Top 7 American Utopian Experiments Anything

Top 7 American Utopian Experiments

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Many have tried it, few have succeeded...actually, no one has. Most ended up in debt. Not surprisingly, many of these attempts to find an ideal society were orchestrated by religious people desiring to recall the Edenic life before the fall. Waiting until the afterlife to receive their reward just wasn't appealing enough. Utopian visionaries designed their own Plan B by uniting with a common ideology and breaking apart from mainstream society.
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    Oneida Community (1848)

    Leader: John Humphrey Noyes

    His intention: Despite his mother’s religious devotion, Noyes found his own faith called Perfectionism, which was denied at Yale Divinity School. He was open-minded about it rather than repressive because he believed Jesus had already made his return and thus, people were sinless. This is the kind of rationale that gives birth to polygamy, which is exactly what happened in Noyes’ community. Needless to say, the group was persecuted and their "Moses" led them to Oneida.


    - "Complex Marriage" was one of Noyes’ teaching, which meant that every man was married to every woman in the commune. Any two people could have sexual relations as long as it was consensual and get this, nonexclusive because that would be selfish and idolatrous. If an attachment began forming, they would be separated for a length of time.

    - Another teaching was "Male Continence," a form of birth control in which the male was not allowed ejaculate during sex. If any members wanted to have children they had to come before a committee who matched the parents based on their spiritual and moral traits.

    - "Ascending Fellowship" meant older members, called Central Members, got first pick on virgins and would initiate virgins of both genders so they could not fall in love with each other or the younger members.

    - Mutual Criticism subjected all members to criticism of their bad traits from the community, which could be a humiliating experience but was supposed to ensure morality. Noyes himself rarely volunteered for this activity because he felt a community should not criticize its leader. Figures.

    Demise: Noyes was tipped off that there was a warrant out for his arrest, charged with rape so he fled to Canada. The community dispersed and many members were traditionally married by the next year. Oneida became a silverware company.

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