List of Fourierist Associations in the United States

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The Harbinger (formerly The Phalanx), was the primary organ of the Fourierist movement in the United States.

This is a list of Fourierist Associations in the United States which emerged during a short-lived popular boom during the first half of the 1840s. Between 1843 and 1845 more than 30 such "associations" – known to their adherents as "phalanxes" – were established in the United States, all of which met with economic failure and rapid disestablishment within one or a comparatively few years.

The Fourierist movement of the 1840s was one of the four primary branches of secular utopian socialism in the United States during the 19th century, succeeding Owenism (1825–27) while antedating Icarianism (1848–98) and Bellamyism (1889–96).

Background[edit]

The communitarian ideas of Charles Fourier (1772–1837) were popularized in the United States in a 1840 book by the American Albert Brisbane as well as through a column by Brisbane in the pages of Horace Greeley's New York Tribune in 1842 and 1843.

The Fourierist movement followed an earlier attempt to remake society through exemplary socialist communities attempted on American soil by Robert Owen from 1825 until 1827. John Humphrey Noyes, a historian of these movements in addition to being a communal leader in his own right, noted the difference in the following way:

"The main idea on which Owen and Fourier worked was the same. Both proposed to reconstruct society by gathering large numbers into unitary dwellings. Owen had as clear sense of the compound economies of Association as Fourier had, and discoursed as eloquently, if not as scientifically on the beauties and blessings of combined industry.... The difference in their methods is this: Owen's plan was based on Communism [communalism]; Fourier's plan was based on the Joint-stock principle.[1]

List[edit]

Name Location Launched Terminated Comments
Adelphia Phalanx Michigan 1844 1847
Bloomfield Association New York 1844 1846
Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education West Roxbury, MA 1841 1847 Unitarian Transcendentalist until 1844, Fourierist thereafter.
Bureau County Phalanx Bureau County, IL 1843 1843
Clarkson Industrial Association New York 1844 1844
Clermont Phalanx Ohio 1844 1846 Established in aftermath of Sept. 1843 Pittsburgh "Western Fourier Convention."[2]
Columbia Phalanx Ohio 1844 1845?
Goose Pond Community Pennsylvania 1844 1844
Hopedale Community Massachusetts 1843 ??? Mentioned in Frederic Heath (ed.), Social Democracy Red Book [1900], pg. 15.
Integral Phalanx Sangamon, IL 1845 1846 Also known as "Sangamon Phalanx." Established in aftermath of Sept. 1843 Pittsburgh "Western Fourier Convention."[2]
Jefferson County Industrial Association Watertown, NY 1843 1844
LaGrange Phalanx Indiana 1844 1846
Leroyville Phalanx Indiana 1844 1844
McKean County Association McKean County, PA 1843 ???
Marlboro Association Ohio 1841 1845
Moorehouse Union Hamilton County, NY 1843 1844 Straddled and crossed county line with Herkimer County.
North American Phalanx Colts Neck, NJ 1843 1856 Last surviving Fourierist Association from the 1840s boom.
Northampton Association Massachusetts 1842 1846
Ohio Phalanx Ohio 1844 1845 Established in aftermath of Sept. 1843 Pittsburgh "Western Fourier Convention."[2]
One-Mention Community Pennsylvania 1843 1844
Ontario Phalanx Monroe County, NY 1844 ???
Prairie Home Community Logan County, OH 1843 ??? Also known as "Grand Prairie Community."
Raritan Bay Union Perth Amboy, NJ 1853 1860
Silkville Williamsburg, KS 1869 1892 Sericulture farm in Kansas that was founded on Fourierian principles. Later shifted away from Fourierism before its collapse.
Social Reform Unity Pennsylvania 1842 1843
Sodus Bay Phalanx New York 1844 1844
Spring Farm Association Wisconsin 1846 1848
Sylvania Association Pike County, PA 1843 1845 Horace Greeley was Treasurer of this phalanx.[3]
Trumball Phalanx Ohio 1844 1847 Established in aftermath of Sept. 1843 Pittsburgh "Western Fourier Convention."[2]
Utilitarian Association Wisconsin 1844 1844
Western New York Industrial Association New York 1844 ???
Wisconsin Phalanx Ceresco, WI (now Ripon) 1844 1850 One of the longest-lived phalanxes of the 1840s boom.
Zanesville Phalanx Logan County, OH 1843 ??? Also known as "Upper Domain" or "Highland Home." Small offshoot of Prairie Home Community, visited by MacDonald in August 1843.[4]
Source: William Alfred Hinds, American Communities. Second edition. Chicago, IL: Charles H. Kerr & Co., 1908; pg. 250. (unless otherwise noted)

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ John Humphrey Noyes, History of American Socialisms. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1870; pp. 193-194.
  2. ^ a b c d Carl J. Guarneri, The Utopian Alternative: Fourierism in Nineteenth-Century America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991; pg. 230.
  3. ^ Noyes, History of American Socialisms, pg. 208.
  4. ^ Noyes, History of American Socialisms, pp. 318-320.

Further reading[edit]

  • T.D. Seymour Bassett, "The Secular Utopian Socialists," in Donald Drew Egbert and Stow Persons (eds.), Socialism and American Life: Volume 1. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1952; pp. 153–211.
  • Herman J. Belz, The North American Phalanx: An Experiment in Fourierist Socialism, 1843-1855. PhD dissertation. Princeton University, 1959.
  • Herman Belz, "The North American Phalanx: An Experiment in Socialism," Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, vol. 81 (Oct. 1963), pp. 215–247.
  • Carl J. Guarneri, The Utopian Alternative: Fourierism in Nineteenth-Century America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.
  • Morris Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States. [1903] Revised Fifth Edition. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1910.
  • William Alfred Hinds, American Communities and Co-operative Colonies, Second Edition. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Co., 1908.
  • John Humphrey Noyes, History of American Socialisms. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1880.
  • Samuel M. Pedrick, "Sketch of the Wisconsin Phalanx," Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at its 50th Annual Meeting held Dec. 11, 1902. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1903; pp. 190–226.
  • Charles Sears, The North American Phalanx: An Historical and Descriptive Sketch. Prescott, WI: John M. Pryse, 1886.
  • Edward K. Spann, Brotherly Tomorrows: Movements for a Cooperative Society in America, 1820-1920. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.