The history of the Law of Attraction began, supposedly, when the Universe was created. It was first mentioned in works from writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Haanel. However, its true origins are a bit of a mystery.
The idea that like attracts like is a concept that has existed perhaps for hundreds or even thousands of years. There are suggestions toward something like the Law of Attraction that can be found in certain verses in the Bible, but the first actual use of the term was found in Helen Blatvatsky’s book, Isis Unveiled. The book was first published in 1887 and first mentioned the term Law of Attraction, and another author that has mentioned ideas similar to the Law of Attraction is Wallace D. Wattles, who wrote the famous book The Science of Getting Rich.
Some of the most influential books on personal development such as The Science of Getting Rich, The Master Key System, and Think an Grow Rich have described the ideas of the Law of Attraction. Wallace D. Wattle wrote The Science of Getting Rich which includes many of the ideas that would later be found in modern books like The Secret. The book describes how "thinking in the Certain Way" creates a state of self-affirmation and positivity which lead to success.
The "New Thought" or "New Age" philosophy of the Law of Attraction that focused on the power of positive thinking, a belief in the power of the will, and self-mastery, were also thought to be the result of 19th century ideas like Transcendentalism. Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most famous transcendentalists, and he and others believed in the power of the human will and that people were at their best when they were self-reliant and independent. They also believed that many societal organizations like political parties and religious peers can cause more harm than good and hold people back from their true potential.
Like many modern New Age concepts, the history of the Law of Attraction is certainly not completely original. The modern version that has been presented is still substantially different from some of the 19th and 20th century movements and ideas that built the foundation for it. In general, the modern Law of Attraction was shaped by several different historic ideas, and probably has borrowed a bit from different cultural movements in history and ideas of like-minded authors. The Law of Attraction in modern times is focused more on how thought processes influence a person’s actions, opportunities, behavior, health, and their overall chance of attaining success.