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 exhibit the relevance of such teams to the mainstream of yank social, non secular, and monetary lifestyles. The members research the ideals and practices of the main widespread 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 project. in response to a brand new conceptual framework referred to as developmental communalism, the publication examines those utopian pursuits 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 simple information regarding the crowd mentioned. An appendix provides the main entire record of yank 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. may perhaps, Lawrence J. McCrank, J. Gordon Melton, Donald E. Pitzer, Robert P. Sutton, Jon Wagner, and Robert S. Weisbrot.

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Many were imbued with millenarian beliefs, that is, expecting the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ. These unorthodox convictions led to persecution, making migration to the free lands of North America an appealing option. When the newly constituted American colonies sought settlers, many of these dissenters were among the early waves of migration. 3 Valley of the Swans A fascinating figure in early communitarianism was Pieter Cornelius Plockhoy van Zierikzee (ca. 1620 -ca. 1700), who was active in his native Holland, in England, and in colonial America.

Life at the cloister followed the traditions of monastic life. Members accepted a highly ordered regimen of meditation, work, and worship, including lengthy nighttime meetings. In the beginning, when great efforts were made to construct large buildings to accommodate the growing number of converts, Ephrata members allowed themselves as little as three hours of sleep each night. They used wooden benches for beds, blocks of wood as pillows. Food was limited. It was common for members to hitch themselves to a wooden plow to break ground.

Given Plockhoy's careful planning and the financial backing of the Amsterdamers, it might have been reasonably assumed that the colony would flourish, but larger events intruded. In 1664 the English took over the Dutch colonies in North America in the generally bloodless Anglo-Dutch War. The Horekill settlement was crushed when Admiral Robert Carr of the English navy seized Dutch holdings along the Delaware. " History has not recorded the result for the displaced colonists; some may have been sold into slavery in Virginia.

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