Age of Reform in America

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American reform movements in the early to mid 1800’s strived at improving our developing society. America was growing larger, and with the expanding population, many new ideas sprang up. Conflicting opinions between the people of the United States caused the emergence of an Age of Reform, where people tried to change things such as the educational system and women’s rights. These movements were the result of our nation’s self-determination and interest in improving the society we live in.

Between the 1820’s and 1860’s, Americans were trying new things and promoting different ideas and ways of thinking. Once such idea is that of a utopian society. A utopian society, simple put, means a perfect society. There are many examples of experiments at utopian society in the 1800’s.

George Ripley endeavored to create one of the first utopian societies in West Roxberry, Massachusetts. The community was called Brook Farm, and was established in 1841. Everyone in the community shared labor and leisure time equally. Ripley believed that leisure was the most important step to understanding yourself. The problem with Brook Farm was that the residents ended up believing in a form of communism, despite its objective of being a community where the individual would be able to become ‘whole’. A fire late in 1847 caused the community to disband and separate. Brook Farm is important because not only was it one of the first utopian society experiments in the 1800’s, but it proved that people were confident about trying new things. Critics of Brook Farm said that the point of the community was nothing more than the desire to become better than other people. This demonstrates that (even though it failed) Brooke Farm was created solely for the purpose of bettering the way in which people lived.

In 1948, John Humphrey founded another utopian experiment in Oneida, New York. This was another important utopian society...
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