Visions of Utopia

Brook Farm
  • Established by George Ripley in West Roxbury, Mass. 1848.
    Women at Brook Farm
    Women at Brook Farm
  • Inspired by Transcendentalism.
  • Goal of the community was to permit its members a full opportunity for self-realization.
  • Ripley was one of the first americans to to have a possitive though of leisure, most people of the time though leisure as lazines.
  • Communal society - individualist - all members contributed equally, so that they could enjoy leisure in order to better themselves.
  • Communalism gave way to socialism as individualism dissolved.
  • Many members such as Nathaniel Hawthorne left when they began to feel disillusionment setting in.
  • A fire burned down the main building, and the settlement dissipated.
  • Hawthorne went on to write the Blithedale Romance which specifically talked about the Brook Farm experiment as opression on the individuals in the settlement.

The New Harmony settlement
The New Harmony settlement

New Harmony
  • Some socialist communities used ideals of Charles Fourier -Ideas of organized communities = cooperative "phalanxes" - drew attention
  • Other communities used ideals of Robert Owen, a scottish philanthropist and industrialist.
  • Robert Owen founded New Harmonyin 1825 in Indiana
  • "Village of Cooperation" in which all residents were equal in every way
  • Community failed economically, but Owen's ideal excited Americans
  • Other "Owenite" communities popped up all over the country in the years after

Oneida Community
John Humpherys Noyes
John Humpherys Noyes

  • Founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848 in upstate New York
  • Members of the community called themselves "Perfectionists"
  • Noyes declared all residents were married to all other residents - no permanant Conjugal ties
  • The community monitored sexual activity and women were protected from unwanted childbearing
  • Children were raised by the community, often rarely seeing their parents
  • Considered themselves a society in which women were free from the demands of male lust and traditional family. Some considered it an early form of feminism.
(Extra) -
  • Oneida began to decline when John Noyes passed the leadership to his son, Theodore, who was an atheist, and lacked talent for leadership.

The Shakers
  • Founded by "Mother" Ann Lee - 1740s
  • Established more then twenty communites during the 1840's
  • Survived during the 19th,and into 20th century. There is still remnant that survives today.
  • Name derived from religious ritual - members danced to "shake" away sins
  • Socialist community that redefined gender roles
  • Men and Women were almost completely separated from each other.
  • Extreme commitment to celibacy meant that no person could be born a Shaker. They had to choose it for themselves
  • Female dominated society - few men joined
  • Functioned as an alernative to marriage's "gross abuses"
  • Viewed as heretics by other religious sects who often protested outside of their meetinghouses
    A shaker ritual
    A shaker ritual

"Oneida Community." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2009. Web. 3 Dec. 2009.

"Utopias, 1815-1850 (Visual)." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2009. Web. 3 Dec. 2009.

"Shakers." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2009. Web. 3 Dec. 2009.