North Union Shaker village

Life of the Shakers

Introduction to the Shakers

The Shakers arrived in New York City on August 6, 1774.
They began to spread Shakerism in the United States. To many the religion was appealing because of its clinging to past ways as society was changing and because many believed it could achieve saintliness.Finally in the late 1780s, after much perseverance and many meetings, the Shakers prospered with 12 settlements and many followers.-The shaker religion is governed by a set of laws known as Millennial laws. They are communal living, celibacy, confession of sins, and sexual and racial equality.Once joined, everything you own goes to the community.The Shakers were more emotional and demonstrative in their worship than most religions. - They wrote thousands of songs and choreographed many dances.
The songs and dances are important in their services.
A spiritual "gift" could be a musical revelation
It was important to record musical inspirations as they occurred.
The scribes wrote using a musical notation called the letteral system. - Dedication and hard work with perfection has resulted in unique architecture.
They made their items mostly out of wood local to them.
Their simple designs have a big influence on American architecture.
They created the circular saw, the clothespin, the modern broom, and many other items still used today.