The Communitarian Moment: The Radical Challenge of the Northampton Association

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9781558494169: The Communitarian Moment: The Radical Challenge of the Northampton Association
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It used to be virtually unquestioned that history belonged to the successful. Individuals and movements deemed "failures" were usually disregarded or entirely forgotten.

Communitarians of the 1840s set forth a variety of radical critiques of contemporary American society, based both on their own experiences and on their visions of a better world. Their attempts to realize these visions met with strong opposition and practical obstacles. Even as they began to retreat, they were cast by their opponents as insignificant or as fanatics, and those views have influenced most subsequent historical accounts of them. This book joins other recent studies that have sought to reevaluate the efforts of communitarians on their own terms, to locate them in their social and political contexts, and to understand the dilemmas that they faced. The Northampton Association provides an ideal opportunity for a study of this kind. It is easily the most obscure of the main New England utopian communities of the 1840s, so its story remains unfamiliar even to many specialist scholars. In his book, Clark aims not to celebrate the men and women of the Northampton community, but to understand them better, to trace how their vision was formed, and how it came to fade again into something less radical, less ambitious, and more forgettable.

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From the Publisher:

An insightful study of a group of utopian reformers--women and men, black and white--in antebellum Massachusetts.

From the Inside Flap:

"A masterful work; it is a model for how a study of an individual utopia should be crafted. Clark has skillfully pieced together the often tantalizingly obscure history of the Northampton Association to provide thoughtful, comprehensive coverage of an undeniably significant communitarian endeavor, and he has not forgotten the appropriate secondary works. Clark’s imaginative and impressive research has paid off handsomely. . . . A joy to read."--American Historical Review

"Clark documents the details of the association’s fascinating four-and-a-half year existence in lively, informative prose. . . . Scholars from a variety of fields will find Clark’s scrupulously researched book to be a valuable and necessary addition to works on nineteenth-century communitarianism and to social and intellectual history in general. But the reading public as well will enjoy this well-written and jargon-free book that, among other things, tells a good story."--Journal of American History

"Through a careful use of recently rediscovered records of the association, Clark fashions a first-rate scholarly study that deals successfully both with the inner life of this social experiment and its place in the landscape of social and economic change."--Journal of the Early Republic

"Clark has written an important book, one elucidating the vision of some quite practical people. Eventually, bowing to continuing external adversity, the challengers retreated, the ‘moment’ passed. Making exemplary use of wide-ranging research in primary sources and of the relevant scholarly literature, Clark is instructive in how we remember their challenge."--Communal Studies

"Making use of the recently rediscovered (although still incomplete) account books, membership register, minutes, and outgoing correspondence of the group, . . . Clark has managed to glean from [the members’] experiences with everything from silk-making to hydropathy a compelling view of New England (and radicalism) in transition."--Civil War History

"Clark has meaningfully brought to life a period in American history when society seemed corrupt but redeemable through the efforts of individuals banded together in a utopian community dedicated to social justice, economic equality, and religious toleration."--Utopian Studies

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780801427305: The Communitarian Moment: The Radical Challenge of the Northampton Association

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0801427304 ISBN 13:  9780801427305
Publisher: NCROL, 1995
Hardcover

9780801480126: The Communitarian Moment: The Radical Challenge of the Northampton Association

Cornel..., 1996
Softcover

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