual or the organic functions alone, but on the correspondence of the forms of thought and sensation with the forms of being. The essential nature of the concept is that it combines the general and the special, and the same combination recurs in being; in being the system of substantial or permanent forms answers to the system of concepts and the relation of cause and effect to the system of judgments, the higher concept answering to "force" and the lower to the phenomena of force, and the judgment to the contingent interaction of things.

The sum of being consists of the two systems of substantial forms and interactional relations, and it reappears in the form of concept and judgment, the concept representing being and the judgment being in action. Knowledge has under both forms the same object, the relative difference of the two being that when the conceptual form predominates we have speculative science and when the form of judgment prevails we have empirical or historical science. Throughout the domain of knowledge the two forms are found in constant mutual relations, another proof of the fundamental unity of thought and being or of the objectivity of knowledge. Plato, Spinoza and Kant had contributed characteristic elements of their thought to this system, and directly or indirectly it was largely indebted to Schelling for fundamental conceptions.


Schleiermacher's work has had a profound impact upon the philosophical field of hermeneutics. In fact, Schleiermacher is often referred to as "the father of modern hermeneutics as a general study."[18] While Schleiermacher did not publish extensively on hermeneutics during his lifetime, he lectured widely on the field. His published and unpublished writings on hermeneutics were collected together after his death, albeit with some disagreement over ordering and placement of individual texts and lecture notes. As James O. Duke notes, "it was not until Heinz Kimmerle's edition, based on a careful transcription of the original handwritten manuscripts, that an assured and comprehensive overview of Schleiermacher's theory of hermeneutics became possible."[19] Duke concludes that the Kimmerle edition "reproduces the full, incontestably genuine corpus of Schleiermacher literature on hermeneutics."[20]

Schleiermacher’s desire to approach hermeneutics in a more general sense was an attempt to shift away from more specific methods of interpretation, such as ways of interpreting biblical or classical texts, to a focus on the way in which people understand texts in general. Though he was certainly interested in interpreting Scripture, he thought one could only do so properly once one had established a system of interpretation that was applicable to all texts. This process was not a systematic or strictly philological approach, but what he called "the art of understanding."[21] Schleiermacher understood that reading a text was a discourse between the interpreter and the text itself; however, he considered the text as the means by which the author is communicating thoughts previous to the creation of the text.[22] These thoughts are what ultimately cause the author to produce the text, thus the place where these "inner thoughts" become "outer expression" in language is at the moment of text creation. This is where the meaning of a text ultimately resides for Schleiermacher.

In order to interpret a text, then, the interpreter must consider both the inner thoughts of the author and the language that s/he used in writing the text. This artistic approach to interpreting texts contained within it an ebb-and-flow between what Schleiermacher called the "grammatical interpretation" and the "psychological (or technical) interpretation." The former deals with the language of the text, the latter with the thoughts and aims of the author.[23]

The ultimate goal of hermeneutics for Schleiermacher is "understanding in the highest sense."[24] In this way, the object to be understood stems from a thought of an author, and then is expressed through language. The relationship of the author to language is cyclical, since the author is limited by his/her language and historical context, but s/he also contributes to language as a whole through new ideas and the appropriation of language.[25] The interpreter must understand how its original audience understood this language.[26]

Since the language used by an author "is what mediates sensuously and externally between utterer and listener"[27] the art of understanding becomes just as much the art of avoiding misunderstanding. Schleiermacher divides misunderstanding into two forms: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative misunderstanding is not understanding the content, or "the confusion of the meaning of a word for another."[28] Quantitative is misunderstanding the nuance in the author’s own "sphere." As a result of these possible misunderstandings, the need for the grammatical side of interpretation is glaring.

The grammatical interpretation leads to the technical interpretation as the reader attempts to understand why the author selected the language s/he did to convey his/her inner thoughts. Part of the task of hermeneutics is to fully understand these thoughts through the author’s discourse, even better than the author him/herself.[29] This can be done by discovering unity within the author, first in knowing why a particular work was produced, secondly in other works produced in a similar genre by others, and finally by other works by the same author in any genre.[30] The interpreter can then evaluate what the effect of the work was on the author’s context. If a reader can understand the psyche of the author, s/he can understand the work, but only in balance with the grammatical side of interpretation, which attempts to understand the work to understand the inner thoughts of the author. "Understanding" for Schleiermacher is the art of experiencing the same process of thought that the author experienced. Understanding is made possible by the fact that author and reader, since both are human, share the reasoning ability. Therefore, the process of understanding is not only a historical process, learning about the context in which the author wrote, but also a psychological process, drawing upon the connection between interpreter and the author. Thus, hermeneutics is a cyclical task, but for Schleiermacher it is not viciously circular because of the role of intuition.[31] As humans, therefore, interpreters approach a text with some shared understanding with the author that creates the possibility of understanding.

Despite Schleiermacher’s claim to the potential understanding of the author’s thoughts better than the author, he grants that "good interpretation can only be approximated" and that hermeneutics is not a "perfect art."[32] The art puts the interpreter in the best position by "putting oneself in possession of all the conditions of understanding."[33] However, the extent of an interpreter’s understanding of a text is mostly limited by his or her own potential to misunderstand a text.

The impact of Schleiermacher's work on hermeneutics is significant. The claim of Schleiermacher as the father of hermeneutics seems to be justified by the fact that his work marks the beginning of hermeneutics as a general field of inquiry, separate from the specific disciplines (e.g. law or theology).[34] His focus on hermeneutics as a theory of interpretation for any textual expression would be expanded even further to the theory of interpretation of lived experiences in the twentieth century by those like Heidegger, Gadamer, and Ricoeur.
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His grave in Berlin

Next to religion and theology, Schleiermacher devoted himself to the moral world, of which the phenomena of religion and theology were, in his systems, only constituent elements. In his earlier essays he endeavoured to point out the defects of ancient and modern ethical thinkers, particularly of Kant and Fichte, with only Plato and Spinoza finding favour in his eyes. He failed to discover in previous moral systems any necessary basis in thought, any completeness as regards the phenomena of moral action, any systematic arrangement of its parts and any clear and distinct treatment of specific moral acts and relations.

Schleiermacher's own moral system is an attempt to supply these deficiencies. It connects the moral world by a deductive process with the fundamental idea of knowledge and being; it offers a view of the entire world of human action which at all events aims at being exhaustive; it presents an arrangement of the matter of the science which tabulates its constituents after the model of the physical sciences; and it supplies a sharply defined treatment of specific moral phenomena in their relation to the fundamental idea of human life as a whole. Schleiermacher defines ethics as the theory of the nature of the reason, or as the scientific treatment of the effects produced by human reason in the world of nature and man.

As a theoretical or speculative science it is purely descriptive and not practical, being correlated on the one hand to physical science and on the other to history. Its method is the same as that of physical science, being distinguished from the latter only by its matter. The ontological basis of ethics is the unity of the real and the ideal, and the psychological and actual basis of the ethical process is the tendency of reason and nature to unite in the form of the complete organization of the latter by the former. The end of the ethical process is that nature (i.e. all that is not mind, the human body as well as external nature) may become the perfect symbol and organ of mind.

Conscience, as the subjective expression of the presupposed identity of reason and nature in their bases, guarantees the practicability of our moral vocation. Nature is preordained or constituted to become the symbol and organ of mind, just as mind is endowed with the impulse to realize this end. But the moral law must not be conceived under the form of an "imperative" or a "Sollen"; it differs from a law of nature only as being descriptive of the fact that it ranks the mind as conscious will, or Zweckdenken, above nature. Strictly speaking, the antitheses of good and bad and of free and necessary have no place in an ethical system, but simply in history, which is obliged to compare the actual with the ideal, but as far as the terms "good" and "bad" are used in morals they express the rule or the contrary of reason, or the harmony or the contrary of the particular and the general. The idea of free as opposed to necessary expresses simply the fact that the mind can propose to itself ends, though a man cannot alter his own nature.

In contrast to Kant and Fichte and modern moral philosophers, Schleiermacher reintroduced and assigned pre-eminent importance to the doctrine of the summum bonum, or highest good. It represents in his system the ideal and aim of the entire life of man, supplying the ethical view of the conduct of individuals in relation to society and the universe, and therewith constituting a philosophy of history at the same time. Starting with the idea of the highest good and of its constituent elements (Güter), or the chief forms of the union of mind and nature, Schleiermacher's system divides itself into the doctrine of moral ends, the doctrine of virtue and the doctrine of duties; in other words, as a development of the idea of the subjection of nature to reason it becomes a description of the actual forms of the triumphs of reason, of the moral power manifested therein and of the specific methods employed. Every moral good or product has a fourfold character: it is individual and' universal; it is an organ and symbol of the reason, that is, it is the product of the individual with relation to the community, and represents or manifests as well as classifies and rules nature.

