Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
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The paths by which people journey toward happiness lie in part through the world about them and in part through the experience of their souls. On the one hand, there is the happiness which comes from wealth, honor, the enjoyment of life, from health, culture, science, or art; and, on the other hand, there is the happiness which is to be found in a good conscience, in virtue, work, philanthropy, religion, devotion to great ideas and great deeds.