American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher, best-known for his autobiographical story of life in the woods, WALDEN (1854). Thoreau became one of the leading personalities in New England Transcendentalism. He wrote tirelessly but earned from his books and journalism little. Thoreau's CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE (1849) influenced Gandhi in his passive resistance campaigns, Martin Luther King, Jr., and at one time the politics of the British Labour Party. Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts, which was center of his life, although he spent several years in his childhood in the neighboring towns and later elsewhere. He died of tuberculosis, and he is buried in his family's plot near the graves of his friends Hawthorne, Alcott, Emerson, and Channing on Author's Ridge in Concord's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
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