The first two characteristics provide for the functions and rights of the individual as well as those of the community or race. Though a moral action may have these four characteristics at various degrees of strength, it ceases to be moral if one of them is quite absent. All moral products may be classified according to the predominance of one or the other of these characteristics. Universal organizing action produces the forms of intercourse, and universal symbolizing action produces the various forms of science; individual organizing action yields the forms of property and individual symbolizing action the various representations of feeling, all these constituting the relations, the productive spheres, or the social conditions of moral action. Moral functions cannot be performed by the individual in isolation but only in his relation to the family, the state, the school, the church, and society — all forms of human life which ethical science finds to its hand and leaves to the science of natural history to account for. The moral process is accomplished by the various sections of humanity in their individual spheres, and the doctrine of virtue deals with the reason as the moral power in each individual by which the totality of moral products is obtained.

Schleiermacher classifies the virtues under the two forms of Gesinnung ("disposition, attitude") and Fertigkeit ("dexterity, proficiency"), the first consisting of the pure ideal element in action and the second the form it assumes in relation to circumstances, each of the two classes falling respectively into the two divisions of wisdom and love and of intelligence and application. In his system the doctrine of duty is the description of the method of the attainment of ethical ends, the conception of duty as an imperative, or obligation, being excluded, as we have seen. No action fulfills the conditions of duty except as it combines the three following antitheses: reference to the moral idea in its whole extent and likewise to a definite moral sphere; connection with existing conditions and at the same time absolute personal production; the fulfillment of the entire moral vocation every moment though it can only be done in a definite sphere. Duties are divided with reference to the principle that every man make his own the entire moral problem and act at the same time in an existing moral society. This condition gives four general classes of duty: duties of general association or duties with reference to the community (Rechtspflicht), and duties of vocation (Berufspflicht) — both with a universal reference, duties of the conscience (in which the individual is sole judge), and duties of love or of personal association.

It was only the first of the three sections of the science of ethics — the doctrine of moral ends — that Schleiermacher handled with approximate completeness; the other two sections were treated very summarily. In his Christian Ethics he dealt with the subject from the basis of the Christian consciousness instead of from that of reason generally; the ethical phenomena dealt with are the same in both systems, and they throw light on each other, while the Christian system treats more at length and less aphoristically the principal ethical realities — church, state, family, art, science and society. Rothe, amongst other moral philosophers, bases his system substantially, with important departures, on Schleiermacher's. In Beneke's moral system his fundamental idea was worked out in its psychological relations.

Schleiermacher held that an eternal hell was not compatible with the love of God. Divine punishment was rehabilitative, not penal, and designed to reform the person.[35] He was one of the first major theologians of modern times to teach Christian Universalism.

Writings concerning society

On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers is a book written by Schleiermacher dealing with the gap he saw as emerging between the cultural elite and general society. Schleiermacher was writing when the Enlightenment was in full swing and when the first major transition into modernity was simultaneously occurring. With the fall of the late Middle Ages and a vigorous discourse taking hold of Western European intellectuals, the fields of art and natural philosophy were flourishing. However, the discourse of theologians, arguably the primary and only discourse of intellectuals for centuries, had taken to its own now minor corner in the universities. On Religion is divided into five major sections: the Defense (Apologie), the Nature of Religion (Über das Wesen der Religion), the Cultivation of Religion (Über die Bildung zur Religion), Association in Religion (Über das Gesellige in der Religion, oder über Kirche und Priesterthum), and the Religions (Über die Religionen). Schleiermacher initiates his speeches on religion in its opening chapter by asserting that the contemporary critique of religion is often over-simplified by the assumption that there are two supposed "hinges" upon which all critiques of religion(s) are based. These two over-simplifications are given by Schleiermacher as first, that their conscience shall be put into judgement, and second, the "general idea turns on the fear of an eternal being, or, broadly, respect for his influence on the occurrences of this life called by you providence, or expectation of a future life after this one, called by you immortality."[36]

Religious thought

From Leibniz, Lessing, Fichte, Jacobi and the Romantic school, Schleiermacher had imbibed a profound and mystical view of the inner depths of the human personality. His religious thought found its expression most notably in The Christian Faith, one of the most influential works of Christian theology of its time.

Schleiermacher saw the ego, the person, as an individualization of universal reason; and the primary act of self-consciousness as the first conjunction of universal and individual life, the immediate union or marriage of the universe with incarnated reason. Thus every person becomes a specific and original representation of the universe and a compendium of humanity, a microcosmos in which the world is immediately reflected. While therefore we cannot, as we have seen, attain the idea of the supreme unity of thought and being by either cognition or volition, we can find it in our own personality, in immediate self-consciousness or (which is the same in Schleiermacher's terminology) feeling.
Feeling in this higher sense (as distinguished from "organic" sensibility, Empfindung), which is the minimum of distinct antithetic consciousness, the cessation of the antithesis of subject and object, constitutes likewise the unity of our being, in which the opposite functions of cognition and volition have their fundamental and permanent background of personality and their transitional link. Having its seat in this central point of our being, or indeed consisting in the essential fact of self-consciousness, religion lies at the basis of all thought, feeling and action.

At various periods of his life Schleiermacher used different terms to represent the character and relation of religious feeling. In his earlier days he called it a feeling or intuition of the universe, consciousness of the unity of reason and nature, of the infinite and the eternal within the finite and the temporal. In later life he described it as the feeling of absolute dependence, or, as meaning the same thing, the consciousness of being in relation to God. In his Addresses on Religion (1799), he wrote:[37]

Religion is the outcome neither of the fear of death, nor of the fear of God. It answers a deep need in man. It is neither a metaphysic, nor a morality, but above all and essentially an intuition and a feeling. ... Dogmas are not, properly speaking, part of religion: rather it is that they are derived from it. Religion is the miracle of direct relationship with the infinite; and dogmas are the reflection of this miracle. Similarly belief in God, and in personal immortality, are not necessarily a part of religion; one can conceive of a religion without God, and it would be pure contemplation of the universe; the desire for personal immortality seems rather to show a lack of religion, since religion assumes a desire to lose oneself in the infinite, rather than to preserve one's own finite self.

Schleiermacher's concept of church has been contrasted with J.S. Semler's.[38]


The Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck, deeply concerned with the problem of objectivism and subjectivism in the doctrine of revelation, employs Schleiermacher’s doctrine of revelation in his own way and regards the Bible as the objective standard for his theological work. Bavinck also stresses the importance of the church, which forms the Christian consciousness and experience. In so doing, he attempts to overcome the latent weakness of Schleiermacher’s doctrine of revelation through his emphasis on the ecclesiological doctrine of revelation.[39]


Asteroid 12694 Schleiermacher is named for this German theologian—the name was chosen by German astronomer Freimut Börngen.


Under the title Gesamtausgabe der Werke Schleiermachers in drei Abteilungen, Schleiermacher's works were first published in three sections:

1. Theological (11 vols.)
2. Sermons (10 vols., 1873–1874, 5 vols)
3. Philosophical and Miscellaneous (9 vols., 1835–1864).

See also Sämmtliche Werke (Berlin, 1834ff.), and Werke: mit einem Bildnis Schleiermachers (Leipzig, 1910) in four volumes.

Other works include:

• Pädagogische Schriften (3rd ed., 1902).
• Aus Schleiermachers Leben in Briefen (Berlin, 1858–1863, in 4 vols., correspondence).
• Leben Schleiermachers. Vol. 1. Ed. Wilhelm Dilthey. Berlin: Reimer, 1870. (Correspondence from 1768–1804).
o The Life of Schleiermacher as Unfolded in His Autobiography and Letters. Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Tr. F. Rowan. London: 1860.
• Friedrich Schleiermacher, ein Lebens- und Charakterbild. D. Schenkel, 1868 (based on selection of letters).

