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Henry David Thoreau
Date: 1817–1862
Remarks: A famous transcendentalist, Thoreau practiced his theories of individual thought and freedom from materialism. He lived for two years on Walden pond and wrote his most famous work 'Walden' about his time there. A graduate of Harvard, Thoreau became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson, another transcendentalist. After a night in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax to support the Mexican-American War, Thoreau wrote the essay 'Civil Disobedience.' This work became very influential in future freedom movements. Thoreau was also a vocal abolitionist, refusing to pay the poll tax because he believed that the war in Mexico was an opportunity to expand slavery.