This is the first full-length study of the North American Phalanx, one of the most important utopian communities in antebellum America. Established in the fall of 1843 outside Freehold, New Jersey by American followers of the French philosopher Charles Fourier, it developed into a community that followed the tenets of American Fourierism more closely and successfully than any other communitarian experiment. Between the American Revolution and the Civil War, reformers established over one hundred utopian communities to transform a society they deemed excessively individualistic and competitive into a cooperative and harmonious one. During its 12-year history, the North American Phalanx gradually developed a unique Fourierist architecture and use of space, an unusual political economy based on Fourier's concept of labor, and a social environment that promoted democracy, cooperation, and conviviality. "The North American Phalanx" provides a revealing example of the antebellum reform impulse's restless ferment, faith in humanity, yearning for Paradise, and its determination to transform the world.
This study will appeal to scholars of antebellum America, nineteenth-century American reform movements, and of utopian communities.