Walt Whitman

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What are Whitman's leading ideas in the 1856 letter to Emerson?

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I think that one of the most leading ideas that emerges from Whitman's letter is his passionate belief in Emerson's notion of a defining American literary tradition emerging.  Whitman believes in this and wishes to share it with Emerson, one he calls "Master."  Consider one of the closing parts to this letter:

Of course, we shall have a national character, an identity. As it ought to be, and as soon as it ought to be, it will be. That, with much else, takes care of itself, is a result, and the cause of greater results. ....Such character is the brain and spine to all, including...

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