North American Phalanx (1843-1855). A Nineteenth-Century Utopian Community

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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 communitar¬ian experiment. This book contains seventeen black and white photographs.


“To better illuminate the circumstances of the NAP, Sokolow has placed his account in the context of studies on the many contemporaneous religious and secular planned communities, elaborating on the solutions others found to similar problem and issues. And he has broadened his examination with a discussion of literature on the dynamics and theories of social organization and the analysis of factors that affect their effective or ineffective operation.” – Prof. Abigail Mellen, Lehman College

“Setting this portrayal of the North American Phalanx (NAP) within the maelstrom of 19th century social and economic forces, Sokolow convincingly depicts a scrappy, principled enterprise that kept its utopian ideals over the course of years and got better and better at realizing them. From its architectural decisions, to its labor practices, to its treatment of women, to its treatment of the soil, the NAP was restorative and modern in many ways and well worth one’s concentrated interest.” – Prof. Marcia Bronstein, Montgomery College

“This study is not limited to the organization itself or its philosophy and politics. Sokolow has given identity to the individual members of the Phalanx by introducing us to those few who left written accounts of their life or who were written about by visitors. He has also pieced together their daily routines by reviewing the surviving Association records, interviewing descendants and even learning what archaeological evidence has been found on site. The author’s thorough and multidisciplinary approach adds depth to his findings as he investigates the political and social implications of various North American Phalanx practices from the adoption of bloomer costume by women to the special design and configuration of Phalanx buildings.” – Lee Ellen Griffith, Director,Monmouth County Historical Association

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword by Abigail Mellen, Ph.D.
1. A Vanished World
2. The Phalanx Bubble
3. Fourierism Comes to New Jersey
4. The Creation of a Fourierist Environment
5. The Political Economy of the Phalanx
6. Phalanx Women
7. Demographic and Economic Problems
8. Decline and Dissolution
Conclusion: Listening to the Dead at the North American Phalanx

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