Modern editions:

• Brief Outline for the Study of Theology (Kurze Darstellung des theologischen Studiums zum Behuf einleitender Vorlesungen, 1830).
o 1850 text tr. by William Farrer, Edinburgh.
o 1966 text tr. by Terrence Tice, Richmond, VA.
• The Christian Faith in Outline (2nd ed. of Der Christliche Glaube, 1830–1).
o 1911 condensed presentation tr. and ed. by George Cross, The Theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1911.
o 1922 outline tr. by D. M. (Donald Macpherson) Baillie, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.
o 1999 text tr. by H. R. MacKintosh, ed. J. S. Stewart. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. Paperback: ISBN 0-567-08709-3.
• Christmas Eve: A Dialogue on the Incarnation (Die Weihnachtsfeier: Ein Gespräch, 1826).
o 1890 text tr. by W. Hastie, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.
o 1967 text tr. by Terrence Tice, Richmond, VA: Scholars Press.
• Dialectic, or, The Art of Doing Philosophy: A Study Edition of the 1811 Notes (Schleiermachers Dialektik, 1903). Tr. Terrence Tice. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 2000. Paperback: ISBN 0-7885-0293-X
• Fifteen Sermons of Friedrich Schleiermacher Delivered to Celebrate the Beginning of a New Year (Monologues, 1800), tr. Edwina G. Lawler, Edwin Mellen Press, 2003. hardcover: ISBN 0-7734-6628-2
• Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher. Tr. Mary F. Wilson. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1890.
• Schleiermacher's Introductions to the Dialogues of Plato, trans. William Dobson. 1836; reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1973; reprint, Charleston, SC: BiblioBazaar, 2009. Paperback: ISBN 1-116-55546-8.
• Lectures on Philosophical Ethics (Grundriss der philosophischen Ethik, 1841). Tr. Louise Adey Huish. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Paperback: ISBN 0-521-00767-4
• The Life of Jesus, tr. S. Maclean Gilmour. Sigler Press 1997. Paperback: ISBN 1-888961-04-X
• A Critical Essay on the Gospel of Luke (Űber die Schriften des Lukas: ein kritischer Versuch, 1817). London: Taylor, 1825.
• Hermeneutics and Criticism and Other Writings (Hermeneutik und Kritik mit besonderer Beziehung auf das Neue Testament, 1838). Tr. Andrew Bowie. Cambridge University Press, 1998 Paperback: ISBN 0-521-59848-6
• Hermeneutics: The Handwritten Manuscripts, Ed. Heinz Kimmerle. Tr. James O. Duke and Jack Forstman. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1977 Paperback ISBN 0-89130-186-0
• On Creeds, Confessions And Church Union: "That They May Be One", tr. Iain G. Nicol. Edwin Mellen Press 2004. hardcover: ISBN 0-7734-6464-6
• On Freedom, trans. A. L. Blackwell. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1992.
• On the Glaubenslehre: Two Letters to Dr. Lucke (Schleiermachers Sendschreiben über seine Glaubenslehre an Lücke). Tr. James O. Duke and Francis Fiorenza. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1981.
• On the Highest Good, trans. H. V. Froese. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992.
• On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers (Über die Religion: Reden an die Gebildeten unter ihren Verächtern, three editions: 1799, 1806, 1831)
o 1799 text tr. Richard Crouter, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Paperback: ISBN 0-521-47975-4
o 1893 text tr. by John Oman, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994. Paperback: ISBN 0-664-25556-6
• On the Worth of Life (Űber den Wert des Lebens), trans. E. Lawlor, T. N. Tice. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1995.
• Soliloquies, trans. Horace L. Friess. Chicago, 1957.
• Toward a Theory of Sociable Conduct and Essays in Its Intellectual-Cultural Context, tr. Ruth Drucilla Richardson. Edwin Mellen Press, 1996 hardcover: ISBN 0-7734-8938-X
• Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher, tr. Mary F. Wilson. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2004. Paperback: ISBN 1-59244-602-7

See also

• First Alcibiades
• Fidelity and transparency
• Allegorical interpretations of Plato, for Schleiermacher's influential Plato interpretation
• Plato's unwritten doctrines, for the reaction against Schleiermacher's Plato interpretation
• Hermeneutic circle


1. Biografie, Friedrich Schleiermacher
2. Kristin Gjesdal, Gadamer and the Legacy of German Idealism, Cambridge University Press, 2012, p. 156.
3. Paola Mayer, Jena Romanticism and Its Appropriation of Jakob Böhme, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1999, p. 101.
4. Helmut Thielicke, Modern Faith and Thought, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1990, p. 174.
5. Kurt Mueller-Vollmer (ed.), The Hermeneutics Reader, Continuum, 1988, p. 72.
6. Edward Joseph Echeverria, Criticism and Commitment: Major Themes in Contemporary "Post-Critical" Philosophy, Rodopi, 1981, p. 221.
7. Friedrich Schleiermacher, Hermeneutics: The Handwritten Manuscripts, ed. by Heinz Kimmerle, trans. by James Duke and Jack Forstman (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1977), p. 196: "just as the whole is understood from the parts, so the parts can be understood from the whole. This principle is of such consequence for hermeneutics and so incontestable that one cannot even begin to interpret without using it."
8. Anthony C. Thiselton, New Horizons in Hermeneutics: The Theory and Practice of Transforming Biblical Reading, Harper Collins, 1997, p. 214.
9. Friedrich Schleiermacher, "Ueber den Begriff der Hermeneutik mit Bezug auf F. A. Wolfs Andeutungen und Asts Lehrbuch", lecture delivered on August 13, 1829; published in Friedrich Schleiermachers sämtliche Werke III/3, 1838 (Schleiermacher makes reference to Ast's Grundlinien der Grammatik, Hermeneutik und Kritik (1808) and Wolf's Vorlesungen über die Enzyklopädie der Altertumswissenschaft (1831)); Richard E. Palmer, Hermeneutics, Northwestern University Press, 1969, ch. 6.
10. Michael N. Forster, After Herder: Philosophy of Language in the German Tradition, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 9.
11. Frederick C. Beiser, Late German Idealism: Trendelenburg and Lotze, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 20.
12. Hinson-Hasty, Elizabeth (2013). "'In Each the Work of All, and in All the Work of Each': Sin and Salvation in Schleiermacher and Rauschenbusch". In Wilcox, Jeffrey A.; Tice, Terrence N.; Kelsey, Catherine L. (eds.). Schleiermacher's Influences on American Thought and Religious Life (1835–1920). 1. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications. pp. 371–372. ISBN 978-1-60608-005-4.
13. Schwarz, Hans (2005). Theology in a Global Context: The Last Two Hundred Years. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 144–145. ISBN 978-0-8028-2986-3.
14. Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology: Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768–1834)
15. Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Zionites". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
16. Michael A. G. Haykin, Liberal Protestantism, p. 3
17. B. A. Gerrish, A Prince of the Church: Schleiermacher and the Beginnings of Modern Theology (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1984), p. 25.
18. Palmer, Richard E. Hermeneutics. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1969.
19. Duke, James O. "Translators' Introduction" Hermeneutics: The Handwritten Manuscripts. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1977, 1.
20. Duke, James O. "Translators' Introduction" Hermeneutics: The Handwritten Manuscripts. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1977, 2.
21. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. "The Hermeneutics: Outline of the 1819 Lectures," New Literary History, Vol.10, No. 1, Literary Hermeneutics (Autumn, 1978), 1.
22. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. "The Hermeneutics: Outline of the 1819 Lectures," New Literary History, Vol.10, No. 1, Literary Hermeneutics (Autumn, 1978), 2-3.
23. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. ed. Andrew Bowie. Hermeneutics and Criticism. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 229.
24. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. ed. Andrew Bowie. Hermeneutics and Criticism. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 228
25. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. "The Hermeneutics: Outline of the 1819 Lectures," New Literary History, Vol. 10, No. 1, Literary Hermeneutics (Autumn, 1978), 5;10.
26. Friedrich D. E. Schleiermacher, "The Hermeneutics: Outline of the 1819 Lectures," New Literary History, Vol. 10, No. 1, Literary Hermeneutics (Autumn, 1978), 6.
27. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. ed. Andrew Bowie. Hermeneutics and Criticism. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 232.
28. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. "The Hermeneutics: Outline of the 1819 Lectures," New Literary History, Vol. 10, No. 1, Literary Hermeneutics (Autumn, 1978), 9.
29. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. "The Hermeneutics: Outline of the 1819 Lectures," New Literary History, Vol. 10, No. 1, Literary Hermeneutics (Autumn, 1978), 9.
30. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. ed. Andrew Bowie. Hermeneutics and Criticism. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 256.
31. Palmer, Richard (1969). Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. pp. 87–88. ISBN 9780810104594.
32. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. "The Hermeneutics: Outline of the 1819 Lectures," New Literary History, Vol. 10, No. 1, Literary Hermeneutics (Autumn, 1978), 14.
33. Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. ed. Andrew Bowie. Hermeneutics and Criticism. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 227.
34. Palmer, Richard (1969). Hermeneutics. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. pp. 96–97. ISBN 9780810104594.
35. Gunton, Colin E. The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine. p. 240.
36. F. Scheiermacher, On Religion, Ch.1, pp12-13.
37. Quoted in Kedourie, Elie. Nationalism, p. 26. Praeger University Series. 1961. ISBN 0-09-053444-1
38. Rendtorff, Trutz. Church and Theology: The Systematic Function of the Church Concept in Modern Theology, Westminster Press, 1971, ISBN 978-0-664-20908-7.
39. Woo, B. Hoon (2015). "Bavinck and Barth on Schleiermacher's Doctrine of Revelation". Korea Reformed Theology. 48: 38–71.


• Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Schleiermacher, Friedrich Daniel Ernst" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
• Heinrich Fink: Begründung der Funktion der Praktischen Theologie bei Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher: Eine Untersuchung anhand seiner praktisch-theologischen Vorlesungen. Berlin 1966 (Berlin, Humboldt-U., Theol. F., Diss. v. 25. Jan. 1966) [master's thesis]
• Wilhelm Dilthey: Leben Schleiermachers, ed. M. Redeker, Berlin 1966
• Falk Wagner: Schleiermachers Dialektik. Eine kritische Interpretation, Gütersloh 1974
• Brian A. Gerrish: A Prince of the Church. Schleiermacher and the Beginnings of Modern Theology, London / Philadelphia 1984
• Kurt-Victor Selge (ed.): Internationaler Schleiermacher-Kongreß Berlin 1984 (Zwei Teilbände), Berlin / New York 1985
• Günter Meckenstock: Deterministische Ethik und kritische Theologie. Die Auseinandersetzung des frühen Schleiermacher mit Kant und Spinoza 1789–1794, Berlin / New York 1988
• Hans-Joachim Birkner: Schleiermacher-Studien. (Schleiermacher-Archiv. Band 16), Berlin / New York 1996
• Julia A. Lamm: The Living God: Schleiermacher's Theological Appropriation of Spinoza, University Park, Pennsylvania 1996
• Ulrich Barth / Claus-Dieter Osthövener (Hg.), 200 Jahre "Reden über die Religion". Akten des 1. Internationalen Kongresses der Schleiermacher-Gesellschaft Halle, 14.–17. March 1999 (Schleiermacher Archiv 19), Berlin / New York 2000
• Kurt Nowak: Schleiermacher. Leben, Werk und Wirkung. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001.
• Matthias Wolfes: Öffentlichkeit und Bürgergesellschaft. Friedrich Schleiermachers politische Wirksamkeit, Berlin / New York 2004
• Lundberg, Phillip (2005). Tallyho – The Hunt for Virtue: Beauty, Truth and Goodness – Nine Dialogues by Plato. AuthorHouse. ISBN 1-4184-4976-8.
• Christof Ellsiepen: Anschauung des Universums und Scientia Intuitiva. Die spinozistischen Grundlagen von Schleiermachers früher Religionstheorie, Berlin / New York 2006
• Walter Wyman, Jr.: "The Role of the Protestant Confessions in Schleiermacher’s The Christian Faith". The Journal of Religion 87:355–385, July 2007
• Christentum – Staat – Kultur. Akten des Kongresses der Internationalen Schleiermacher-Gesellschaft in Berlin, March 2006. Hrsg. von Andreas Arndt, Ulrich Barth and Wilhelm Gräb (Schleiermacher-Archiv 22), De Gruyter: Berlin / New York 2008


In English

• Barth, Karl. The Theology of Schleiermacher. trans. Geoffrey Bromiley. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1982.
• Barth, Karl. "Schleiermacher," in Protestant Theology from Rousseau to Ritschl. New York: Harper, 1959. Ch. VIII, pp. 306–354.
• Brandt, R. B. The Philosophy of Schleiermacher: The Development of his Theory of Scientific and Religious Knowledge. Westport, CT: 1968.
• Crouter, Richard. Friedrich Schleiermacher: Between Enlightenment and Romanticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 2008.
• Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method, 2nd revised ed. tr. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald . Marshall. New York: Continuum, 1994.
• Kenklies, K. (2012). "Educational theory as topological rhetoric. The concepts of pedagogy of Johann Friedrich Herbart and Friedrich Schleiermacher". Studies in Philosophy and Education. 31: 265–273. doi:10.1007/s11217-012-9287-6.
• Kenklies, Karsten. "Schleiermacher, Friedrich Daniel Ernst". In Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy. Edited by D.C. Phillips. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2014, pp. 733–735.
• Kirn, O. "Schleiermacher, Friedrich Daniel Ernst." The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Vol. X. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1911. pp. 240–246.
• Mariña, Jacqueline, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Schleiermacher. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
• Munro, Robert. Schleiermacher: Personal and Speculative. Paisley: A. Gardner, 1903.
• Niehbuhr, Richard R. Schleiermacher on Christ and Religion: A New Introduction. New York: Scribners, 1964.
• Park, Jae-Eun. "Schleiermacher's Perspective on Redemption: A Fulfillment of the coincidentia oppositorum between the Finite and the Infinite in Participation with Christ." Journal of Reformed Theology 9/3 (2015): 270-294.
• Selbie, W. E. Schleiermacher: A Critical and Historical Study. New York: Dutton, 1913.
• Kerber, Hannes. "Strauss and Schleiermacher. An Introduction to 'Exoteric Teaching". In Reorientation: Leo Strauss in the 1930s. Edited by Martin D. Yaffe and Richard S. Ruderman. New York: Palgrave, 2014, pp. 203–214.
In French
• Berman, Antoine. L'épreuve de l'étranger. Culture et traduction dans l'Allemagne romantique: Herder, Goethe, Schlegel, Novalis, Humboldt, Schleiermacher, Hölderlin, Paris, Gallimard, Essais, 1984. ISBN 978-2-07-070076-9

External links

• Media related to Friedrich Schleiermacher at Wikimedia Commons
• Quotations related to Friedrich Schleiermacher at Wikiquote
• Works by or about Friedrich Schleiermacher at Internet Archive
• Works by Friedrich Schleiermacher at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
• Works by or about Friedrich Schleiermacher in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
• Infography about Friedrich Schleiermacher
• Böhme, Traugott (1920). "Schleiermacher, Friedrich Ernst Daniel" . Encyclopedia Americana.
• Literature by and about Friedrich Schleiermacher in the German National Library catalogue
• Wilhelm Dilthey (1890), "Schleiermacher, Friedrich", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 31, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 422–457
• Works by and about Friedrich Schleiermacher in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library)
• Ulrich Schwab (1995). "Schleiermacher, Friedrich Daniel Ernst". In Bautz, Traugott (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 9. Herzberg: Bautz. cols. 253–270. ISBN 3-88309-058-1.
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Liber Divinorum Operum, or the Universal Man of St. Hildegard of Bingen, 1185 (13th-century copy)

Mysticism is the practice of religious ecstasies (religious experiences during alternate states of consciousness), together with whatever ideologies, ethics, rites, myths, legends, and magic may be related to them.[web 1] It may also refer to the attainment of insight in ultimate or hidden truths, and to human transformation supported by various practices and experiences.[web 2]

The term "mysticism" has Ancient Greek origins with various historically determined meanings.[web 1][web 2] Derived from the Greek word μύω múō, meaning "to close" or "to conceal",[web 2] mysticism referred to the biblical, liturgical, spiritual, and contemplative dimensions of early and medieval Christianity.[1] During the early modern period, the definition of mysticism grew to include a broad range of beliefs and ideologies related to "extraordinary experiences and states of mind."[2]

In modern times, "mysticism" has acquired a limited definition, with broad applications, as meaning the aim at the "union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God".[web 1] This limited definition has been applied to a wide range of religious traditions and practices,[web 1] valuing "mystical experience" as a key element of mysticism.

Broadly defined, mysticism can be found in all religious traditions, from indigenous religions and folk religions like shamanism, to organised religions like the Abrahamic faiths and Indian religions, and modern spirituality, New Age and New Religious Movements.

Since the 1960s scholars have debated the merits of perennial and constructionist approaches in the scientific research of "mystical experiences".[3][4][5] The perennial position is now "largely dismissed by scholars",[6] most scholars using a contextualist approach, which takes the cultural and historical context into consideration.[7]


See also: Christian contemplation and Henosis

"Mysticism" is derived from the Greek μυω, meaning "I conceal",[web 2] and its derivative μυστικός, mystikos, meaning 'an initiate'. The verb μυώ has received a quite different meaning in the Greek language, where it is still in use. The primary meanings it has are "induct" and "initiate". Secondary meanings include "introduce", "make someone aware of something", "train", "familiarize", "give first experience of something".[web 3]

The related form of the verb μυέω (mueó or myéō) appears in the New Testament. As explained in Strong's Concordance, it properly means shutting the eyes and mouth to experience mystery. Its figurative meaning is to be initiated into the "mystery revelation". The meaning derives from the initiatory rites of the pagan mysteries.[web 4] Also appearing in the New Testament is the related noun μυστήριον (mustérion or mystḗrion), the root word of the English term "mystery". The term means "anything hidden", a mystery or secret, of which initiation is necessary. In the New Testament it reportedly takes the meaning of the counsels of God, once hidden but now revealed in the Gospel or some fact thereof, the Christian revelation generally, and/or particular truths or details of the Christian revelation.[web 5]

