"Among those who give Thoreau credit for shaping their own thought were John Muir, who originated the modern environmental preservation movement; Theodore Roosevelt, who helped make preservation a function of the national government; and Rachel Carson, whose own writing helped form the modern conception of environment; Mahatma Gandhi; and Dr. Martin Luther King, linking Thoreau to the formation of the modern states of South Africa, India, and Pakistan, and the American Civil Rights movement."
A peek into Thoreau's transcendentalist philosophy and social critique. His life in the woods wasn't just a silly experiment; he wanted to show people how chasing after the trivialities of life -- comfort, material things, etc. -- isn't satisfying. Life is meant for more.
Thoreau was born at this Minott House on Virginia Road on July 12, 1817. "Although he lived on the farm for only a short time, it provided both inspiration and subject matter for his writings. ...The picture they draw of life on Virginia Road provides a glimpse into early 19th-century Concord farm life as well as into the mind of Thoreau." (Thoreau Farm blog)
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, how ever measured or far away." (Walden-- Where I Lived, and What I Lived For)