Both Emerson and Thoreau were for emancipation and against slavery. According to the novel March, by Geraldine Brooks, Emerson was "passionately eloquent" on the subject and did not mind taking credit for creating change. Thoreau was more modest in his role in the emancipation of slavery. Early in the novel, at a dinner hosted by Thoreau, Emerson is attacked by Miss Day (Marmee) for not doing enough to help the black man. Emerson regards Marmee as reckless in her involvement in the Underground Railroad. Emerson's own solution can be seen in this quote:
. . .wherever I hear the black man spoken ill of, or whenever I see a Negro person mistreated, I always feel obliged to speak in his behalf. More than that I do not think it is presently in my power to do.