According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, the term μυστήριον in classical Greek meant "a hidden thing", "secret". A particular meaning it took in Classical antiquity was a religious secret or religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to be communicated by them to ordinary mortals. In the Septuagint and the New Testament the meaning it took was that of a hidden purpose or counsel, a secret will. It is sometimes used for the hidden wills of humans, but is more often used for the hidden will of God. Elsewhere in the Bible it takes the meaning of the mystic or hidden sense of things. It is used for the secrets behind sayings, names, or behind images seen in visions and dreams. The Vulgate often translates the Greek term to the Latin sacramentum (sacrament).[web 5]

The related noun μύστης (mustis or mystis, singular) means the initiate, the person initiated to the mysteries.[web 5] According to Ana Jiménez San Cristobal in her study of Greco-Roman mysteries and Orphism, the singular form μύστης and the plural form μύσται are used in ancient Greek texts to mean the person or persons initiated to religious mysteries. These followers of mystery religions belonged to a select group, where access was only gained through an initiation. She finds that the terms were associated with the term βάκχος (Bacchus), which was used for a special class of initiates of the Orphic mysteries. The terms are first found connected in the writings of Heraclitus. Such initiates are identified in texts with the persons who have been purified and have performed certain rites. A passage of the Cretans by Euripides seems to explain that the μύστης (initiate) who devotes himself to an ascetic life, renounces sexual activities, and avoids contact with the dead becomes known as βάκχος. Such initiates were believers in the god Dionysus Bacchus who took on the name of their god and sought an identification with their deity.[8]

Until the sixth century the practice of what is now called mysticism was referred to by the term contemplatio, c.q. theoria.[9] According to Johnson, "oth contemplation and mysticism speak of the eye of love which is looking at, gazing at, aware of divine realities."[9]


According to Peter Moore, the term "mysticism" is "problematic but indispensable."[10] It is a generic term which joins together into one concept separate practices and ideas which developed separately,[10] According to Dupré, "mysticism" has been defined in many ways,[11] and Merkur notes that the definition, or meaning, of the term "mysticism" has changed through the ages.[web 1] Moore further notes that the term "mysticism" has become a popular label for "anything nebulous, esoteric, occult, or supernatural."[10]

Parsons warns that "what might at times seem to be a straightforward phenomenon exhibiting an unambiguous commonality has become, at least within the academic study of religion, opaque and controversial on multiple levels".[12] Because of its Christian overtones, and the lack of similar terms in other cultures, some scholars regard the term "mysticism" to be inadequate as a useful descriptive term.[10] Other scholars regard the term to be an inauthentic fabrication,[10][web 1] the "product of post-Enlightenment universalism."[10]

Union with the Divine or Absolute and mystical experience

See also: Hesychasm, Contemplative prayer, and Apophatic theology

Deriving from Neo-Platonism and Henosis, mysticism is popularly known as union with God or the Absolute.[13][14] In the 13th century the term unio mystica came to be used to refer to the "spiritual marriage," the ecstasy, or rapture, that was experienced when prayer was used "to contemplate both God’s omnipresence in the world and God in his essence."[web 1] In the 19th century, under the influence of Romanticism, this "union" was interpreted as a "religious experience," which provides certainty about God or a transcendental reality.[web 1][note 1]

An influential proponent of this understanding was William James (1842–1910), who stated that "in mystic states we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware of our oneness."[16] William James popularized this use of the term "religious experience"[note 2] in his The Varieties of Religious Experience,[18][19][web 2] contributing to the interpretation of mysticism as a distinctive experience, comparable to sensory experiences.[20][web 2] Religious experiences belonged to the "personal religion,"[21] which he considered to be "more fundamental than either theology or ecclesiasticism".[21] He gave a Perennialist interpretation to religious experience, stating that this kind of experience is ultimately uniform in various traditions.[note 3]

McGinn notes that the term unio mystica, although it has Christian origins, is primarily a modern expression.[22] McGinn argues that "presence" is more accurate than "union", since not all mystics spoke of union with God, and since many visions and miracles were not necessarily related to union. He also argues that we should speak of "consciousness" of God's presence, rather than of "experience", since mystical activity is not simply about the sensation of God as an external object, but more broadly about "new ways of knowing and loving based on states of awareness in which God becomes present in our inner acts."[23]

However, the idea of "union" does not work in all contexts. For example, in Advaita Vedanta, there is only one reality (Brahman) and therefore nothing other than reality to unite with it—Brahman in each person (atman) has always in fact been identical to Brahman all along. Dan Merkur also notes that union with God or the Absolute is a too limited definition, since there are also traditions which aim not at a sense of unity, but of nothingness, such as Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Meister Eckhart.[web 1] According to Merkur, Kabbala and Buddhism also emphasize nothingness.[web 1] Blakemore and Jennett note that "definitions of mysticism [...] are often imprecise." They further note that this kind of interpretation and definition is a recent development which has become the standard definition and understanding.[web 6][note 4]

According to Gelman, "A unitive experience involves a phenomenological de-emphasis, blurring, or eradication of multiplicity, where the cognitive significance of the experience is deemed to lie precisely in that phenomenological feature".[web 2][note 5]

Religious ecstasies and interpretative context

Main articles: Religious ecstasy, Altered state of consciousness, Cognitive science of religion, Neurotheology, and Attribution (psychology)

Mysticism involves an explanatory context, which provides meaning for mystical and visionary experiences, and related experiences like trances. According to Dan Merkur, mysticism may relate to any kind of ecstasy or altered state of consciousness, and the ideas and explanations related to them.[web 1][note 6] Parsons stresses the importance of distinguishing between temporary experiences and mysticism as a process, which is embodied within a "religious matrix" of texts and practices.[26][note 7] Richard Jones does the same.[27] Peter Moore notes that mystical experience may also happen in a spontaneous and natural way, to people who are not committed to any religious tradition. These experiences are not necessarily interpreted in a religious framework.[28] Ann Taves asks by which processes experiences are set apart and deemed religious or mystical.[29]

Intuitive insight and enlightenment

Main articles: Enlightenment (spiritual), Divine illumination, and Subitism

Some authors emphasize that mystical experience involves intuitive understanding of the meaning of existence and of hidden truths, and the resolution of life problems. According to Larson, "mystical experience is an intuitive understanding and realization of the meaning of existence."[30][note 8] According to McClenon, mysticism is "the doctrine that special mental states or events allow an understanding of ultimate truths."[web 7][note 9] According to James R. Horne, mystical illumination is "a central visionary experience [...] that results in the resolution of a personal or religious problem.[3][note 10]

According to Evelyn Underhill, illumination is a generic English term for the phenomenon of mysticism. The term illumination is derived from the Latin illuminatio, applied to Christian prayer in the 15th century.[31] Comparable Asian terms are bodhi, kensho and satori in Buddhism, commonly translated as "enlightenment", and vipassana, which all point to cognitive processes of intuition and comprehension. According to Wright, the use of the western word enlightenment is based on the supposed resemblance of bodhi with Aufklärung, the independent use of reason to gain insight into the true nature of our world, and there are more resemblances with Romanticism than with the Enlightenment: the emphasis on feeling, on intuitive insight, on a true essence beyond the world of appearances.[32]

Spiritual life and re-formation

Main articles: Spirituality, Spiritual development, Self-realization, and Ego death

Other authors point out that mysticism involves more than "mystical experience." According to Gellmann, the ultimate goal of mysticism is human transformation, not just experiencing mystical or visionary states.[web 2][note 13][note 14] According to McGinn, personal transformation is the essential criterion to determine the authenticity of Christian mysticism.[23][note 15]

History of the term

Hellenistic world

In the Hellenistic world, 'mystical' referred to "secret" religious rituals like the Eleusinian Mysteries.[web 2] The use of the word lacked any direct references to the transcendental.[12] A "mystikos" was an initiate of a mystery religion.

Early Christianity

Main articles: Greco-Roman mysteries, Early Christianity, and Esoteric Christianity

In early Christianity the term "mystikos" referred to three dimensions, which soon became intertwined, namely the biblical, the liturgical and the spiritual or contemplative.[1] The biblical dimension refers to "hidden" or allegorical interpretations of Scriptures.[web 2][1] The liturgical dimension refers to the liturgical mystery of the Eucharist, the presence of Christ at the Eucharist.[web 2][1] The third dimension is the contemplative or experiential knowledge of God.[1]

Until the sixth century, the Greek term theoria, meaning "contemplation" in Latin, was used for the mystical interpretation of the Bible.[9] The link between mysticism and the vision of the Divine was introduced by the early Church Fathers, who used the term as an adjective, as in mystical theology and mystical contemplation.[12] Under the influence of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite the mystical theology came to denote the investigation of the allegorical truth of the Bible,[1] and "the spiritual awareness of the ineffable Absolute beyond the theology of divine names."[36] Pseudo-Dionysius' Apophatic theology, or "negative theology", exerted a great influence on medieval monastic religiosity.[37] It was influenced by Neo-Platonism, and very influential in Eastern Orthodox Christian theology. In western Christianity it was a counter-current to the prevailing Cataphatic theology or "positive theology".

