It is because American and America were empty reflections of each other. It seemed to be a tussle of who define whom between individual and nation (McWilliams 6).
Henry David Thoreau was a disciple of Emerson and he followed Emerson like no one. His experiment Walden allowed him to manifest Adam. He represented deliberate living and rejected traditional ideas and historical Christianity. He separated himself from the corruption that is believed to be in the roots of 19th century New England. He rediscovered American Adam and the values that he holds important by challenging the old and strongly held beliefs. His masterpiece, Walden is a wakeup call to recover and maintain American Adam’s innocence by genuine self-reflection and exploring human nature and of wilderness. It starts with the restrictions imposed on personal freedom and ends with the new and promising future that is waiting for new American (Keenan 37-38).
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau represented American as optimistic innocent who is an authentic man. The figure as Emerson referred, “the plain old Adam, the simple genuine self against the whole world” (Qtd. in Keenan 37).He is unconventional and free from past limitations. He values future and optimistic. An American is focused on future and believes in the promise of new America. Innocence is subjected to vulnerability and it changes with experiences as it is with American Adam. Emerson briefly touches this confrontation in terms of “party of Hope” and the “party of Memory,” and advocated the former quite enthusiastically. According to his belief, America is a new beginning for men that show a bright future because of an optimistic present. Americans, most notably, are free from past sins. The term ‘sin’ does not denote spiritual burden from past but it is a term that is subjective (Keenan 37).
Benjamin Franklin was considered to the “Founding Father” and a model of national character for