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Robert Owen
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Accessed: 5/18/20

Robert Owen
Owen, aged about 50, by William Henry Brooke
Born: 14 May 1771, Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales
Died: 17 November 1858 (aged 87), Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales
Occupation: co-operator; social reformer, textile mill co-owner; philanthropic capitalist
Spouse(s): Ann (or Anne) Caroline Dale
Children: Jackson Dale (b. 1799); Robert Dale (b. 1801); William (b. 1802); Ann (or Anne) Caroline (b. 1805); Jane Dale (b. 1805); David Dale (b. 1807); Richard Dale (b. 1809); Mary (b. 1810)
Parent(s): Robert Owen and Anne (Williams) Owen[1]

Robert Owen (/ˈoʊɪn/; 14 May 1771 – 17 November 1858), a Welsh textile manufacturer, philanthropist and social reformer, was one founder of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. He is known for efforts to improve factory working conditions for his workers and promote experimental socialistic communities. In the early 1800s, he became wealthy as an investor and eventual manager of a large textile mill at New Lanark, Scotland. He had initially trained as a draper in Stamford, Lincolnshire and worked in London before relocating aged 18 to Manchester and becoming a textile manufacturer. In 1824, Owen travelled to America and invested most of his fortune in an experimental socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana, a preliminary model for Owen's utopian society. It lasted about two years; other Owenite utopian communities met similar fates. In 1828, Owen returned to settle in London, where he continued to champion the working class, led the development of cooperatives and the trade union movement, and supported the passage of child labour laws and free co-educational schools.

Early life and education

Baptism record of Robert Owen in the Newtown Parish Register

Robert Owen was born in Newtown, a small market town in Montgomeryshire, Wales, on 14 May 1771, to Anne (Williams) and Robert Owen. His father was a saddler, ironmonger and local postmaster; his mother was the daughter of a Newtown farming family. Young Robert was the sixth of the family's seven children, two of whom died at a young age. His surviving siblings were William, Anne, John and Richard.[1][2]

Owen received little formal education, but he was an avid reader. He left school at the age of ten to be apprenticed to a Stamford, Lincolnshire, draper for four years. He also worked in London drapery shops in his teens.[3][4] At about the age of 18, Owen moved to Manchester, where he spent the next twelve years of his life, employed initially at Satterfield's Drapery in Saint Ann's Square.[5][6]

While in Manchester, Owen borrowed £100 from his brother William, so as to enter into a partnership to make spinning mules, a new invention for spinning cotton thread, but exchanged his business share within a few months for six spinning mules that he worked in rented factory space.[7] In 1792, when Owen was about 21 years old, mill-owner Peter Drinkwater made him manager of the Piccadilly Mill at Manchester. However, after two years with Drinkwater, Owen voluntarily gave up a contracted promise of partnership, left the company, and went into partnership with other entrepreneurs to establish and later manage the Chorlton Twist Mills in Chorlton-on-Medlock.[8][9]

By the early 1790s, Owen's entrepreneurial spirit, management skills and progressive moral views were emerging. In 1793, he was elected a member of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society,[9] where the ideas of the Enlightenment were discussed. He also became a committee member of the Manchester Board of Health, instigated principally by Thomas Percival to press for improvements in the health and working conditions of factory workers.[10][11]

Marriage and family

Robert Owen's house in New Lanark, Scotland.

On a visit to Scotland, Owen met and fell in love with Ann (or Anne) Caroline Dale, daughter of David Dale, a Glasgow philanthropist and the proprietor of the large New Lanark Mills. After their marriage on 30 September 1799, the Owens set up home in New Lanark, but later moved to Braxfield, Scotland.[9][12][13]

Robert and Caroline Owen had eight children, the first of whom died in infancy. Their seven survivors were four sons and three daughters: Robert Dale (1801–1877), William (1802–1842), Ann (or Anne) Caroline (1805–1831), Jane Dale (1805–1861), David Dale (1807–1860), Richard Dale (1809–1890) and Mary (1810–1832).[9][4][14] Owen's four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale and Richard, and his daughter Jane Dale, followed their father to the United States, becoming US citizens and permanent residents in New Harmony, Indiana. Owen's wife Caroline and two of their daughters, Anne Caroline and Mary, remained in Britain, where they died in the 1830s.[15][16]

New Lanark mill

In July 1799 Owen and his partners bought the New Lanark mill from David Dale, and Owen became its manager in January 1800.[9][12] Encouraged by his management success in Manchester, Owen hoped to conduct the New Lanark mill on higher principles than purely commercial ones. It had been established in 1785 by David Dale and Richard Arkwright. Its water power provided by the falls of the River Clyde turned its cotton-spinning operation into one of Britain's largest. About 2,000 individuals were involved, 500 of them children brought to the mill at the age of five or six from the poorhouses and charities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Dale, known for his benevolence, treated the children well, but the general condition of New Lanark residents was unsatisfactory, despite efforts by Dale and his son-in-law Owen to improve their workers' lives.[17][18]

Many of the workers were from the lowest social levels: theft, drunkenness and other vices were common and education and sanitation neglected. Most families lived in one room. More respected people rejected the long hours and demoralising drudgery of the mills.[19]

Truck system of payment by order of Robert Owen and Benj Woolfield, National Equitable Labour Exchange, July 22nd 1833.

Until a series of Truck Acts (1831–1887) required employers to pay their employees in common currency, many operated a truck system, paying workers wholly or in part with tokens that had no monetary value outside the mill owner's "truck shop", which charged high prices for shoddy goods.[20] Unlike others, Owen's truck store offered goods at prices only slightly above their wholesale cost,[12] passing on the savings from bulk purchases to his customers and placing alcohol sales under strict supervision. These principles became the basis for Britain's Co-operative shops, some of which continue in altered forms to trade today.[10][21]

Philosophy and influence

Owen tested his social and economic ideas at New Lanark, where he won his workers' confidence and continued to have success through the improved efficiency at the mill. The community also earned an international reputation. Social reformers, statesmen and royalty, including the future Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, visited New Lanark to study its methods.[12][22] The opinions of many such visitors were favourable.[23]

