On July 12, 1817, writer, philosopher, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau helped found Transcendentalism, a philosophical movement that championed individuality and questioned the authority of organized religion and political parties. Thoreau was also a passionate abolitionist whose theory of civil disobedience had a profound influence on 20th-century reformers such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thoreau’s memoir Walden is his most famous publication. Chronicling Thoreau’s two years in a cabin just outside Concord, Walden became a foundation for modern environmentalism and sustainable living.

abolitionist
Noun

person who opposes slavery.

authority
Noun

person or organization responsible for making decisions.

authority
Noun

person or organization responsible for making decisions.

cabin
Noun

area in a vehicle where crew or passengers live.

influence
Verb

to encourage or persuade a person or organization to act a certain way.

memoir
Noun

autobiography, or an account of a person's life written by that person.

profound
Adjective

powerful or insightful.

religion
Noun

a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.