Photograph by Polly M. Rettig, Landmark Review Project, The Shakers were one of many groups establishing utopian colonies on American soil during the 18th and 19th centuries. There were hundreds of communal utopian experiments in the early United States, and the Shakers alone founded around 20 settlements.
Although they date to the earliest days of U. Various groups, struggling under the pressures of urbanization and industrialization, challenged the traditional norms and social conservatism of American society. Their desire to create a perfect world often lay in sharp contradiction to the world in which they lived, one in which capitalism, the Industrial Revolutionimmigration, and the tension between the individual and the community challenged older forms of living.
There the residents established a socialist community in which everyone was to share equally in labor and profit.
Just months after the creation of a constitution in Januarythe thousand residents at New Harmony divided into sub-communities that then disintegrated into chaos. Wright had hoped to demonstrate that free labor was more economical than slavery, but Nashoba attracted few settlers, and the community closed its doors within a year.
Transcendentalist Influence Transcendentalists of the s believed that the true path lay in the perfection of the individual, instead of reform of the larger society.
The individualistic quality of transcendentalism gave it a more spiritual than social quality, one that also influenced later Utopian movements. Many of the figures of transcendentalism embraced the liberating qualities of individualism, making man free of the social, religious, and family restrictions of the past.
For transcendentalists, a higher reality lay behind that afforded by the senses; a reality in which people could understand truth and eternity. To reach that world, humankind had to transcend the concrete world of the senses in favor of a more mystical definition of nature.
To escape the modern world, transcendentalists fled into model Utopian communities. The most important of these communities was Brook Farmestablished in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, in Residents hoped to free themselves from the competition of the capitalist world so as to work as little as possible, all the while enjoying the fruits of high culture.
Unlike their European counterparts, American transcendentalists embraced the quest for a higher moral law. Far from a simple rejection of American society, the creators of Brook Farmchiefamong them George Ripleya Unitarian minister from Boston, wanted to create an alternative to the capitalist state, to found a new "city on a hill.
While the cultural life of Brook Farm blossomed, management of its practical matters languished. After a serious fire inthe farm was sold in and the society dissolved. Not long after the failure of Brook Farm, another transcendentalist community was established at Fruit-lands, Massachusetts.
The residents of Fruitlands, originally organized in by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane, rejected the market economy and chose a life of subsistence agriculture.
But Fruitlands attracted the eccentric more than the genuinely alienated, including a number of "body purists"—one of whom advocated nude moonbathing. As a group, they rejected clothing made of cotton as it was manufactured by slave labor and that made of wool as it was taken from sheep without their consentas well as root vegetables and all animal food products in favor of fruit and corn meal.
As in later Utopian experiments, women failed to enjoy the full benefits of the cooperative society. Instead, as Abigail Alcott noted, women did most of the work while the men passed the day in deep conversation.
The colony lasted only through the end of and was eventually sold at auction, with Lane jailed for nonpayment of taxes. As Brook Farm and Fruitlands dissolved, converts to the ideas of Charles Fourier in the United States grew to take the place of the transcendentalists.
Fourierists believed that small, highly organized communities or phalanxes would allow residents to perfectly develop their talents and inclinations, free from the influence of traditional capitalist society.
The standard phalanx consisted of 1, people living in common dwellings and working in their natural trades. In America, Arthur Brisbane became the chiefadvocate of phalanxes, hoping that they would complete what, to him, was the unfinished Revolution of by ending wage slavery.
By the s, Brisbane and his disciples had founded more than one hundred phalanxes across the country, from New York to Texas.
Although most of these communities failed in short order, their existence underscored the general dissatisfaction some workers felt with industrialization and the triumph of the capitalist order. Other mid-nineteenth century Utopian experiments found some success by organizing themselves around a religious principle or charismatic leader.
The Shakers, whose origins dated to the visions of Ann Lee Stanley during the American Revolutionbelieved that mankind suffered due to the lust of Adam and Eve. Mother Ann favored celibacy as the path to perfection.
She and a small group of followers founded a church outside of Albany, New Yorkinwhere they became known as "Shaking Quakers," or Shakers.Brook Farm A transcendentalist Utopian experiment, put into practice by transcendentalist former Unitarian minister George Ripley at a farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, at .
history ch STUDY. The utopian socialist community at New Harmony, Indiana, was founded by A) Robert Owen. B) Charles Fourier.
C) the Shakers. Utopian communities established in early 19th century America included each of the following EXCEPT A) Brook Farm.
B) Oneida. The Utopian Experiment of Utopian Community Brook Farm - Have you ever dreamed of a community so perfect where you could live, work, and go to school on a daily basis. A community filled with so much happiness and peace among the society.
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analysis, and to provide opportunities for students to strengthen their speaking and writing skills. Twelve Months in New Harmony (), (LINK) “The Antecedents of Brook Farm,” New England Quarterly (), Brook Farm () by George Ripley a utopian community founded in Massachusetts, by twenty transcendentalist intellectuals.
this community failed when fire engulfed an almost completed building in , and the community went into debt. this community inspired "The Blithedale Romance ()," by Nathaniel Hawthorne, in which the main character was modeled after Margaret Fuller, who was a .