Posts Tagged ‘Henry David Thoreau’

Founding Fathers

February 4, 2010

I’ve been reading a book called The Simple Life: Plain Living and High Thinking in American Culture by David Shi. It’s an overview of some of the movements in American history that have resisted materialism and striven to live a more meaningful life. I haven’t read much American history. I never find it absorbing. I keep wanting to like Jefferson, but invariably end up indifferent to him. As far as I can tell, all the Founding Fathers had an aristocratic mentality. Their main concern was for the privileged. They come off as pedantic stuffed-shirts obsessed with commerce. None of them seemed to have recognized the horror that the country was perpetrating on the Native Americans, which says to me that, morally speaking, they were deficient. None of the early American movements are of any interest to me until the Transcendentalists and Walt Whitman. They’re the first Americans whose approach and beliefs I’m able to relate to at all. Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, and company were the founding fathers of the America I would like to live in.

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