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Emerson, Ralph Waldo

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A nineteenth-century American lecturer and author; a leader of transcendentalism. In his essaySelf-Reliance” and in other works, Emerson stressed the importance of the individual and encouraged people to rely on their own judgment.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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