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What were their goals and methods of utopian colonies? Why did they fail? (e.g.: Amana colony, Brook Farm, Oneida colony, Bishop Hill) Essay sample

Utopian communities were very special societies in 19th century America. All over the country, charismatic leaders founded what was in their opinion a successful model of government that allowed people to thrive. Concentrated on religion, moral values, or educational advantages, utopian colonies attempted to become the best of their kind. However, most of such settlements failed in a short while. George Ripley, the founder of Brook Farm settlement (Massachusetts), was the fan of transcendentalism. In this colony, people were involved in farming together and shared the harvest. It was supposed to give them more time to education and development. However, the community existed for only a few years and collapsed because of financial troubles and internal hostility. The settlement of New Harmony (Indiana) had a similar fate, however, they succeeded in bringing bright minds to their community while it existed. The Oneida colony (New York) had a very specific family structure. Monogamy was ignored there, and inhabitants were supposed to be married to each other. Childbearing was collectively negotiated, however, a number of children were born “off the list”. The colony existed for about 30 years, which was remarkable for a utopian society.  Little settlements of Shakers have spread all over the US in the 19th century and functioned for more than a century. Its members became successful with their furniture manufacturing that gave people enough money to live in a commune for so long. Shakers strictly separated sexes in work and personal life and practiced celibacy. Numerous settlements gradually consolidated in just a few, and today most of them transformed into museums.