Owen's biggest success was in support of youth education and early child care. As a pioneer in Britain, notably Scotland, Owen provided an alternative to the "normal authoritarian approach to child education".[24] The manners of children brought up under his system were more graceful, genial and unconstrained; health, plenty and contentment prevailed; drunkenness was almost unknown and illegitimacy extremely rare. Owen's relations with his workers remained excellent and operations at the mill proceeded smoothly and regularly as a commercial success.[19][12]

However, some of Owen's schemes displeased his partners, forcing him to arrange for other investors to buy his share of the business in 1813, for the equivalent of US $800,000.[12] The new investors, who included Jeremy Bentham and the well-known Quaker William Allen, were content to accept a £5,000 return on their capital.[19] The ownership change also provided Owen with a chance to broaden his philanthropy, advocating improvements in workers' rights and child labour laws, and free education for children.[12]

In 1813 Owen authored and published A New View of Society, or Essays on the Principle of the Formation of the Human Character, the first of four essays he wrote to explain the principles behind his philosophy of socialistic reform.[25] Owen had originally been a follower of the classical liberal, utilitarian Jeremy Bentham, who believed that free markets, in particular the right of workers to move and choose their employers, would release workers from the excessive power of capitalists. However, Owen developed his own, pro-socialist outlook. In addition, Owen as a deist, criticised organised religion, including the Church of England, and developed a belief system of his own.[26][27]

Owen felt that human character is formed by conditions over which individuals have no control. Thus individuals could not be praised or blamed for their behaviour or situation in life. This principle led Owen to conclude that the correct formation of people's characters called for placing them under proper environmental influences – physical, moral and social – from their earliest years. These notions of inherent irresponsibility in humans and the effect of early influences on an individual's character formed the basis of Owen's system of education and social reform.[28]

Relying on his own observations, experiences and thoughts, Owen saw his view of human nature as original and "the most basic and necessary constituent in an evolving science of society".[29] His philosophy was influenced by Sir Isaac Newton's views on natural law, and his views resembled those of Plato, Denis Diderot, Claude Adrien Helvétius, William Godwin, John Locke, James Mill, and Jeremy Bentham, among others. Owen did not have the direct influence of Enlightenment philosophers.[29][30]

Owen's work at New Lanark continued to have significance in Britain and continental Europe. He was a "pioneer in factory reform, the father of distributive cooperation, and the founder of nursery schools."[4] His schemes for educating his workers included opening an Institute for the Formation of Character at New Lanark in 1818. This and other programmes at New Lanark provided free education from infancy to adulthood.[25][9] In addition, he zealously supported factory legislation that culminated in the Cotton Mills and Factories Act of 1819. Owen also had interviews and communications with leading members of the British government, including its premier, Robert Banks Jenkinson, Lord Liverpool. He also met many of the rulers and leading statesmen of Europe.[31][32]

Owen adopted new principles to raise the standard of goods his workers produced. A cube with faces painted in different colours was installed above each machinist's workplace. The colour of the face showed to all who saw it the quality and quantity of goods the worker completed. The intention was to encourage workers to do their best. Although it was no great incentive in itself, conditions at New Lanark for workers and their families were idyllic for the time.[32][31]

Eight-hour day

Owen raised the demand for an eight-hour day in 1810 and set about instituting the policy at New Lanark. By 1817 he had formulated the goal of an eight-hour workday and the slogan "eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest."[33]

Models for socialism (1817)

A statue commemorating Owen in Manchester, in front of The Co-operative Bank.

Owen embraced socialism in 1817, a turning point in his life, and began pursuing what he described as a "New View of Society".[18] He outlined his position in a report to the committee of the House of Commons on the country's Poor Laws.[34] In addition, as misery and trade stagnation after the Napoleonic Wars captured national attention, the government invited Owen to offer advice on what to do to alleviate the industrial concerns. Although Owen attributed the immediate misery to the wars, he argued that the underlying cause was competition of human labour with machinery, and recommended setting up self-sufficient communities.[4]

Owen proposed that communities of some 1,200 people should settle on land from 1,000 to 1,500 acres (405 to 607 ha), all living in one building with a public kitchen and dining halls. (The proposed size is likely to have been influenced by the size of the village of New Lanark.) Owen also proposed that each family have its own private apartments and the responsibility for the care of its children up to the age of three. Thereafter children would be raised by the community, but their parents would have access to them at mealtimes and on other occasions. Owen further suggested that such communities be established by individuals, parishes, counties, or other governmental units. In each case there would be effective supervision by qualified persons. Work and enjoyment of its results should be experienced communally. Owen believed his idea would be the best way to reorganise society in general,[19][31] and called his vision the "New Moral World."[25]

Owen's utopian model changed little in his lifetime. His developed model envisaged an association of 500–3,000 people as the optimum for a working community. While mainly agricultural, it would possess the best machinery, offer varied employment, and as far as possible be self-contained. Owen went on to explain that as such communities proliferated, "unions of them federatively united shall be formed in circle of tens, hundreds and thousands", linked by common interest.[35]

Arguments against Owen and his answers

Owen always tried to spread his ideas to wider communities. First, he started publishing his ideas in newspapers. Owen then sent such newspapers widely to parliamentarians, politicians and other important people. These articles spurred the first negative reactions to his ideas.

Opponents thought that Owen's plans would result in an uncontrollable increase in population and poverty. The other main criticism was that Owen's plan and the common use of everything would essentially make the country one large workshop. William Hone claimed that Owen saw people as plants unravelled plants from their roots, and that he wanted to plant them in rectangles. Another commentator accused Owen of wanting to imprison people in workshops like barracks and eradicate their personal independence.

