America's Communal Utopias by Donald E. Pitzer

By Donald E. Pitzer

From the Shakers to the department Davidians, America's communal utopians have captured the preferred mind's eye. Seventeen unique essays right here show the relevance of such teams to the mainstream of yank social, spiritual, and financial existence. The participants study the ideals and practices of the main admired utopian groups based prior to 1965, together with the long-overlooked Catholic monastic groups and Jewish agricultural colonies. additionally featured are the Ephrata Baptists, Moravians, Shakers, Harmonists, Hutterites, Inspirationists of Amana, Mormons, Owenites, Fourierists, Icarians, Janssonists, Theosophists, Cyrus Teed's Koreshans, and Father Divine's Peace undertaking. in line with a brand new conceptual framework often called developmental communalism, the booklet examines those utopian hobbies in the course of the process their development—before, in the course of, and after their communal interval. each one bankruptcy features a short chronology, giving easy information regarding the gang mentioned. An appendix offers the main entire checklist of yankee utopian groups ever released. The individuals are Jonathan G. Andelson, Karl J. R. Arndt, Pearl W. Bartelt, Priscilla J. Brewer, Donald F. Durnbaugh, Lawrence Foster, Carl J. Guarneri, Robert V. Hine, Gertrude E. Huntington, James E. touchdown, Dean L. could, Lawrence J. McCrank, J. Gordon Melton, Donald E. Pitzer, Robert P. Sutton, Jon Wagner, and Robert S. Weisbrot.

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In our examination of the colorful and sometimes tragic stories of the religious and secular movements that produced America's most noted communal Utopias, we find real human beings struggling with real human problems and trying to realize hopes and dreams common to us all. We find in their brave, sometimes foolhardy, efforts to bring new, more creative solutions to bear on the universal condition of humanity a serious challenge to take their communal experiments seriously and to be no less innovative than they in our own world today.

He withstood a serious attempt by the gifted Eckerlin brothers to wrest control from his hands. Under the guidance of Israel Eckerlin, acting as prior, Ephrata experienced a boom of construction and economic advance. Mills of several kinds, farming operations, orchards, and fields became so productive that extensive commercial connections were established in Philadelphia to sell Ephrata's products. Beissel managed to win back leadership initiative, leaving the Eckerlins little alternative but to depart the society.

20 When the company of savants arrived in Philadelphia in late June 1694, they secured land along a ridge near the Wissahickon Creek in what is now Fairmount Park. They lived in caves and later 20 DONALD F. DURNBAUGH erected a large building for their meetings. 21 The first impressions of the freedom of their new home were positive; they also suggest the pattern of life adopted by members of the group. The author (perhaps Seelig) of an account of the sometimes difficult Atlantic crossing and early days in Pennsylvania wrote, "What pleases me here most is that one can be peasant, scholar, priest, and nobleman all at the same time without interference, which of all modes of living has been found to be the best and most satisfactory since patriarchial times.

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