Communitarianism in North America 1850

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Map Code: Ax02426

Following the American Revolution there was a great outpouring of religious diversity, and many sects, which incorporated notions of utopianism, emerged from the dissenting Protestant denominations that had been founded in America by refugees from persecution in Europe. And essential tenet of many of these sects was the idea of communal living, or communitarianism. The First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guaranteed religious freedom, had attracted many persecuted European groups, who helped to found self-contained, agrarian societies in the new world. Amongst these groups were the Shakers, who were originally founded in England in 1747; they believed in communal living, shared property and practised strict celibacy. Similar to the Shakers in many ways, the Rappites arrived from Germany in 1803 and established an agrarian community called Harmony in Butler County, Pennsylvania. The Oneida community was founded by John Humphreys Noyes of Battleboro, Vermont, who was a well-known abolitionist. His adherents rejected exclusive marriage and raised their many children collectively.

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