Owen's opponents had begun to regard him as an enemy of religion. His influence in ruling circles, which he had hoped would help him to accomplish his "plan", started diminishing and rumours of his lack of religious conviction spread. Owen believed that without a change in the character of individuals and the environment in which they live, they would remain hostile to those around them. As long as such a social order continued, the positive aspects of Christianity could never be put into practice. Owen also considered it necessary to give people more freedom in order to improve the situation of the poor and working classes. Unless people were better educated, unless they gained more useful information and had permanent employment, they were a danger to the security of the state when given more freedom than the British Constitution did at the time. Without making any changes in the national institutions, he believed that even reorganizing the working classes would bring great benefits. So he opposed the views of radicals seeking to change in the public mentality by expanding voting rights.[36]

Other notable critics of Owen include Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who viewed his work as a precursor to their own.[37] Their criticism had several major points but focused on differentiating their ideas for a socialist state from Owen's utopian societies.[38] The first major argument was that Owen's plan, to create a model socialist utopia to coexist with contemporary society and prove its superiority over time, was insufficient to create a new society.[38] They argued that a socialist utopia could only be achieved by revolution, because the bourgeois society would be able to deflect and block peaceful attempts.[38] Marx and Engels' next critique was that Owen's society was not realistic to human nature.[38] Owen believed that once people's basic needs are fulfilled, they would not desire anything more and be content.[38] Marx and Engels argued that this went against human nature and people would not ever be happy with complete equality in a static society, and so their design for a socialist society calls for continued economic growth under a new system to avoid this.[38] Lastly, they argued that Owen's process of developing his society was too abstract and not grounded in any data or real-world observations.[38] This approach was viewed by Marx and Engels as unscientific and they believed it made the ideas less marketable and the plan less likely to succeed if actually enacted.[38] Instead they developed their ideas for revolution by using a more scientific analysis of existing societies.[38]

Community experiments

New Moral World, Owen's envisioned successor of New Harmony. Owenites fired bricks to build it, but it was never constructed.

To test the viability of his ideas for self-sufficient working communities, Owen began experimenting in communal living in America in 1825. Among the most famous efforts was the one set up at New Harmony, Indiana.[4] Of the 130 identifiable communitarian experiments in America before the American Civil War, at least 16 were Owenite or Owenite-influenced. New Harmony was Owen's earliest and most ambitious of these.[23]

Owen and his son William sailed to America in October 1824 to establish an experimental community in Indiana.[39] In January 1825 Owen used a portion of his own funds to purchase an existing town of 180 buildings and several thousand acres of land along the Wabash River in Indiana. George Rapp's Harmony Society, the religious group that owned the property and had founded the communal village of Harmony (or Harmonie) on the site in 1814, decided in 1824 to relocate to Pennsylvania. Owen renamed it New Harmony and made the village his preliminary model for a utopian community.[25][40][41]

Owen sought support for his socialist vision among American thinkers, reformers, intellectuals and public statesmen. On 25 February and 7 March 1825, Owen gave addresses in the U.S. House of Representatives to the U.S. Congress and others in the US government, outlining his vision for the utopian community at New Harmony, and his socialist beliefs.[25][42] The audience for his ideas included three former U.S. presidents – John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison) – as well as the outgoing US President James Monroe, and the President-elect, John Quincy Adams.[43] His meetings were perhaps the first discussions of socialism in the Americas; they were certainly a big step towards discussion it in the United States. Owenism, among the first socialist ideologies active in the United States, can be seen as an instigator of the modern socialist movement.[20][19]

Owen convinced William Maclure, a wealthy Scottish scientist and philanthropist living in Philadelphia to join him at New Harmony and become his financial partner. Maclure's involvement went on to attract scientists, educators and artists such as Thomas Say, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, and Madame Marie Duclos Fretageot. These helped to turn the New Harmony community into a centre for educational reform, scientific research and artistic expression.[25][44]

Although Owen sought to build a "Village of Unity and Mutual Cooperation" south of town, his grand plan was never fully realised, and Owen returned to Britain to continue his work. During his long absences from New Harmony, Owen left the experiment under the day-to-day management of his sons, Robert Dale Owen and William Owen, and his business partner, Maclure. However, New Harmony proved to be an economic failure, lasting about two years, although it had attracted over a thousand residents by the end of its first year. The socialistic society was dissolved in 1827, but many of its scientists, educators, artists and other inhabitants, including Owen's four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale, and Richard Dale Owen, and his daughter Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy, remained at New Harmony after the experiment ended.[9][25][44]

Other utopian experiments in the United States included communal settlements at Blue Spring, near Bloomington, Indiana, at Yellow Springs, Ohio, and at Forestville Commonwealth at Earlton, New York, as well as other projects in New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Nearly all of these had ended before New Harmony was dissolved in April 1827.[45][46]

Owen's utopian communities attracted a mix of people, many with the highest aims. They included vagrants, adventurers and other reform-minded enthusiasts. In the words of Owen's son David Dale Owen, they attracted "a heterogeneous collection of Radicals", "enthusiastic devotees to principle," and "honest latitudinarians, and lazy theorists," with "a sprinkling of unprincipled sharpers thrown in."[47]

Josiah Warren, a participant at New Harmony, asserted that it was doomed to failure for lack of individual sovereignty and personal property. In describing the community, Warren explained: "We had a world in miniature — we had enacted the French revolution over again with despairing hearts instead of corpses as a result.... It appeared that it was nature's own inherent law of diversity that had conquered us... our "united interests" were directly at war with the individualities of persons and circumstances and the instinct of self-preservation...."[48] Warren's observations on the reasons for the community's failure led to the development of American individualist anarchism, of which he was its original theorist.[49] Some historians have traced the demise of New Harmony to a series of disagreements among its members.[50]

Social experiments also began in Scotland in 1825, when Abram Combe, an Owenite, attempted a utopian experiment at Orbiston, near Glasgow, but this failed after about two years.[51] In the 1830s, additional experiments in socialistic cooperatives were made in Ireland and Britain, the most important being at Ralahine, established in 1831 in County Clare, Ireland, and at Tytherley, begun in 1839 in Hampshire, England. The former proved a remarkable success for three-and-a-half years until the proprietor, having ruined himself by gambling, had to sell his interest. Tytherley, known as Harmony Hall or Queenwood College, was designed by the architect Joseph Hansom.[52] This also failed. Another social experiment, Manea Colony in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, launched in the late 1830s by William Hodson, likewise an Owenite, but it failed in a couple of years and Hodson emigrated to the United States. The Manea Colony site has been excavated by Cambridge Archaeology Unit (CAU) based at the University of Cambridge.[53]

Return to Britain

Portrait of Owen by John Cranch, 1845

Although Owen made further brief visits to the United States, London became his permanent home and the centre of his work in 1828. After extended friction with William Allen and some other business partners, Owen relinquished all connections with New Lanark.[9][50] He is often quoted in a comment by Allen at the time, "All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer".[54] Having invested most of his fortune in the failed New Harmony communal experiment, Owen was no longer a wealthy capitalist. However, he remained the head of a vigorous propaganda effort to promote industrial equality, free education for children and adequate living conditions in factory towns, while delivering lectures in Europe and publishing a weekly newspaper to gain support for his ideas.[50]

