Transcendentalists believe individuals perform at their best when they are independent and rely only on themselves. They believe that society and its institutions debase the purity of the individual. Many of their beliefs and values can be found in "The Transcendentalist" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Transcendentalism movement was both philosophical and literary. Many of its leaders were great literary authors such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. To this day, Transcendentalism still influences American political and cultural views.
Transcendentalists embrace spirituality and focus on achieving a pure life. Many of their values are shared with other beliefs such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Transcendentalists believe that there is a power that governs society and its establishments. Although the identity of this higher power is unclear, they believe this natural law to be absolute. The pure lifestyle involves doing away with corporate-created society, and its adherents avoid actions such as purchasing excess items and valuing the superficial in order to be happy.
This lifestyle certainly clashes with many modern values, but it is evident why Transcendentalism still exists. Transcendentalists disagree with many of the current values of America because they believe that everyone has an individual purpose to serve rather than a corporate one.