Ralph Waldo Emerson was a 19th century American essayist, poet and leader in the transcendentalist movement. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid 1800s. Emerson published his first essay, Nature in 1836. After writing this essay Emerson gave a speech entitled The American Scholar in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes called America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence." Essays in this collection include The American Scholar, Compensation, Self Reliance, Friendship, Heroism, Manners, Gifts, Nature, Shakespeare or the Poet, Prudence, and Circles.