In 1832 Owen opened the National Equitable Labour Exchange system,[9][55] a time-based currency in which the exchange of goods was effected by means of labour notes; this system superseded the usual means of exchange and middlemen. The London exchange continued until 1833, a Birmingham branch operating for just a few months until July 1833.[56] Owen also became involved in trade unionism, briefly leading the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union (GNCTU) before its collapse in 1834.[9]

Socialism first became current in British terminology in discussions of the Association of all Classes of all Nations, which Owen formed in 1835 and served as its initial leader.[57][58] Owen's secular views also gained enough influence among the working classes to cause the Westminster Review to comment in 1839 that his principles were the creed of many of them.[59][31] However, by 1846, the only lasting result of Owen's agitation for social change, carried on through public meetings, pamphlets, periodicals, and occasional treatises, remained the Co-operative movement, and for a time even that seemed to have collapsed.[19][31][20]

Role in spiritualism

Tomb of Robert Owen, Newtown, Powys

In 1817, Owen publicly claimed that all religions were false.[60] In 1854, aged 83, Owen converted to spiritualism after a series of sittings with Maria B. Hayden, an American medium credited with introducing spiritualism to England. He made a public profession of his new faith in his publication The Rational Quarterly Review and in a pamphlet, The future of the Human race; or great glorious and future revolution to be effected through the agency of departed spirits of good and superior men and women.[61]

Owen claimed to have had medium contact with spirits of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others. He explained that the purpose of these was to change "the present, false, disunited and miserable state of human existence, for a true, united and happy state... to prepare the world for universal peace, and to infuse into all the spirit of charity, forbearance and love."[62]

Spiritualists claimed after Owen's death that his spirit had dictated to the medium Emma Hardinge Britten in 1871 the "Seven Principles of Spiritualism", used by their National Union as "the basis of its religious philosophy".[63]

Later years

As Owen grew older and more radical in his views, his influence began to decline.[50] Owen published his memoirs, The Life of Robert Owen, in 1857, a year before his death.[9]

Death and legacy

Crowds of locals gather to commemorate Robert Owen at his grave in Newtown, Powys, in the 1890s

Although he had spent most of his life in England and Scotland, Owen returned to his native village of Newtown at the end of his life. He died there on 17 November 1858 and was buried there on 21 November. He died penniless apart from an annual income drawn from a trust established by his sons in 1844.[9][4][64]

Owen as a reformer, philanthropist, community builder, and spiritualist who spent his life seeking to improve the lives of others. An advocate of the working class, he improved working conditions for factory workers, which he demonstrated at New Lanark, Scotland, became a leader in trade unionism, promoted social equality through his experimental utopian communities, and supported the passage of child labour laws and free education for children.[50] In these reforms he was ahead of his time. He envisioned a communal society that others could consider and apply as they wished.[65] In Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race (1849), he went on to say that character is formed by a combination of Nature or God and the circumstances of the individual's experience.[66] Citing beneficial results at New Lanark, Scotland, during 30 years of work there, Owen concluded that a person's "character is not made by, but for the individual,"[67] and that nature and society are responsible for each person's character and conduct.[68]

Owen's agitation for social change, along with the work of the Owenites and of his own children, helped to bring lasting social reforms in women's and workers' rights, establish free public libraries and museums, child care and public, co-educational schools, and pre-Marxian communism, and develop the Co-operative and trade union movements. New Harmony, Indiana, and New Lanark, Scotland, two towns with which he is closely associated, remain as reminders of his efforts.[25][69]

Owen's legacy of public service continued with his four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale, and Richard Dale, and his daughter, Jane, who followed him to America to live at New Harmony, Indiana:

• Robert Dale Owen (1801–1877), an able exponent of his father's doctrines, managed the New Harmony community after his father returned to Britain in 1825. He wrote articles and co-edited with Frances Wright the New-Harmony Gazette in the late 1820s in Indiana and the Free Enquirer in the 1830s in New York City. Owen returned to New Harmony in 1833 and became active in Indiana politics. He was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives (1836–1839 and 1851–1853) and U.S. House of Representatives (1843–1847), and was appointed chargé d'affaires in Naples in 1853–1858. While serving as a member of Congress, he drafted and helped to secure passage of a bill founding the Smithsonian Institution in 1846. He was elected a delegate to the Indiana Constitutional Convention in 1850,[4][70][71][72] and argued in support of widows and married women's property and divorce rights. He also favoured legislation for Indiana's tax-supported public school system.[26] Like his father, he believed in spiritualism, authoring two books on the subject: Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1859) and The Debatable Land Between this World and the Next (1872).[15][73]
• William Owen (1802–1842) moved to the United States with his father in 1824. His business skill, notably his knowledge of cotton-goods manufacturing, allowed him to remain at New Harmony after his father returned to Scotland, and serve as adviser to the community. He organised New Harmony's Thespian Society in 1827, but died of unknown causes at the age of 40.[16][74][75]
• Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy (1805–1861) arrived in the United States in 1833 and settled in New Harmony. She was a musician and educator who set up a school in her home. In 1835 she married Robert Henry Fauntleroy, a civil engineer from Virginia who lived at New Harmony.[76][77][78]
• David Dale Owen (1807–1860) moved to the United States in 1827 and resided at New Harmony for several years. He trained as a geologist and natural scientist and earned a medical degree. He was appointed a United States geologist in 1839. His work included geological surveys in the Midwest, more specifically the states of Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas, as well as Minnesota Territory. His brother Richard succeeded him as state geologist of Indiana.[79][80]
• Richard Dale Owen (1810–1890) emigrated to the United States in 1827 and joined his siblings at New Harmony. He fought in the Mexican–American War in 1847, taught natural science at Western Military Institute in Tennessee in 1849–1859, and earned a medical degree in 1858. During the American Civil War he was a colonel in the Union army and served as a commandant of Camp Morton, a prisoner-of-war camp for Confederate soldiers at Indianapolis, Indiana. After the war, Owen served as Indiana's second state geologist. In addition, he was a professor at Indiana University and chaired its natural science department in 1864–1879. He helped plan Purdue University and was appointed its first president in 1872–1874, but resigned before its first classes began and resumed teaching at Indiana University. He spent his retirement years on research and writing.[80][81][82]

Honours and tributes

Robert Owen Memorial, next to The Reformers Memorial, Kensal Green Cemetery, London

• The Co-operative Movement erected a monument to Robert Owen in 1902 at his burial site in Newtown, Powys.[4]
• The Welsh people donated a bust of Owen by Welsh sculptor Sir William Goscombe John to the International Labour Office library in Geneva, Switzerland.[4]
Selected published works[edit]
• A New View of Society: Or, Essays on the Formation of Human Character, and the Application of the Principle to Practice (London, 1813). Retitled, A New View of Society: Or, Essays on the Formation of Human Character Preparatory to the Development of a Plan for Gradually Ameliorating the Condition of Mankind, for second edition, 1816
• Observations on the Effect of the Manufacturing System. (London, 1815)
• Report to the Committee of the Association for the Relief of the Manufacturing and Labouring Poor (1817).[83]
• Two Memorials on Behalf of the Working Classes (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 181[84]
• An Address to the Master Manufacturers of Great Britain: On the Present Existing Evils in the Manufacturing System (Bolton, 1819)
• Report to the County of Lanark of a Plan for relieving Public Distress (Glasgow: Glasgow University Press, 1821)
• An Explanation of the Cause of Distress which pervades the civilised parts of the world (London and Paris, 1823)
• An Address to All Classes in the State (London, 1832)
• The Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race (London, 1849)

Collected works:

• A New View of Society and Other Writings, introduction by G.D.H. Cole (London and New York: J.M. Dent & Sons, E.P. Dutton and Co., 1927)
• A New View of Society and Other Writings, G. Claeys, ed. (London and New York: Penguin Books, 1991)
• The Selected Works of Robert Owen, G. Claeys, ed., 4 vols. (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1993)

Archival collections:

• Robert Owen Collection, National Co-operative Archive, United Kingdom.[85]
• New Harmony, Indiana, Collection, 1814-1884, 1920, 1964, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States[86]
• New Harmony Series III Collection, Workingmen's Institute, New Harmony, Indiana, United States[87]
• Owen family collection, 1826-1967, bulk 1830-1890, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington, Indiana, United States[88]

See also

• Cincinnati Time Store
• José María Arizmendiarrieta
• Labour voucher
• List of Owenite communities in the United States
• Owenstown
• Owenism
• William King


