Examine the European influences on American thought and literature in the eighteenth century.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one can find the presence of European thought in the American intellectual movement of Transcendentalism.  The presence of Romanticism in Europe was strongly evident in the American Transcendentalists.  The ideas of asserting one's own individuality, breaking away from social conformity, and asserting the role of emotions in consciousness are all European constructs that took hold in America.  The Romantic tradition was present in how the Transcendentalists viewed their ideas and how they should be applied in America.  Some have argued that Transcendentalism was nothing more than an "American outgrowth of Romanticism."  This helps to bring to light an example of how European intellectual traditions influenced American thought and literature.