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Transcendentalism and Utopian Societies in



Rachel Bryan and Kate Barnes
    What was transcendentalism?

   A literary and
    philosophical movement        Its main ideas and
    associated with 19th           concerns (individualism,
    century writers and a          self-improvement,
    small but active circle        spiritualism, and moral
    of New England                 protest) are still part of
    educators, religious           U.S. cultural practices
    leaders, and social            and political attitudes.
    reformers during the
   Began as a discussion
    club, but grew to affect
    the beliefs of later U.S
    writers and Americans in
THOREAU                               HIS WORK

   One of the loudest                   Thoreau preached religious
    Transcendental voices                 tolerance, moral soundness,
   Secluded himself in a cabin           love of nature, and the right
    above Walden pond where he
    wrote his most famous work,           to disobey unjust authority.
    Walden.                              His most famous writings
   Although not seen as an               were Walden and Resistance
    exemplary figure of                   to Civil Government.
    Transcendentalist views during
    his time, Thoreau is now             Three thousand copies of
    considered the philosophical          Walden were printed, but
    model of a Transcendentalist in       fewer than three hundred
    the mid 19th century.                 copies were sold. Walden is
                                          now regarded as one of the
IN LITERATURE                             most monumental pieces of
Who took part in the movement?            literature.
Walden Pond
                        What were the main ideas of transcendentalism?
   Idealism
       The loud Transcendental figures such as Whitman and Emerson
        had religions, but did celebrate physical relationships. “Yet each
        of these figures shared a fundamental belief in a higher reality of
        ideas--in a metaphysical realm of spirit that is screened, and yet
        symbolically revealed, by the material world.”
   Pantheism
       Also known as “Natural Supernaturalism,” and considered by
        some as an American natural religion.
       Similar to the Deist of the 18th century, the universe and
        Enlightenment theories were extremely influential.
   Optimism
       Transcendentalist were overall optimists in that they knew the
        hardships of the human experience, but were convinced of the
        essential goodness and purposefulness of life.
WORLD What did non transcendentalists think of the radicals?
   By many, transcendentalist figures were seen as
    questionable and “conspirators.”
   However, most people looked at transcendentalists as
    doing something worth doing, but it just wasn’t for them,
    much like we look at the hippies from the 1960s.
   Edgar Allan Poe severely criticized the movement, calling
    its members “frogpondians” and discredited their
    writings as “mysticism for mysticism’s sake.” He wrote a
    short story attacking the movement, referring to it as a
   One of Nathanial Hawthorne’s more popular novels, The
    Blithedale Romance, criticizes his short encounter with
    Brook Farm, a failed Utopian Society.
Brook Farm, New Harmony, Oneida, Shakers, and Mormons
What were the experimental societies developed by transcendentalists actually like?

                                             Image: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
   The western idea of             Deism, the second Great
    utopian societies                Awakening, and
    originated from ancient          Enlightenment
    times– such as in the            philosophies prepared the
    Garden of Eden and the           western world for
    Golden Age of Greek              Transcendentalist thought.
   The word “Utopia”
    originated from a 16th
    century writer who
    introduced the word as a
    fictional paradisal island
    in the Atlantic ocean.
                                      What happened to the original experiment?
  West Roxbury, Massachusetts
 Organized by George Ripley

 Many famous names held shares in Brook Farm; e.g. Nathaniel
   Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Margaret Fuller.
 The community provided all necessities and education for its
 A fire that burned down a

brand new building, financial
trouble, and a suit by Nathanial
Hawthorne to regain his
investment in the site led to its
end in 1847.
 Fueled Hawthorne’s novel