1. Douglas F. Dowd. "Robert Owen". Encyclopædia Britannica (Online academic ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
2. Arthur H. Estabrook (1923). "The Family History of Robert Owen". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 19 (1): 63 and 69. Retrieved 29 August 2017. See also: Frank Podmore (1907). Robert Owen: A Biography. I. New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 2, 4.
3. Estabrook, p. 63; Podmore, pp. 15–17.
4. Sir James Frederick Rees (2007). "Owen, Robert (1771–1858), Utopian Socialist". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 30 August 2017. (online version)
5. Podmore, pp. 23 and 41.
6. A memorial plaque marks the firm's location."Owen Blue Plaque". 6 February 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
7. Podmore, pp. 42–43.
8. Podmore, pp. 47–48.
9. "Robert Owen Timeline". Robert Owen Museum. 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
10. Thornber, Craig. "Thomas Percival, 1740-1804". Chesire Antiquities. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
11. Kimberling, Clark. "Robert Owen (1771-1858) social reformer, founder of New Harmony". University of Evansville. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
12. Estabrook, p. 64.
13. Robert Dale Owen (1874). Threading My Way, Twenty-seven Years of Autobiography. New York and London: G. W. Carleton and Company; Trubner and Company. p. 56.
14. Estabrook, pp. 72, 80 and 83Victor Lincoln Albjerg (March 1946). Richard Owen: Scotland 1810, Indiana 1890. The Archives of Purdue, no. 2. Lafayette, Indiana. p. 16. See also"Richard Owen". Indiana Department of Administration. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
15. Estabrook, p. 72.
16. Pitzer, "Why New Harmony is World Famous," in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, p. 11.
17. Estabrook, p. 70.
18. John F. C. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Donald E. Pitzer, ed. (1972). Robert Owen's American Legacy: Proceedings of the Robert Owen Bicentennial Conference. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. p. 34. OCLC 578923.
19. cullen, Alex (1891). "Adventures in Socialism New Lanark establishment and Orbiston community". Retrieved 30 August 2018.
20. Weekes, Richard (2004). The British retail co-operative movement (PDF) (MSa). University of Central Lancashire. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
21. Bloy, Marjie (4 March 2016). "Robert Owen and the Co-operative movement". A web of English History. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
22. Kent Schuette (Spring 2014). "New Harmony, Indiana: Three Great Community Experiments". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 45.
23. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 37.
24. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America, " in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 40.
25. Linda C. Gugin and James E. St. Clair, eds. (2015). Indiana's 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. pp. 269–70. ISBN 978-0-87195-387-2.
26. Donald E. Pitzer (Spring 2014). "Why New Harmony is World Famous". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 12.
27. Ryan Rokicki (Spring 2014). "Science in Utopia: New Harmony's Naturalistic Legacy". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 52.
28. Merle Curti, "Robert Owen in American Thought," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 62.
29. Curti, "Robert Owen in American Thought," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 61.
30. "Panel Discussion," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 85.
31. Dowd, Douglas. "Robert Owen: British Social Reformer". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
32. "Robert Owen". Economist. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
33. Ward, Marguerite (3 May 2017). "A brief history of the 8-hour workday, which changed how Americans work". CNBC. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
34. Owen, Robert (12 March 1817). "To the Chairman of The Committee on the Nation's Poor Laws". University of Texas. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
35. Bloy, Marjie (4 March 2016). "Robert Owen and 'villages of co-operation'". A web of English History. Retrieved 30 August2018.
36. Aybay, Rona (2005). Sosyalizmin öncülerinden Robert Owen: Yaşamı, öğretisi, eylemi. İstanbul: YKY.
37. Marx, Karl, 1818–1883, author, The Communist manifesto, ISBN 978-1-5189-2555-9, OCLC 952691991, retrieved 6 May2020
38. Paden, Roger (2002). "Marx's Critique of the Utopian Socialists". Utopian Studies. 13: 67–91 – via JSTOR.
39. Richard William Leopold (1940). Robert Dale Owen, A Biography. Harvard Historical Studies. 45. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 21. OCLC 774894.
40. Karl J. R. Arndt (1965). George Rapp's Harmony Society 1785–1847. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 298.
41. Spiegel, Henry William (1971). The Growth of Economic Thought. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc. pp. 441–442.
42. Estabrook, p. 66. See also Robert Owen (1840). Manifesto of Robert Owen: The discoverer, Founder, and Promulgator, of the Rational System of Society, and of the Rational Religion. p. 14.
43. Rowland Hill Harvey (1947). Robert Owen: Social Idealist. University of California Press. pp. 99–100.
44. Amanda S. Bryden and Connie A. Weinzapfel (Spring 2014). "Editors' Page: 'That Wonder of the West'". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 2. See also: Heather Baldus (Spring 2014). "A Broad Stroke: New Harmony's Artistic Legacy". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26(2): 25.
45. Roger D. Branigin, "Robert Owen's New Harmony: An American Heritage," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 20.
46. Forestville Commonwealth was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. See "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 13 March 2009.
47. Joseph Clayton (1908). Robert Owen: Pioneer of Social Reforms. London: A.C. Fifield.
48. Warren, Periodical Letter II (1856)
49. Riggenbach, Jeff (23 February 2011). "Josiah Warren: The First American Anarchist". Mises Institute. Retrieved 30 August2018.
50. Estabrook, p. 68.
51. Garnett, Ronald (1972). Co-operation and the Owenite Socialist Communities in Britain, 1825-45. Manchester University Press.
52. Harris, Penelope, "The Architectural Achievement of Joseph Aloysius Hansom (1803-1882), Designer of the Hansom Cab, Birmingham Town Hall, and Churches of the Catholic Revival", The Edwin Mellen Press, 2010, p. 75 ISBN 0-7734-3851-3
53. "Archaeology of 19th Century Utopia". Retrieved 6 December 2019.
54. "1828: Information from". Retrieved 13 July 2009. See also "Who said this: "all strange but thee and Me" – Literature Network Forums". Retrieved 13 July 2009.
55. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 36.
56. "Timeline". TUC History Online. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
57. Edward Royle (1998). Robert Owen and the Commencement of the Millennium. Manchester University Press. p. 56. ISBN 0-7190-5426-5.
58. Harvey, Robert Owen, p. 211.
59. A. (1839). "A letter to the Earl of Durham on Reform in Parliament, by Paying the Elected". London and Westminster Review. 32: 475–508. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
60. Richard William Leopold (1940). Robert Dale Owen, A Biography. Harvard Historical Studies. 45. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 8. OCLC 774894.
61. Lewis Spence (2003). Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Kessinger Publishing Company. p. 679.
62. Frank Podmore. Robert Owen: A Biography. II. pp. 604–5.
63. "History of Spiritualism". SNU international. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
64. Leopold, Robert Dale Owen, A Biography, p. 327.
65. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 41.
66. Robert Owen (1849). Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, or, The Coming Change from Irrationality to Rationality. London: Effingham Wilson. pp. 1 & 9. OCLC 11756751.
67. Owen, Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, p. 29. See also: Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 38.
68. Owen, Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, p. 59.
69. Branigin, "Robert Owen's New Harmony" in Robert Owen's American Legacy, pp. 21–23.
70. Estabrook, pp. 72–74.
71. "Owen, Robert Dale (1801–1877)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
72. "Owen, Robert Dale (1801–1877)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
73. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 100.
74. Estabrook, p. 80.
75. Leopold, p. 21.
76. Estabrook, pp. 82–83.
77. Elinor Pancoast and Anne E. Lincoln (1940). The Incorrigible Idealist: Robert Dale Owen in America. Bloomington, Indiana: Principia Press. p. 25. OCLC 2000563.
78. Josephine Mirabella Elliott (December 1964). "The Owen Family Papers". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 60 (4): 343. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
79. Estabrook, pp. 88–89.
80. Leopold, Robert Dale Owen, A Biography, pp. 50–51.
81. Elliott, pp. 343–44.
82. Estabrook, pp. 94–95.
83. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 32
84. Robert Owen (1818). Two Memorials Behalf of the Working Classes. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.
85. The collection includes papers and letters as well as pamphlets and books. See "National Co-operative Archive". Archived from the original on 3 October 2006. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
86. The collection includes a letter describing Owen's views and documents related to the New Harmony community. See "New Harmony Collection, 1814–1884, Collection Guide" (PDF). Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
87. Bound records of the New Harmony community. See "New Harmony Series II". Workingmen's Institute. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
88. The collection includes the correspondence, speeches, and publications of Robert Owens and his descendants. See "Owen family collection, 1826-1967, bulk 1830-1890". Archives Online at Indiana University. Retrieved 30 April 2020.


