This lesson prepares the instructor--even at the college level--to teach Emerson. It provides important context, explanations, and glosses of Emerson's dense but famous essay. Emerson's work is challenging for students, even at the college level, because his writing does not appear to be transparent or follow the form of a logical, traditional argument. This lesson provides openings and important instruction into how to approach AND understand Emerson. It is designed in such a way that students (and professors/teachers) have the tools they need to engage with his philosophical ideas, as well as with his style and rhetoric. Indeed, this lesson makes Emerson relevant by requiring students to consider and then respond to the basic tenets of "Self-Reliance." The nod to Twitter in the activity is creative and fun. My only suggestion would be to consider in what ways Emerson and his ideas and work have come to occupy a hallowed space in American culture and the American literary imagination.
Emerson’s overwhelming faith in the individual is completely opposite to his views on nations: “Every actual state is corrupt.” Political parties are “made out of necessity” of the time period and not out of any underlying theory. Emerson is very critical of both major parties in his essay.  “From neither party, when in power, has the world any benefit to expect in science, art or humanity, at all commensurate with the resources of the nation.” Neither party is satisfactory for Emerson, and his essay he hints at the natural inequality this system adheres to, and its effects. Party politics are not the only organization Emerson has his eye on in his essay, however. Emerson also distrusts the pulpit and the press because they are conventional roles that require organizational persuasion.