What societal factors prompted the creation of communal and utopian communities like Oneida in 1848?

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Utopian communities sprang up in the US in the 1800s in response, on the one hand, to the increasing industrialization and urbanization of society and, on the other, to the desire for a simple life of self-improvement, religion, and agriculture. Let's look at some examples.

Early utopian communities, like the Shakers, separated themselves from society at least in part for the sake of religious purity. They wanted to remain insulated from what they viewed as the moral corruption of the society around them, and they longed to practice their religious beliefs in peace. They wanted a simple life of working the land in the countryside, away from the hectic cities and burgeoning factories.

Other utopian communities focused more on escaping from the authoritarianism they saw in society. At Brook Farm, for instance, community members wanted to be free to promote their individualistic self-reliance in a rural setting and to pursue their philosophical and moral education while living off the land in peace and away from government interference.

Many of these communities also held the belief that human beings and human institutions could be perfect but that current institutions were far from perfect and were, therefore, hindering the development of human individuals. If they could get away from the imperfections of society, they could find perfection together as a united and isolated community.

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