Theoria enabled the Fathers to perceive depths of meaning in the biblical writings that escape a purely scientific or empirical approach to interpretation.[38] The Antiochene Fathers, in particular, saw in every passage of Scripture a double meaning, both literal and spiritual.[39]

Later, theoria or contemplation came to be distinguished from intellectual life, leading to the identification of θεωρία or contemplatio with a form of prayer[40] distinguished from discursive meditation in both East[41] and West.[42]

Medieval meaning

See also: Middle Ages

This threefold meaning of "mystical" continued in the Middle Ages.[1] According to Dan Merkur, the term unio mystica came into use in the 13th century as a synonym for the "spiritual marriage," the ecstasy, or rapture, that was experienced when prayer was used "to contemplate both God’s omnipresence in the world and God in his essence."[web 1] Under the influence of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite the mystical theology came to denote the investigation of the allegorical truth of the Bible,[1] and "the spiritual awareness of the ineffable Absolute beyond the theology of divine names."[36] Pseudo-Dionysius' Apophatic theology, or "negative theology", exerted a great influence on medieval monastic religiosity, although it was mostly a male religiosity, since women were not allowed to study.[37] It was influenced by Neo-Platonism, and very influential in Eastern Orthodox Christian theology. In western Christianity it was a counter-current to the prevailing Cataphatic theology or "positive theology". It is best known nowadays in the western world from Meister Eckhart and John of the Cross.

Early modern meaning

See also: Early modern period

The Appearance of the Holy Spirit before Saint Teresa of Ávila, Peter Paul Rubens

In the sixteenth and seventeenth century mysticism came to be used as a substantive.[12] This shift was linked to a new discourse,[12] in which science and religion were separated.[43]

Luther dismissed the allegorical interpretation of the bible, and condemned Mystical theology, which he saw as more Platonic than Christian.[44] "The mystical", as the search for the hidden meaning of texts, became secularised, and also associated with literature, as opposed to science and prose.[45]

Science was also distinguished from religion. By the middle of the 17th century, "the mystical" is increasingly applied exclusively to the religious realm, separating religion and "natural philosophy" as two distinct approaches to the discovery of the hidden meaning of the universe.[46] The traditional hagiographies and writings of the saints became designated as "mystical", shifting from the virtues and miracles to extraordinary experiences and states of mind, thereby creating a newly coined "mystical tradition".[2] A new understanding developed of the Divine as residing within human, an essence beyond the varieties of religious expressions.[12]

Contemporary meaning

See also: Western esotericism, Theosophy (Blavatskian), Syncretism, Spirituality, and New Age

The 19th century saw a growing emphasis on individual experience, as a defense against the growing rationalism of western society.[19][web 1] The meaning of mysticism was considerably narrowed:[web 1]

The competition between the perspectives of theology and science resulted in a compromise in which most varieties of what had traditionally been called mysticism were dismissed as merely psychological phenomena and only one variety, which aimed at union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God—and thereby the perception of its essential unity or oneness—was claimed to be genuinely mystical. The historical evidence, however, does not support such a narrow conception of mysticism.[web 1]

Under the influence of Perennialism, which was popularised in both the west and the east by Unitarianism, Transcendentalists and Theosophy, mysticism has been applied to a broad spectrum of religious traditions, in which all sorts of esotericism and religious traditions and practices are joined together.[47][48][19] The term mysticism was extended to comparable phenomena in non-Christian religions,[web 1] where it influenced Hindu and Buddhist responses to colonialism, resulting in Neo-Vedanta and Buddhist modernism.[48][49]

In the contemporary usage "mysticism" has become an umbrella term for all sorts of non-rational world views,[50] parapsychology and pseudoscience.[51][52][53][54] William Harmless even states that mysticism has become "a catch-all for religious weirdness".[55] Within the academic study of religion the apparent "unambiguous commonality" has become "opaque and controversial".[12] The term "mysticism" is being used in different ways in different traditions.[12] Some call to attention the conflation of mysticism and linked terms, such as spirituality and esotericism, and point at the differences between various traditions.[56]

Variations of mysticism

Based on various definitions of mysticism, namely mysticism as an experience of union or nothingness, mysticism as any kind of an altered state of consciousness which is attributed in a religious way, mysticism as "enlightenment" or insight, and mysticism as a way of transformation, "mysticism" can be found in many cultures and religious traditions, both in folk religion and organized religion. These traditions include practices to induce religious or mystical experiences, but also ethical standards and practices to enhance self-control and integrate the mystical experience into daily life.

Dan Merkur notes, though, that mystical practices are often separated from daily religious practices, and restricted to "religious specialists like monastics, priests, and other renunciates.[web 1]

Western mysticism

Mystery religions

Main article: Greco-Roman mysteries

The Eleusinian Mysteries, (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were annual initiation ceremonies in the cults of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone, held in secret at Eleusis (near Athens) in ancient Greece.[57] The mysteries began in about 1600 B.C. in the Mycenean period and continued for two thousand years, becoming a major festival during the Hellenic era, and later spreading to Rome.[58] Numerous scholars have proposed that the power of the Eleusinian Mysteries came from the kykeon's functioning as an entheogen.[59]

Christian mysticism

Main articles: Christian contemplation, Christian mysticism, Mystical theology, Apophatic theology, and German mysticism

Early Christianity

The apophatic theology, or "negative theology", of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (6th c.) exerted a great influence on medieval monastic religiosity, both in the East and (by Latin translation) in the West.[37] Pseudo-Dionysius applied Neoplatonic thought, particularly that of Proclus, to Christian theology.

Orthodox Christianity

The Orthodox Church has a long tradition of theoria (intimate experience) and hesychia (inner stillness), in which contemplative prayer silences the mind to progress along the path of theosis (deification).

Theosis, practical unity with and conformity to God, is obtained by engaging in contemplative prayer, the first stage of theoria,[60][note 16] which results from the cultivation of watchfulness (nepsis). In theoria, one comes to behold the "divisibly indivisible" divine operations (energeia) of God as the "uncreated light" of transfiguration, a grace which is eternal and proceeds naturally from the blinding darkness of the incomprehensible divine essence.[note 17][note 18] It is the main aim of hesychasm, which was developed in the thought St. Symeon the New Theologian, embraced by the monastic communities on Mount Athos, and most notably defended by St. Gregory Palamas against the Greek humanist philosopher Barlaam of Calabria. According to Roman Catholic critics, hesychastic practice has its roots to the introduction of a systematic practical approach to quietism by Symeon the New Theologian.[note 19]

Symeon believed that direct experience gave monks the authority to preach and give absolution of sins, without the need for formal ordination. While Church authorities also taught from a speculative and philosophical perspective, Symeon taught from his own direct mystical experience,[63] and met with strong resistance for his charismatic approach, and his support of individual direct experience of God's grace.[63]

Western Europe

Life of Francis of Assisi by José Benlliure y Gil

The High Middle Ages saw a flourishing of mystical practice and theorization in western Roman Catholicism, corresponding to the flourishing of new monastic orders, with such figures as Guigo II, Hildegard of Bingen, Bernard of Clairvaux, the Victorines, all coming from different orders, as well as the first real flowering of popular piety among the laypeople.

The Late Middle Ages saw the clash between the Dominican and Franciscan schools of thought, which was also a conflict between two different mystical theologies: on the one hand that of Dominic de Guzmán and on the other that of Francis of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, Bonaventure, and Angela of Foligno. This period also saw such individuals as John of Ruysbroeck, Catherine of Siena and Catherine of Genoa, the Devotio Moderna, and such books as the Theologia Germanica, The Cloud of Unknowing and The Imitation of Christ.

Moreover, there was the growth of groups of mystics centered around geographic regions: the Beguines, such as Mechthild of Magdeburg and Hadewijch (among others); the Rhineland mystics Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler and Henry Suso; and the English mystics Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton and Julian of Norwich. The Spanish mystics included Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Ignatius Loyola.

The later post-reformation period also saw the writings of lay visionaries such as Emanuel Swedenborg and William Blake, and the foundation of mystical movements such as the Quakers. Catholic mysticism continued into the modern period with such figures as Padre Pio and Thomas Merton.

The philokalia, an ancient method of Eastern Orthodox mysticism, was promoted by the twentieth century Traditionalist School. The allegedly inspired or "channeled" work A Course in Miracles represents a blending of non-denominational Christian and New Age ideas.

Western esotericism and modern spirituality

Main articles: Western esotericism, Spirituality, and New Age

Many western esoteric traditions and elements of modern spirituality have been regarded as "mysticism," such as Gnosticism, Transcendentalism, Theosophy, the Fourth Way,[64] and Neo-Paganism. Modern western spiritually and transpersonal psychology combine western psycho-therapeutic practices with religious practices like meditation to attain a lasting transformation. Nature mysticism is an intense experience of unification with nature or the cosmic totality, which was popular with Romantic writers.[65]

Jewish mysticism

Main articles: Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah

Portrait of Abraham Abulafia, Medieval Jewish mystic and founder of Prophetic Kabbalah.

