Ralph Waldo Emerson in Manifest Destiny & Mexican-American War
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was a prominent lecturer, poet, and essayist. He was a mentor and friend to Henry David Thoreau. Known as the "Sage of Concord" for his place of residence in Massachusetts, Emerson was a major literary figure and an important spokesman for transcendentalist philosophy, the New England movement that flourished until the Civil War, primarily among intellectuals. Transcendentalism was in part a reaction against Unitarian Church orthodoxy.
Emerson proved prophetic when he wrote that America's swallowing up of over half of Mexico would be analogous to a man who swallows arsenic, "which brings him down in turn. Mexico will poison us."1 He was openly against the war and thought that the spectacle of it all had sucked the country into a dangerous state of delirium.