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Oneida Community

American Studies

Brooke Burns

on 19 October 2012

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Transcript of Oneida Community

The Oneida Community By Brooke Burns Beliefs of Oneida Rise and Fall of Oneida Rise of Oneida Noyes Leaves Oneida Lack of Equality Complex Marriage Mutual Criticism Ascending Fellowship Communalism The New Eden Effects of Belief Noyes View of Perfection Establishing a Community Sweeping changes had been occurring in the 19th century and many different views and ideologies of how people should live began to occur.

The Oneida Community is one example of many people going back to John Winthrop's 'Model of Christian Charity' and the utopian model which he had established.

Many Oneidans believed this believed they could establish a heaven on earth, or what they believed to be a new Eden

They also hoped they could set an example of what man could achieve, therefore being much like Winthrop's 'City Upon a Hill'. Noyes became obsessed with the fact that man could indeed obtain perfection, or a life without sin
This would be accomplished by self salvation
Already believed that the sinners had been separated from the saints and therefore there was no need to fear sin
"The church on earth is now rising to meet the approaching kingdom in the heavens, and to become its duplicate and representative on earth." These beliefs and influences of the current social movements that had been occurring in the United States at this time, led to what soon would be the Oneida Community starting in 1848. Was very similar to Communism in the sense that everyone worked together and put aside material needs and wants for the common good of the community
Economic success was completely eliminated and self perfection was the main goal of all people in the community In order to better themselves as moral people living int he community, everyone was subject to criticism from others within the community.
"Happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending" (Much Ado About Nothing)
"As oxygen combined with nitrogen is the very breath of life while pure oxygen is destructive, so criticism must be combined with love to be wholesome and healing. Christ was qualified to be the judge of this world by the love he showed in laying down his life for it. Criticism bathed in love wounds but to heal; bathed in personal feelings it leaves poison in the wound." (John Noyes' Mutual Criticism; 'How to Give Criticism. Usually boys, but sometimes girls, around the age of 14, were brought into the concept of Complex marriage Noyes preached against marriage since he believed that since marriage did not exist in heaven, it should not exist within Oneida.
Most community members, especially male community members were encouraged to have sex with multiple partners, and pregnancy was relatively low. Oneida originally started out with 87 members in 1848
By 1878 they had grown to around 300
Oneida proved to be one of the most successful attempts at community living In 1879 Noyes fled to Canada, in order to escape charges of statutory rape. He left his son Theodore Noyes to take care of Oneida. Although women were seen as equal to men, they were not given complete equality, which played a part in undermining the basic beliefs of Oneida. The Original Oneida Perfectionist John Humphrey Noyes The upbringing of Noyes, as well as the experiences of great social movements throughout his life, played a large role in shaping his view of Oneida
One movement that shaped Noyes view was the Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening also seemed to have a large effect on society as a whole. Affects on Society The Second Great Awakening Expressed the belief that everyone could be saved through revivals, which led to many people joining/establishing Christian Denominations
Represented the reactions of many Americans to the social and political changes that were occurring
Industrial Revolution
Less of a cohesive community
Many people wished to return back to a simpler life
Sought to revert to a greater sense of community Effects on Noyes The Second Great Awakening Noyes believed in much of the beliefs of the Second Great Awakening, which caused him to leave Vermont and attend Yale in order to become a Minister Fault of Complex Marriage Breakup of Oneida Equality for Women From the age of 14 women were considered equal to men
This equality did not exclude them from doing domestic chores rather than outdoor work
Because Oneida practiced a form of birth control, many women were not forced to bear children
Women also wore pants very similar to those of children, and were discouraged from wearing nice clothing, in attempt to dissuade women from becoming materialistic Family In Oneida Family was largely based on community, where people were collectively raising children.
Close bonding among children and parents was discouraged Human Eugenics Those who wanted to 'breed' with one another, were brought before a committee to decide whether the two were 'moral' enough.
Many children that were born in Oneida was through Human Eugenics: the most moral people bred with one another, to create the most moral child.
53 children were born under these standard during three decades, 9 being Noyes' own children Theodore, being agnostic, lacked effective leadership. Many original Oneida Perfectionists were no longer living, and much contention began to arise with the members still remaining of how Oneida should continue to be run. Once Noyes left Oneida, complex marriage was abandoned, and many people either left the community in order to marry and begin their own family, or they began to marry within the community. End of Oneida Eventually, due to lack of leadership, and disagreements with how the community should be run, Oneida dissolved. Today it is known as one of the best attempts at communal living, lasting over thirty years, and helped continue the discussion of ideals of living inside and outside the community.
Today, all that is left of Oneida is the museum, where the community once was, as well as the Oneida silverware company. Thesis The Oneida community, like many previous attempts by other religious communities, sought to find Eden in America, between the years of 1848 and 1881. The 'Oneida Perfectionists' hoped to achieve a Utopian way of living by practicing Communalism, Complex Marriage, Mutual Criticism, and Ascending Fellowship. Through these practices, they also redefined class equality, departing from the American norms but this did not necessarily translate to total equality. Although these three decades proved to be one of the mos successful attempts at Utopia, lack of leadership as well as prevailing self interest lead to the full breakup of the community in 1881. Work Cited Hillebrand, Randell. "The Oneida Community." New York History Net. N.p., 20 Feb.
2008. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <http://www.nyhistory.com/central/
John Humphrey Noyes, the Putney Community. Syracuse University, Sept. 1998. Web.
18 Oct. 2012. <http://library.syr.edu/digital/collections/j/ JohnHumphreyNoyes,ThePutneyCommunity/index.html#contents>.
Ness, Immanuel. "Moral and Dress Reform Movement." Social Movements in the United States. Vol. 1. Armok: M.E. Sharpe, 2004. 268-74. Print.
- -. "Noyes and the Oneidans." Social Movements of the United States. Vol. 3. New York City: M.E Sharpe, 2004. 1001-04. Print.
Noyes, John Humphrey. Mutual Criticism. New York: Office of the American Socialist, 1848. Print.
Robertson, Constance Noyes. Oneida Community: The Breakup. N.p.: Constance Noyes Roberston, n.d. Print. Pictures Cited http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZiTaielLhS4/T4pWpnHw1AI/AAAAAAAAAXI/HMVbP1Ge7Yw/s1600/John+Humphrey+Noyes.jpg
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