• "1828". Retrieved 13 July 2009.
• Albjerg, Victor Lincoln (March 1946). Richard Owen: Scotland 1810, Indiana 1890. The Archives of Purdue, no. 2. Lafayette, Indiana.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. (1965). George Rapp's Harmony Society 1785–1847. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
• Baldus, Heather (Spring 2014). "A Broad Stroke: New Harmony's Artistic Legacy". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 22–29.
• Bryden, Amanda S., and Connie A. Weinzapfel (Spring 2014). "Editors' Page: 'That Wonder of the West'". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 2–3.
• Clayton, Joseph (1908). Robert Owen: Pioneer of Social Reforms. London: A. C. Fifield.
• Dowd, Douglas F. "Robert Owen". Encyclopædia Britannica (Online ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
• Elliott, Josephine Mirabella (December 1964). "The Owen Family Papers". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 60 (4): 331–52. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
• Estabrook, Arthur H. (1923). "The Family History of Robert Owen". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 19 (1): 63–101. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
• Gugin, Linda C., and James E. St. Clair, eds. (2015). Indiana's 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. pp. 269–70. ISBN 978-0-87195-387-2.
• Harvey, Rowland Hill. Robert Owen: Social Idealist. Cambridge, Massachusetts: University of California. OCLC 774894.
• "History of Spiritualism". SNU international. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
• Leopold, Richard William (1940). Robert Dale Owen, A Biography. Harvard Historical Studies. 45. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. OCLC 774894.
• "New Harmony Collection, 1814-1884, Collection Guide" (PDF). Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
• "New Harmony Series II". Workingmen's Institute. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
• Owen, Robert (1840). Manifesto of Robert Owen: The discoverer, founder, and promulgator, of the rational system of society, and of the rational religion.
• Owen, Robert (1849). Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, or, The Coming Change from Irrationality to Rationality. London: Effingham Wilson. OCLC 11756751.
• "Owen, Robert Dale (1801–1877)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
• Owen, Robert Dale (1874). Threading My Way, Twenty-seven Years of Autobiography. New York; London: G. W. Carleton and company: Trubner and Company.
• Pancoast, Elinor, and Anne E. Lincoln (1940). The Incorrigible Idealist: Robert Dale Owen in America. Bloomington, Indiana: Principia Press. OCLC 2000563.
• Pitzer, Donald E. (Spring 2014). "Why New Harmony is World Famous". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 4–15.
• Pitzer, Donald E., ed. Robert Owen's American Legacy: Proceedings of the Robert Owen Bicentennial Conference. Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
• Rokicki, Ryan (Spring 2014). "Science in Utopia: New Harmony's Naturalistic Legacy". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 50–55.
• Podmore, Frank (1907). Robert Owen: A Biography. New York: D. Appleton and Company.
• Rees, Sir James Frederick (2007). "Owen, Robert (1771–1858), Utopian Socialist". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 30 August 2017. (online version)
• "Robert Owen Blue Plaque". 6 February 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
• "Robert Owen Timeline". Robert Owen Museum. 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
• "ROC–Robert Owen". National Co-operative Archive. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
• Royle, Edward (1998). Robert Owen and the Commencement of the Millennium. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-5426-5.
• Schuette, Kent (Spring 2014). "New Harmony, Indiana: Three Great Community Experiments". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 44–49.
• Spence, Lewis (2003). Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Kessinger Publishing Company. p. 679.
• "Who said this: "all strange but thee and Me"". Literature Network Forums. Retrieved 13 July 2009.

Further reading

• Owen, Robert (1920). The Life of Robert Owen. London: G. Bell and Sons.

Biographies of Owen

• A. J. Booth, Robert Owen, the Founder of Socialism in England (London, 1869)
• G. D. H. Cole, Life of Robert Owen (London, Ernest Benn Ltd., 1925)
• Lloyd Jones. The Life, Times, and Labours of Robert Owen (London, 1889).
• A. L. Morton, The Life and Ideas of Robert Owen (New York, International Publishers, 1969)
• F. A. Packard, Life of Robert Owen (Philadelphia: Ashmead & Evans, 1866)
• Frank Podmore, Robert Owen: A Biography (London: Hutchinson and Company, 1906).
• David Santilli, Life Of the Mill Man (London, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1987)
• William Lucas Sargant, Robert Owen and his social philosophy (London, 1860)
• Richard Tames, Radicals, Railways & Reform (London, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1986)

Other works about Owen

• Arthur Bestor, Backwoods Utopias (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1950, second edition, 1970).
• Gregory Claeys, Citizens and Saints. Politics and Anti-Politics in Early British Socialism (Cambridge University Press, 1989)
• Gregory Claeys, Machinery, Money and the Millennium: From Moral Economy to Socialism 1815–1860 (Princeton University Press, 1987)
• R. E. Davies, The Life of Robert Owen, Philanthropist and Social Reformer, An Appreciation (Robert Sutton, 1907)
• R. A. Davis and F. J. O'Hagan, Robert Owen (London: Continuum Press, 2010)
• E. Dolleans, Robert Owen (Paris, 1905).
• I. Donnachie, Robert Owen. Owen of New Lanark and New Harmony (2000)
• Auguste Marie Fabre, Un Socialiste Pratique, Robert Owen (Nìmes, Bureaux de l'Émancipation, 1896)
• John F. C. Harrison, Robert Owen and the Owenites in Britain and America: Quest for the New Moral World (New York, 1969).
• Alexander Herzen, My Past and Thoughts (University of California Press, 1982) (One chapter is devoted to Owen.)
• G. J. Holyoake, The History of Co-operation in England: Its Literature and Its Advocates V. 1 (London, 1906)
• G. J. Holyoake, The History of Co-operation in England: Its Literature and Its Advocates V. 2 (London, 1906)
• The National Library of Wales, A Bibliography of Robert Owen, The Socialist (1914)
• Pollard, Sidney, and John Salt, eds. (1971). Robert Owen, Prophet of the Poor; Essays in Honor of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of His Birth (1st American ed.). Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Bucknell University Press. ISBN 0838779522.
• H. Simon, Robert Owen: Sein Leben und Seine Bedeutung für die Gegenwart (Jena, 1905)
• O. Siméon, Robert Owen's Experiment at New Lanark. From Paternalism to Socialism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

External links

• Works by or about Robert Owen in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
• Brief biography at the New Lanark World Heritage Site
• The Robert Owen Museum, Newtown, Wales
• Video of Owen's wool mill
• Brief biography at Cotton Times
• "Robert Owen (1771-1858) social reformer, founder of New Harmony", University of Evansville, Indiana
• "Robert Owen and the Co-operative movement"
• Brief biography at The History Guide
• Brief biography at
• Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism at PBS
• "Owen, Robert" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
• "Owen, Robert" . New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
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New Harmony, Indiana
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/18/20

New Harmony, Indiana
Location of New Harmony in Posey County, Indiana.
Country: United States
State: Indiana
County: Posey
Township: Harmony

New Harmony is a historic town on the Wabash River in Harmony Township, Posey County, Indiana.[6] It lies 15 miles (24 km) north of Mount Vernon, the county seat, and is part of the Evansville metropolitan area. The town's population was 789 at the 2010 census.

