1820s And 1840s: Utopian Communities

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Between the 1820s and 1840s, individuals who believed in the perfectibility of the social and political order founded hundreds of “utopian communities.” These experimental communal societies were called utopian communities because they provided blueprints for an ideal society. The characteristics of these communities varied widely. One of the earliest perfectionist societies was popularly known as the Shakers. Founded in 1776 by “Mother” Ann Lee, an English immigrant, the Shakers believed that the millennium was at hand and that the time had come for people to renounce sin. Shaker communities regarded their male and female members as equals; thus, both sexes served as elders and deacons. Aspiring to live like the early Christians, the Shakers…show more content…
In the phalanxes, women received equal job opportunities and equal pay, equal participation in decision making, and the right to speak in public assemblies. Although one Fourier community lasted for 18 years, most were…show more content…
Exclusive emotional or sexual attachments were forbidden, and sexual relations were arranged through an intermediary in order to protect a woman’s individuality and give her a choice in the matter. Men were required to practice coitus interruptus (withdrawal) as a method of birth control, unless the group had approved of the couple’s conceiving offspring. After the Civil War, the community conducted experiments in eugenics, the selective control of mating to improve the hereditary qualities of children. Other notable features of the community were mutual criticism sessions and communal child rearing. Noyes left the community in 1879 and fled to Canada to escape prosecution for adultery. As late as the early 1990s, descendants of the original community could be found working at the Oneida silverworks, which became a corporation after Noyes’s departure. Works Cited "History of the United States (1789–1849)." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 23 Mar. 2011. . "Mother Ann Lee: Biography from Answers.com." Answers.com: Wiki Q&A Combined with Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedias. Web. 23 Mar. 2011. . "Mother of the Shakers. - Review - Book Review | Contemporary Review | Find Articles

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