Transcendentalism, a movement of the 1830s-40s, was the counterculture of its day. Rather than a coherent philosophy, it was known by what was protested such as: the pervading Christian emphasis on original sin, society's demand for conformity, the position of women, rigid educational systems and the institution of slavery. The transcendentalists believed in the importance of individual conscience.
The basic counter-cultural impulses can be seen in the early years of the 21st century. People are beginning to explore old and new ideas about self-sufficiency, sustainable living, ecological concerns, a desire for harmony with the natural environment and exploration of new age philosophies and religions. The concerns of the time may have changed, but the push back against societal conformity remains the same.
Popular transcendentalists included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Margaret Fuller and many ministers, Unitarians, and social reformers. A movement of mostly New Englanders around Boston, the transcendentalists strove to change their society.