Transcendentalism was a movement of 19th century American thought, associated especially with Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), Henry David Thoreau (1817-62), and subsequent liberal and Romantic thinkers. Their vision was stretched toward universalism by a vision of the Transcendent, which Emerson called the “unbounded, unboundable empire” underlying the whole universe which is, at the same time, the “one soul which animates all men.” Some would argue that this thinking came from their encounter with the sacred books of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions.