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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Brief Bio: American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century

Lived: 1803-1882

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“A foolish consistency”

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

From the essay “Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson”

— 1841

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“Finish every day and be done with it”

Finish every day and be done with it. For manners and for wise living it is a vice to remember. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in: forget them as fast as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day for all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays.

From the letter “To Daughter Ellen”

— 8 Apr 1854

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“The time-worn yoke of their opinions”

He who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from travelling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions.

From the essay “The Conduct of Life”

— 1860

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