The nearly forgotten town of Utopia, Ohio—now a tiny community located on the banks of the Ohio River, approximately thirty miles southeast of Cincinnati—provided a testing ground for three distinctive communal experiments during the period from 1844 to 1858. Although today described as “a ghost town on U.S. Route 52—a dozen houses, barns, trailers and the Village Market,” this one geographic point witnessed the rise and fall of utopian dreams as well as great human tragedy. These dreams ranged from a socialist movement inspired by the teachings of Charles Fourier, to a spiritualistic/abolitionist undertaking led by John O. Wattles, and, finally, to a labor-capital approach by protoanarchist Josiah Warren. Utopia is unique in the United States for having experienced these three very different experiments. Although their ideologies were substantially different, they shared the hope of creating a utopia where the tensions of nineteenth-century life would be replaced by human harmony and cooperation.
American Communal Societies Quarterly
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