New Thought

(redirected from New Thought Movement)
Also found in: Dictionary.

New Thought,

popular philosophical movement with religious implications; it affirms "the creative power of constructive thinking." A successor of New England transcendentalismtranscendentalism
[Lat.,=overpassing], in literature, philosophical and literary movement that flourished in New England from about 1836 to 1860. It originated among a small group of intellectuals who were reacting against the orthodoxy of Calvinism and the rationalism of the
..... Click the link for more information.
, New Thought grew out of the healing practices of P. P. Quimby and the "mental science" of W. F. Evans, a Swedenborgian minister. From its initial emphasis on the healing of disease it developed into an intensely individualistic and optimistic philosophy of life and conduct. The name was adopted in the 1890s to indicate this broader interest. Annual national conventions were held from 1894, and in 1914 the International New Thought Alliance was formed, with branches in England, Australia, and elsewhere. Composed of many smaller groups, such as Divine Science, UnityUnity,
religious movement incorporated as the Unity School of Christianity, with headquarters at Lee's Summit, Mo. Although the movement used the name Unity after 1891, it was founded earlier by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore as a spiritual healing movement, with affinity to
..... Click the link for more information.
 (until 1922), and Home of Truth, the alliance is held together by one central teaching, namely, that people through the constructive use of their minds can attain freedom, power, health, prosperity, and all good, molding their bodies as well as the circumstances of their lives. The doctrine was widely popularized by such writers as O. S. Marden and Ralph Waldo Trine, especially in the latter's In Tune with the Infinite (1897). Beyond this unifying principle of the constructive power of the mind and the prevailing optimism of the movement, there are a great variety of diverse and often mutually contradictory ideas in New Thought. Individual New Thought leaders have employed concepts from every variety of idealistic, spiritualistic, pantheistic, kabbalistic, and theosophical thought, as well as from Christianity. There are also frequent overtones of the mystical and occult in New Thought literature.


See H. W. Dresser, A History of the New Thought Movement (1919); C. S. Braden, Spirits in Rebellion: The Rise and Development of New Thought (1963); M. A. Larson, New Thought or a Modern Religious Approach (1985).

References in periodicals archive ?
Kelly's study of middle-class provincial New England women and Beryl Satter's book on the New Thought Movement and its female leaders seem to have little in common except the subject of women's history.
Beryl examines the development of the New Thought Movement in the period 1875 to 1920, when the destructive nature of capitalism, manifested in labor unrest and growing social and economic inequalities, threatened middle-class, Anglo Saxon society.
Satter has written a thoroughly-researched intellectual and cultural history of the New Thought Movement from 1875 to 1920, detailing the development of the movement before it became associated with pop psychology, the "power of positive thinking," and crass materialism.
racialized evolutionary discourse about gender" (12) that the New Thought Movement flourished.
Out of that freedom of expression came the New Thought movement, a uniquely American tradition started in the mid-1800s.
The Religious Science Church was founded in Los Angeles in 1927 by a believer in the New Thought movement of the late 1800s, Ernest Holmes.