In the common era, Judaism has had two main kinds of mysticism: Merkabah mysticism and Kabbalah. The former predated the latter, and was focused on visions, particularly those mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel. It gets its name from the Hebrew word meaning "chariot", a reference to Ezekiel's vision of a fiery chariot composed of heavenly beings.

Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal and mysterious Ein Sof (no end) and the mortal and finite universe (his creation). Inside Judaism, it forms the foundations of mystical religious interpretation.

Kabbalah originally developed entirely within the realm of Jewish thought. Kabbalists often use classical Jewish sources to explain and demonstrate its esoteric teachings. These teachings are thus held by followers in Judaism to define the inner meaning of both the Hebrew Bible and traditional Rabbinic literature, their formerly concealed transmitted dimension, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances.[66]

Kabbalah emerged, after earlier forms of Jewish mysticism, in 12th to 13th century Southern France and Spain, becoming reinterpreted in the Jewish mystical renaissance of 16th-century Ottoman Palestine. It was popularised in the form of Hasidic Judaism from the 18th century forward. 20th-century interest in Kabbalah has inspired cross-denominational Jewish renewal and contributed to wider non-Jewish contemporary spirituality, as well as engaging its flourishing emergence and historical re-emphasis through newly established academic investigation.

Islamic mysticism

Main article: Sufism

Sufism is said to be Islam's inner and mystical dimension.[67][68][69] Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as

[A] science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God.[70]

A practitioner of this tradition is nowadays known as a ṣūfī (صُوفِيّ), or, in earlier usage, a dervish. The origin of the word "Sufi" is ambiguous. One understanding is that Sufi means wool-wearer; wool wearers during early Islam were pious ascetics who withdrew from urban life. Another explanation of the word "Sufi" is that it means 'purity'.[71]

Sufis generally belong to a khalqa, a circle or group, led by a Sheikh or Murshid. Sufi circles usually belong to a Tariqa which is the Sufi order and each has a Silsila, which is the spiritual lineage, which traces its succession back to notable Sufis of the past, and often ultimately to the last prophet Muhammed or one of his close associates. The turuq (plural of tariqa) are not enclosed like Christian monastic orders; rather the members retain an outside life. Membership of a Sufi group often passes down family lines. Meetings may or may not be segregated according to the prevailing custom of the wider society. An existing Muslim faith is not always a requirement for entry, particularly in Western countries.

Mawlānā Rumi's tomb, Konya, Turkey

Sufi practice includes

• Dhikr, or remembrance (of God), which often takes the form of rhythmic chanting and breathing exercises.
• Sama, which takes the form of music and dance — the whirling dance of the Mevlevi dervishes is a form well known in the West.
• Muraqaba or meditation.
• Visiting holy places, particularly the tombs of Sufi saints, in order to remember death and the greatness of those who have passed.

The aims of Sufism include: the experience of ecstatic states (hal), purification of the heart (qalb), overcoming the lower self (nafs), extinction of the individual personality (fana), communion with God (haqiqa), and higher knowledge (marifat). Some sufic beliefs and practices have been found unorthodox by other Muslims; for instance Mansur al-Hallaj was put to death for blasphemy after uttering the phrase Ana'l Haqq, "I am the Truth" (i.e. God) in a trance.

Notable classical Sufis include Jalaluddin Rumi, Fariduddin Attar, Sultan Bahoo, Sayyed Sadique Ali Husaini, Saadi Shirazi and Hafez, all major poets in the Persian language. Omar Khayyam, Al-Ghazzali and Ibn Arabi were renowned scholars. Abdul Qadir Jilani, Moinuddin Chishti, and Bahauddin Naqshband founded major orders, as did Rumi. Rabia Basri was the most prominent female Sufi.

Sufism first came into contact with the Judeo-Christian world during the Moorish occupation of Spain. An interest in Sufism revived in non-Muslim countries during the modern era, led by such figures as Inayat Khan and Idries Shah (both in the UK), Rene Guenon (France) and Ivan Aguéli (Sweden). Sufism has also long been present in Asian countries that do not have a Muslim majority, such as India and China.[72]

Indian religions


Main article: Hinduism

In Hinduism, various sadhanas aim at overcoming ignorance (avidhya) and transcending the limited identification with body, mind and ego to attain moksha. Hinduism has a number of interlinked ascetic traditions and philosophical schools which aim at moksha[73] and the acquisition of higher powers.[74] With the onset of the British colonisation of India, those traditions came to be interpreted in western terms such as "mysticism", drawing equivalents with western terms and practices.[75]

Yoga is the physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which aim to attain a state of permanent peace.[76] Various traditions of yoga are found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.[77][78][79][78] The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali defines yoga as "the stilling of the changing states of the mind,"[80] which is attained in samadhi.

Classical Vedanta gives philosophical interpretations and commentaries of the Upanishads, a vast collection of ancient hymns. At least ten schools of Vedanta are known,[81] of which Advaita Vedanta, Vishishtadvaita, and Dvaita are the best known.[82] Advaita Vedanta, as expounded by Adi Shankara, states that there is no difference between Atman and Brahman. The best-known subschool is Kevala Vedanta or mayavada as expounded by Adi Shankara. Advaita Vedanta has acquired a broad acceptance in Indian culture and beyond as the paradigmatic example of Hindu spirituality.[83] In contrast Bhedabheda-Vedanta emphasizes that Atman and Brahman are both the same and not the same,[84] while Dvaita Vedanta states that Atman and God are fundamentally different.[84] In modern times, the Upanishads have been interpreted by Neo-Vedanta as being "mystical".[75]

Various Shaivist traditions are strongly nondualistic, such as Kashmir Shaivism and Shaiva Siddhanta.


Main article: Tantra

Tantra is the name given by scholars to a style of meditation and ritual which arose in India no later than the fifth century AD.[85] Tantra has influenced the Hindu, Bön, Buddhist, and Jain traditions and spread with Buddhism to East and Southeast Asia.[86] Tantric ritual seeks to access the supra-mundane through the mundane, identifying the microcosm with the macrocosm.[87] The Tantric aim is to sublimate (rather than negate) reality.[88] The Tantric practitioner seeks to use prana (energy flowing through the universe, including one's body) to attain goals which may be spiritual, material or both.[89] Tantric practice includes visualisation of deities, mantras and mandalas. It can also include sexual and other (antinomian) practices.[citation needed]

Sant-tradition and Sikhism

Main articles: Sant (religion), Nirguna Brahman, and Sikhism

Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana

Mysticism in the Sikh dharm began with its founder, Guru Nanak, who as a child had profound mystical experiences.[90] Guru Nanak stressed that God must be seen with 'the inward eye', or the 'heart', of a human being.[91] Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru, added religious mystics belonging to other religions into the holy scriptures that would eventually become the Guru Granth Sahib.

The goal of Sikhism is to be one with God.[92] Sikhs meditate as a means to progress towards enlightenment; it is devoted meditation simran that enables a sort of communication between the Infinite and finite human consciousness.[93] There is no concentration on the breath but chiefly the remembrance of God through the recitation of the name of God[94] and surrender themselves to God's presence often metaphorized as surrendering themselves to the Lord's feet.[95]


See also: Presectarian Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, and Subitism

According to Oliver, Buddhism is mystical in the sense that it aims at the identification of the true nature of our self, and live according to it.[96] Buddhism originated in India, sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, but is now mostly practiced in other countries, where it developed into a number of traditions, the main ones being Therevada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.

Buddhism aims at liberation from the cycle of rebirth by self-control through meditation and morally just behaviour. Some Buddhist paths aim at a gradual development and transformation of the personality toward Nirvana, like the Theravada stages of enlightenment. Others, like the Japanese Rinzai Zen tradition, emphasize sudden insight, but nevertheless also prescribe intensive training, including meditation and self-restraint.

Although Theravada does not acknowledge the existence of a theistic Absolute, it does postulate Nirvana as a transcendent reality which may be attained.[97][98] It further stresses transformation of the personality through meditative practice, self-restraint, and morally just behaviour.[97] According to Richard H. Jones, Theravada is a form of mindful extrovertive and introvertive mysticism, in which the conceptual structuring of experiences is weakened, and the ordinary sense of self is weakened.[99] It is best known in the west from the Vipassana movement, a number of branches of modern Theravāda Buddhism from Burma, Laos, Thailand and Sri Lanka, and includes contemporary American Buddhist teachers such as Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield.

