Photograph by Polly M.
Experiments with Utopia The town of Amana, Iowa operated as a communal society for 89 years.
Most of the settlers were immigrants who had left Germany in and came to Iowa in As 19th century America grew larger, richer, and more diverse, it was also trying to achieve a culture that was distinct and not imitative of any in Europe.
At the same time, the thirst for individual improvement had local communities creating debating clubs, library societies, and literary associations for the purpose of sharing interesting and provocative ideas.
Maybe, people speculated, if any society were completely reorganized, it could be regenerated and, ultimately, perfected.
Utopia, originally a Greek word for an imaginary place where everyone and everything is perfect, was sought in America through the creation of model communities within the greater society. The Shakers believed in celibacy in and outside of wedlock, therefore Shaker children were usually orphans given to the church.
Most of the original utopias were created for religious purposes. One of the earliest was devised by George Rapp, a German zealot, who took followers to western Pennsylvania in Using shared funds to purchase land, the Rappites created a commune where they isolated themselves from others while waiting for the Revelation.
The Second Great Awakening exerted a lasting impact on American society, more than any other revival. While its fervor abated, it left a legacy of many established churches, democratization and social reform. While great differences existed between the various utopian communities or colonies, each society shared a common bond in a vision of communal living in a utopian society. Democracy in America: & "The Social Influence of Democracy" is covered in "Democracy In America," the second of two related books by Alexis de Tocqueville on the results of the U.S. experiment with democracy almost a half century after the Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown. The author acknowledges the vastness of the subject, and candidly .
Because of their extreme views on sex and marriage, and their strict, literal interpretation of the Bible, they failed to spread goodwill or gain converts. More hospitable to their neighbors and able to attract about 6, members by the s, twenty successful Shaker communities flourished. They followed the principles of simplicity, celibacy, common property, equal labor and reward espoused by their founder Mother Ann Lee.
Courtesy of the Longman History Place Religious and Utopian communities dotted the countryside during the s. The founders of Brook Farm tried to create a society of equality for its members. Gradually, utopian communities came to reflect social perfectibility rather than religious purity.
Robert Owen, for example, believed in economic and political equality. Those principles, plus the absence of a particular religious creed, were the founding principles of his New Harmony, Indiana, cooperative that lasted for only two years before economic failure.
Charles Fourier, a French reformer and philosopher, set out the goal of social harmony through voluntary "phalanxes" that would be free of government interference and ultimately arise, unite and become a universal perfect society.
Oneidans experimented with group marriage, communal child rearing, group discipline, and attempts to improve the genetic composition of their offspring.
Self-reliance, optimism, individualism and a disregard for external authority and tradition characterized one of the most famous of all the American communal experiments.
Brook Farm, near Roxbury, Massachusetts, was founded to promote human culture and brotherly cooperation. It was supposed to bestow the highest benefits of intellectual, physical, and moral education to all its members. However, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote about his stay here in The Blithedale Romance, left this utopia disillusioned.
Finally, it was romantic thinker and strict vegetarian Bronson Alcott, father of author Louisa May Alcott, who devoted himself to tilling the soil at Fruitlands from June to January in the hope that love, education, and mutual labor would bring him and his small following peace.
He was later ridiculed as "a man bent on saving the world by a return to acorns.
The belief that man was "naturally" good and that human institutions were perfectible had raised tremendous expectations about the possibilities of reform and renewal.
These experiments ultimately disintegrated but, for a while, tried to be ideal places where a brotherhood of followers shared equally in the goods of their labor and lived in peace.
It seemed that within the great American experiment, searching for utopia required only the commitment of people who found it easy to believe that nothing was impossible. Hancock Shaker Village Hancock Shaker Village is now a historic site that interprets the lives of the men and women who lived in the community from to This website offers background information on the Shakers in general and this community in particular.
So, out of every twelve persons only one is a Protestant. Are you quite sure that the one is right and the eleven wrong? Read about Robert Owen in this biography that includes some information about the utopian community, links to related sites, and an image of the reformer.
This community has been active since its founding inand with a website of their own they are ready to enter the 21st century. The Oneida Community This insightful article explores the origins of the Oneida community in New York, based on the radical religious doctrines advanced by its founder John Humphrey Noyes.
It also looks at the reasons the community received so much criticism from the wider community and ultimately failed as a utopia.So the second reason that utopian societies implode is that that the very definition of utopianism is perfection, but perfection can only ever contain, mean, hold one value, in America’s case “freedom”, in the Soviet Union’s case “equality” — and so they grow incapable of thought, growth, or development.
Second Great Awakening Influence On Democracy Impact of the Second Great Awakening in Modern-Day Society The Second Great Awakening laid the foundations of the development of present-day religious beliefs and establishments, The First Great Awakening in America - George Whitefield As Whitefield arrived in America.
Democracy in America ( & ). “The whole society seems to have turned into one middle class.” There were fewer distinctions between . Democracy in America: & "The Social Influence of Democracy" is covered in "Democracy In America," the second of two related books by Alexis de Tocqueville on the results of the U.S.
experiment with democracy almost a half century after the Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown. The author acknowledges the vastness of the subject, and candidly . Founding Fathers embraced the liberal doctrines of Deism that Paine promoted; Christian religion still had great influence over the souls of men in America.
American Traditional Politics: Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville Words 5 Pages The backbone to the American way of life that numerous generations have come to grow and love is based upon the principle that no matter your stature, no matter your beliefs, no matter your positioning, everyone is equal and posses the .