Utopian Movement

Transcendentalism

What is the biggest idea to come out of the Utopian Movement?



  1. an idealistic philosophical and social movement that developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures.

brook farm

The Brook Farm Community, or Brooks Farm Community, had its origin in the early 1840's against a background of an idealisation of co-operative communal living.

George Ripley was a graduate of Harvard and an Unitarian minister. An increasing knowledge of European writers together with a dissatisfaction with many aspects of contemporary society, however, gradually widened the focus of his interest such that social reform joined theology in his ongoing sphere of concern.

In the summer of 1840 Ripley, and his wife Sophia Dana Ripley, spent several weeks on the Ellis Farm, West Roxbury, some nine miles from Boston. Ripley enjoyed being out in the Massachussets countryside often spending hours relaxing in the open air immersed in the poetry of Rabbie Burns. He became determined to attempt the foundation of an experiment in communal living. Whilst this project was the product, in a general way, of the speculations and example of Owen and Fourier it was not particularly intended to be socialistic in nature. In a letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson of November 1840 concerning plans for organising a socially utopian community to be called Brook Farm Ripley wrote:-

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Edgar Allen poe

These trifles are collected and republished chiefly with a view to their redemption from the many improvements to which they have been subjected while going at random "the rounds of the press." I am naturally anxious that what I have written should circulate as I wrote it, if it circulate at all. In defence of my own taste, nevertheless, it is incumbent upon me to say that I think nothing in this volume of much value to the public, or very creditable to myself. Events not to be controlled have prevented me from making, at any time, any serious effort in what, under happier curcumstances, would have been not a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be held in reverence; they must not - they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations of mankind.
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