New Harmony, Indiana

Inspired by the ideals of the Second Great Awakening,  Robert Owen sought to a create a utopian society where no social hierarchy would stratify people into different classes.  The idea was that people would be able to live in complete equality, cooperation, and secular community where there is no unemployment, poverty, and vice.  In 1825, Owen founded New Harmony, Indiana, a communal society of about one thousand people.  The society was made up of a variety of individuals, ranging from criminals, visionaries, radicals, and scholars.  Ironically, New Harmony failed to maintain peace within its members and fell apart due to internal conflicts and confusion after just two years.  

This picture represents the vision Owen had for New Harmony.  This shows that he had plans for a long term utopian society.  Owenites made the bricks to build this structure, but the plans were never completed due to the failure New Harmony's society.  Just like this structure, most of Owens plans seemed like sound theories, but turned out be unsuccessful in the real world.

"New Harmony - All Owin' - No payin'" cartoon criticizing the community founded by Robert Owen.  Society members had to contribute to the success of the community but were not recieving any reward for their strenous labor.  Such complaints escalated to internal conflicts including riots and ultimately led to the downfall New Harmony.

Primary Source

Letter written concerning scientific studies to William Maclure of New Harmony.  Maclure was a geologist, botanist, and naturalist who lived in Owen's utopian society. This illustrates the type of innovative people that New Harmony attracted.   The highly intellectuals of NEw Harmony were just one of the many types of people one could find there.


Many people were by Robert Owen's utopian ideals because they were fed up with the unfairness of social classes in normal society.  Such anger against tradition society translated to the creation of various utopias in America, including New Harmony.  New Harmony is significant because it represents a milestone in socialist thinking, and created inspiration for social reform that are still prevalent in today's society.  Important figures to New Harmony include Robert Owen and William Maclure.  Owen was the founder of both the Indiana community and the idea of utopian socialism.  William Maclure is considered the father of American geology and created the first geological map of the U.S.  Robert Owen's and his community can be compared to the separatist ideas of the pilgrims.  Not content with society in their home country, the pilgrims separated and ended up in the Americas, just as Robert Owens separated off and created a new communal society.

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