Transcendental Generation

From Academic Kids

The Transcendental Generation is the name given by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book Generations for that generation of Americans born from 1792 to 1821. The proud offspring of a secular new nation, this generation included the first children to be portraited (and named at birth) as individuals. Coming of age as evangelists, reformers, and campus rioters, they triggered the Second Great Awakening, a spiritual paroxysm across the nation. As crusading young adults, their divergent inner visions exacerbated sectional divisions. Entering midlife, graying abolitionists and Southerners spurned compromise and led the nation into the American Civil War, their zeal fired by the moral pronouncements of an aging clergy. The victors achieved emancipation but were blocked from imposing a peace as punishing as the old radicals would like to have wished. In elderhood, their feminists and poets (many with flowing beards) became unyielding expositors of truth and justice.

The Transcendentals' typical grandparents were of the Liberty Generation. Their parents were of the Republican Generation and Compromise Generation. Their children were of the Gilded Generation and Progressive Generation and their typical grandchildren were of the Missionary Generation.

Altogether, there were about 11 million Americans born from 1792 to 1821. 20 percent were immigrants and 13 percent were slaves at any point in their lives.

Sample Transcendentals with birth and death dates as this generation is fully ancestral include the following:

The Transcendentals had five U.S. Presidents:

The Transcendentals held a plurality in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1835 to 1869, a plurality in the U.S. Senate from 1841 to 1873, and the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1861 to 1889.

Prominent non-U.S. peers of the Transcendentals include Thomas Carlyle, Benjamin Disraeli, Alexis de Tocqueville, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Karl Marx, Benito Juárez, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Sample cultural endowments of the Transcendentals include the following:

see also: Transcendentalism


Preceded by:
Compromise Generation
1767–1791
Transcendental Generation
1792–1821
Succeeded by:
Gilded Generation
1822–1842
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