The Blithedale Romance.
              What was life like in the Oneida Community?
   John Humphrey Noyes
       Born in Brattleboro, Vermont
        in 1811
       Joined Andover Theological
        Seminary in November of
       Became involved in the
        nascent abolitionist
       Founded the New Haven Anti-
        Slavery society and New        Onedia Community Mansion House, Madison County, New
        Haven free church where he York
        preached his radical beliefs.
       Great emphasis on perfection
        being attainable in this life.
    ONEIDA MEMBERS                                  FALL
   His followers;                          In 1847 a meeting of ministers was
      Became known as Perfectionists.       held in Syracuse where the
      Practiced “complex marriage” and      community was condemned.
        considered themselves married to
        the group, not one partner.         Mede members uneasy, and Noyes
      Practiced “bible communism”           fled to Canada on June 29, 1879
      Members were not accepted by         The community was officially ended i
        the community of Putney, New         January 1881 when reconstructed as
        York, so the group moved to          a Joint Stock Company.
        Madison in 1847
      Whole community lived together in
        one house in the 1850s
      Ate communal meals, worked
        together to raise and educate
        children, and collaborated to
        achieve manufacturing success.
      At it’s height 270 members lived
        together in the house.
SHAKERS             What was life like for the Shakers?
formally known as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming
   Beliefs;
     Communal    Living
     Productive labor
     Celibacy
         Abstaining from marriage and sexual
          relationships for religious reasons.
     Pacifism
         The belief that violence, including war, is
          unjustifiable under any circumstances, and
          that all disputes should be settled by
          peaceful means.
     Equality    of sexes

   6000 members before the
    civil war                           Had two main communities
   Successful in making items
                                        Began in 1780s, but
    for the outside commercial
                                         peaked from 1830-1860
       Moved focus from                Lived in same sex housing
        agriculture to handicrafts      Worked in it’s garden-seed
          e.g Furniture                 industry
          Became known as “Shaker
        The inside makeup of a Utopian Society

   Community had 15                    Shaker Village
                                     Hancock
                              Sabbathday Lake Shaker
     The Great Stone
      Dwelling                 Village
     The Stone Mille Building   Last remaining community
     The West Meadow Barn
     Laundry and Dairy
     The East Brethren’s
     Mary Keane Chapel
     Ministry House
     West Brethren’s House
      “Surely the Lord God will
      do nothing, but he
      revealed his secret unto
                                                       Held the common Christian
      his servants the                                  ideas until the early 1800s,
      prophets.” Amos 3:7,                              when they believed Joseph
      Book of Mormon                                    Smith was a prophet.
                                                          Joseph Smith was considered a
                                                           prophet similar to Moses or
                                                           Abraham. God had always sent
                                                           messengers to tech His plan.
                                                          The Mormons believed God
                                                           gave Joseph Smith permission
                                                           to baptize and teach others the
                                                           steps they needed to take in
                                                           order to return to live with God.

                                                                    How did the modern-day religion begin?

         What does the Mormon text say about them?

   Considered a continuation              The book of Mormon answers
    of the Bible                            ‘questions of the soul’
                                         1. “Is there really a God?”
   The book of Mormon
                                         2. “Did I exist before I was
    contains the history and
    God’s word between
                                         3. “What happens after I die?”
    600BC and 400 AD.
                                         4. “Does my life have a
    Compiled by a man                      purpose?”
    named Mormon onto                     Divided into books like the
    golden plates.                          bible
                                                  “'Mormonism' has made me all I am;
                                                  and the grace, the power, and the
                                                  wisdom of God will make me all that
    BRIGHAM YOUNG                                 I ever will be, either in time or in
         Who were the major players?              eternity.”

   Second President of the
    Mormon church
     Born June 1st 1801
     Died August 29th 1877
     Years as President 1847-
   Brigham Young University
     MultipleUniversities
      founded and directed by
      the church
   Where is it now?

                         A branch of Mormon faith
                         Belief statement
                             “We are all spiritual children
                              of a loving Heavenly Father
                              who sent us to this earth to
                              learn and grow in a mortal
                              state. As Mormons, we are
                              followers of Jesus Christ. We
                              live our lives to serve Him
                              and teach of His eternal plan
                              for each of us.”
                         WORKS CITED
 11-10-10
   New Oxford American Dictionary
 11-10-10
    w 11-10-10
    p?leader=2&topic=facts 11-10-10
 11-10-10
   What Hath God Wrought
 11-10-
 11-10-10
   Norton Anthology of American Literature Vol. 2
 11-8-10
    html 11-8-10
    finitionbickman.html 11-8-10
 11-8-10
   Brands Textbook

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