The Yogacara school of Mahayana investigates the workings of the mind, stating that only the mind[100] (citta-mātra) or the representations we cognize (vijñapti-mātra),[101][note 20] really exist.[100][102][101] In later Buddhist Mahayana thought, which took an idealistic turn,[note 21] the unmodified mind came to be seen as a pure consciousness, from which everything arises.[note 22] Vijñapti-mātra, coupled with Buddha-nature or tathagatagarba, has been an influential concept in the subsequent development of Mahayana Buddhism, not only in India, but also in China and Tibet, most notable in the Chán (Zen) and Dzogchen traditions.

Chinese and Japanese Zen is grounded on the Chinese understanding of the Buddha-nature as one true's essence, and the Two truths doctrine as a polarity between relative and Absolute reality.[105][106] Zen aims at insight one's true nature, or Buddha-nature, thereby manifesting Absolute reality in the relative reality.[107] In Soto, this Buddha-nature is regarded to be ever-present, and shikan-taza, sitting meditation, is the expression of the already existing Buddhahood.[106] Rinzai-zen emphasises the need for a break-through insight in this Buddha-nature,[106] but also stresses that further practice is needed to deepen the insight and to express it in daily life,[108][109][110][111] as expressed in the Three mysterious Gates, the Four Ways of Knowing of Hakuin,[112] and the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures.[113] The Japanese Zen-scholar D.T. Suzuki noted similarities between Zen-Buddhism and Christian mysticism, especially meister Eckhart.[114]

The Tibetan Vajrayana tradition is based on Madhyamaka philosophy and Tantra.[115] In deity yoga, visualizations of deities are eventually dissolved, to realize the inherent emptiness of every-'thing' that exists.[116] Dzogchen, which is being taught in both the Tibetan buddhist Nyingma school and the Bön tradition,[117][118] focuses on direct insight into our real nature. It holds that "mind-nature" is manifested when one is enlightened,[119] being nonconceptually aware (rigpa, "open presence") of one's nature,[117] "a recognition of one's beginningless nature."[120] Mahamudra has similarities with Dzogchen, emphasizing the meditational approach to insight and liberation.


Main article: Taoism

Taoist philosophy is centered on the Tao, usually translated "Way", an ineffable cosmic principle. The contrasting yet interdependent concepts of yin and yang also symbolise harmony, with Taoist scriptures often emphasing the Yin virtues of femininity, passivity and yieldingness.[121] Taoist practice includes exercises and rituals aimed at manipulating the life force Qi, and obtaining health and longevity.[note 23] These have been elaborated into practices such as Tai chi, which are well known in the west.

The Secularization of Mysticism

See also: New Age

Today there is also occurring in the West what Richard Jones calls "the secularization of mysticism".[122] That is the separation of meditation and other mystical practices from their traditional use in religious ways of life to only secular ends of purported psychological and physiological benefits.

Scholarly approaches of mysticism and mystical experience

Main article: Scholarly approaches of mysticism

Types of mysticism

R. C. Zaehner distinguishes three fundamental types of mysticism, namely theistic, monistic and panenhenic ("all-in-one") or natural mysticism.[4] The theistic category includes most forms of Jewish, Christian and Islamic mysticism and occasional Hindu examples such as Ramanuja and the Bhagavad Gita.[4] The monistic type, which according to Zaehner is based upon an experience of the unity of one's soul,[4][note 24] includes Buddhism and Hindu schools such as Samkhya and Advaita vedanta.[4] Nature mysticism seems to refer to examples that do not fit into one of these two categories.[4]

Walter Terence Stace, in his book Mysticism and Philosophy (1960), distinguished two types of mystical experience, namely extrovertive and introvertive mysticism.[123][4][124] Extrovertive mysticism is an experience of the unity of the external world, whereas introvertive mysticism is "an experience of unity devoid of perceptual objects; it is literally an experience of 'no-thing-ness'."[124] The unity in extrovertive mysticism is with the totality of objects of perception. While perception stays continuous, “unity shines through the same world”; the unity in introvertive mysticism is with a pure consciousness, devoid of objects of perception,[125] “pure unitary consciousness, wherein awareness of the world and of multiplicity is completely obliterated.”[126] According to Stace such experiences are nonsensous and nonintellectual, under a total “suppression of the whole empirical content.”[127]

Stace argues that doctrinal differences between religious traditions are inappropriate criteria when making cross-cultural comparisons of mystical experiences.[4] Stace argues that mysticism is part of the process of perception, not interpretation, that is to say that the unity of mystical experiences is perceived, and only afterwards interpreted according to the perceiver's background. This may result in different accounts of the same phenomenon. While an atheist describes the unity as “freed from empirical filling”, a religious person might describe it as “God” or “the Divine”.[128]

Mystical experiences

Since the 19th century, mystical experience has evolved as a distinctive concept. It is closely related to "mysticism" but lays sole emphasis on the experiential aspect, be it spontaneous or induced by human behavior, whereas mysticism encompasses a broad range of practices aiming at a transformation of the person, not just inducing mystical experiences.

William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience is the classic study on religious or mystical experience, which influenced deeply both the academic and popular understanding of "religious experience".[18][19][20][web 2] He popularized the use of the term "religious experience"[note 25] in his "Varieties",[18][19][web 2] and influenced the understanding of mysticism as a distinctive experience which supplies knowledge of the transcendental:[20][web 2]

Under the influence of William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience, heavily centered on people's conversion experiences, most philosophers' interest in mysticism has been in distinctive, allegedly knowledge-granting "mystical experiences.""[web 2]

Yet, Gelman notes that so-called mystical experience is not a transitional event, as William James claimed, but an "abiding consciousness, accompanying a person throughout the day, or parts of it. For that reason, it might be better to speak of mystical consciousness, which can be either fleeting or abiding."[web 2]

Most mystical traditions warn against an attachment to mystical experiences, and offer a "protective and hermeneutic framework" to accommodate these experiences.[129] These same traditions offer the means to induce mystical experiences,[129] which may have several origins:

• Spontaneous; either apparently without any cause, or by persistent existential concerns, or by neurophysiological origins;
• Religious practices, such as contemplation, meditation, and mantra-repetition;
• Entheogens (psychedelic drugs)
• Neurophysiological origins, such as temporal lobe epilepsy.

The theoretical study of mystical experience has shifted from an experiential, privatized and perennialist approach to a contextual and empirical approach.[129] The experientalist approach sees mystical experience as a private expression of perennial truths, separate from its historical and cultural context. The contextual approach, which also includes constructionism and attribution theory, takes into account the historical and cultural context.[129][29][web 2] Neurological research takes an empirical approach, relating mystical experiences to neurological processes.

Perennialism versus constructionism

The term "mystical experience" evolved as a distinctive concept since the 19th century, laying sole emphasis on the experiential aspect, be it spontaneous or induced by human behavior. Perennialists regard those various experience traditions as pointing to one universal transcendental reality, for which those experiences offer the proof. In this approach, mystical experiences are privatised, separated from the context in which they emerge.[129] Well-known representatives are William James, R.C. Zaehner, William Stace and Robert Forman.[7] The perennial position is "largely dismissed by scholars",[6] but "has lost none of its popularity."[130]

In contrast, for the past decades most scholars have favored a constructionist approach, which states that mystical experiences are fully constructed by the ideas, symbols and practices that mystics are familiar with.[7] Critics of the term "religious experience" note that the notion of "religious experience" or "mystical experience" as marking insight into religious truth is a modern development,[131] and contemporary researchers of mysticism note that mystical experiences are shaped by the concepts "which the mystic brings to, and which shape, his experience".[132] What is being experienced is being determined by the expectations and the conceptual background of the mystic.[133]

Richard Jones draws a distinction between "anticonstructivism" and "perennialism": constructivism can be rejected with respect to a certain class of mystical experiences without ascribing to a perennialist philosophy on the relation of mystical doctrines.[134] One can reject constructivism without claiming that mystical experiences reveal a cross-cultural "perennial truth". For example, a Christian can reject both constructivism and perennialism in arguing that there is a union with God free of cultural construction. Constructivism versus anticonstructivism is a matter of the nature of mystical experiences while perennialism is a matter of mystical traditions and the doctrines they espouse.

Contextualism and attribution theory

Main articles: Attribution (psychology) and Neurotheology

The perennial position is now "largely dismissed by scholars",[6] and the contextual approach has become the common approach.[129] Contextualism takes into account the historical and cultural context of mystical experiences.[129] The attribution approach views "mystical experience" as non-ordinary states of consciousness which are explained in a religious framework.[29] According to Proudfoot, mystics unconsciously merely attribute a doctrinal content to ordinary experiences. That is, mystics project cognitive content onto otherwise ordinary experiences having a strong emotional impact.[135][29] This approach has been further elaborated by Ann Taves, in her Religious Experience Reconsidered. She incorporates both neurological and cultural approaches in the study of mystical experience.
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