Established by the Harmony Society in 1814 under the leadership of George Rapp, the town was originally known as Harmony (also called Harmonie, or New Harmony). In its early years the 20,000-acre (8,100 ha) settlement was the home of Lutherans who had separated from the official church in the Duchy of Württemberg and immigrated to the United States.[7] The Harmonists built a new town in the wilderness, but in 1824 they decided to sell their property and return to Pennsylvania.[8] Robert Owen, a Welsh industrialist and social reformer, purchased the town in 1825 with the intention of creating a new utopian community and renamed it New Harmony. While the Owenite social experiment failed two years after it began, the community made some important contributions to American society.[9]

New Harmony became known as a center for advances in education and scientific research. Town residents established the first free library, a civic drama club, and a public school system open to men and women. Its prominent citizens included Owen's sons: Robert Dale Owen, an Indiana congressman and social reformer who sponsored legislation to create the Smithsonian Institution; David Dale Owen, a noted state and federal geologist; William Owen, a New Harmony businessman; and Richard Owen, Indiana state geologist, Indiana University professor, and first president of Purdue University. The town also served as the second headquarters of the U.S. Geological Survey. Numerous scientists and educators contributed to New Harmony's intellectual community, including William Maclure, Marie Louise Duclos Fretageot, Thomas Say, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, Joseph Neef, Frances Wright, and others.

Many of the town's old Harmonist buildings have been restored. These structures, along with others related to the Owenite community, are included in the New Harmony Historic District. Contemporary additions to the town include the Roofless Church and Atheneum.[9] The New Harmony State Memorial is located south of town on State Road 69 in Harmonie State Park.

Photo from Small Town Indiana photo survey.


Harmonist settlement (1814–1824)

The town of Harmony was founded by the Harmony Society in 1814 under the leadership of German immigrant George Rapp (born Johann Georg Rapp). It was the second of three towns built by the pietist, communal religious group, known as Harmonists, Harmonites, or Rappites. The Harmonists settled in the Indiana Territory after leaving Harmony, Pennsylvania, where westward expansion, the area's rising population, jealous neighbors, and the increasing cost of land threatened the Society's desire for isolation.[10]

In April 1814 Anna Mayrisch, John L. Baker, and Ludwick Shirver (Ludwig Schreiber) traveled west in search of a new location for their congregation, one that would have fertile soil and access to a navigable waterway.[11] By May 10 the men had found suitable land along the Wabash River in the Indiana Territory and made an initial purchase of approximately 7,000 acres (28 km2). Rapp wrote on May 10, "The place is 25 miles from the Ohio mouth of the Wabash, and 12 miles from where the Ohio makes its curve first before the mouth. The town will be located about 1/4 mile from the river above on the channel on a plane as level as the floor of a room, perhaps a good quarter mile from the hill which lies suitable for a vineyard."[12] Although Rapp expressed concern that the town's location lacked a waterworks, the area provided an opportunity for expansion and access to markets through the nearby rivers, causing him to remark, "In short, the place has all the advantages which one could wish, if a steam engine meanwhile supplies what is lacking."[12]

The first Harmonists left Pennsylvania in June 1814 and traveled by flatboat to their new land in the Indiana Territory. In May 1815 the last of the Harmonists who had remained behind until the sale of their town in Pennsylvania was completed departed for their new town along the Wabash River.[13] Frederick Reichert Rapp, George Rapp's adopted son, drew up the town plan for their new village at Harmony, Indiana, which surveyors laid out on August 8, 1814.[14] By 1816, the same year that Indiana became a state, the Harmonists had acquired 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land, built 160 homes and other buildings, and cleared 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) for their new town.[15] The settlement also began to attract new arrivals, including emigrants from Germany such as members of Rapp's congregation from Wurttemberg, many of whom expected the Harmonists to pay for their passage to America.[16] However, the new arrivals "were more of a liability than an asset".[17] On March 20, 1819, Rapp commented, "It is astonishing how much trouble the people who have arrived here have made, for they have no morals and do not know what it means to live a moral and well-mannered life, not to speak of true Christianity, of denying the world or yourself."[18]

Visitors to Harmony commented on the commercial and industrial work being done in this religious settlement along the Wabash River. "It seemed as though I found myself in the midst of Germany," noted one visitor.[19] In 1819 the town had a steam-operated wool carding and spinning factory, a horse-drawn and human-powered threshing machine, a brewery, distillery, vineyards, and a winery. The property included an orderly town, "laid out in a square", with a church, school, store, dwellings for residents, and streets to create "the most beautiful city of western America, because everything is built in the most perfect symmetry".[19] Other visitors were not as impressed: "hard labor & coarse fare appears to be the lot of all except the family of Rapp, he lives in a large & handsome brick house while the rest inhabit small log cabins. How so numerous a population are kept quietly & tamely in absolute servitude it is hard to conceive—the women I believe do more labor in the field than the men, as large numbers of the latter are engaged in different branches of manufactures."[20] Although they were not paid for their work, the 1820 manufacturer's census reported that 75 men, 12 women, and 30 children were employed, in the Society's tanneries, saw and grain mills, and woolen and cotton mills. Manufactured goods included cotton, flannel, and wool cloth, yarn, knit goods, tin ware, rope, beer, peach brandy, whiskey, wine, wagons, carts, plows, flour, beef, pork, butter, leather, and leather goods.[21]

The Harmonist community continued to thrive during the 1820s, but correspondence from March 6, 1824, between Rapp and his adopted son, Frederick, indicates that the Harmonists planned to sell their Indiana property and were already looking for a new location.[22] In May, a decade after their arrival in Indiana, the Harmonists purchased land along the Ohio River eighteen miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and were making arrangements to advertise the sale of their property in Indiana.[23] The move, although it was made primarily for religious reasons, would provide the Harmonists with easier access to eastern markets and a place where they could live more peacefully with others who shared their German language and culture.[17] On May 24, 1824, a group of Harmonists boarded a steamboat and departed Indiana, bound for Pennsylvania, where they founded the community of Economy, the present-day town of Ambridge. In May 1825 the last Harmonists left Indiana after the sale of their 20,000 acres (81 km2) of property, which included the land and buildings, to Robert Owen for $150,000.[24][25][26] Owen hoped to establish a new community on the Indiana frontier, one that would serve as a model community for communal living and social reform.

West Street Log Cabins

Eigner Cabin

Potter Cabin

Owenite community (1825–1827)

New Harmony as envisioned by Owen[27]

Robert Owen was a social reformer and wealthy industrialist who made his fortune from textile mills in New Lanark, Scotland. Owen, his twenty-two-year-old son, William, and his Scottish friend Donald McDonald [28] sailed to the United States in 1824 to purchase a site to implement Owen's vision for "a New Moral World" of happiness, enlightenment, and prosperity through education, science, technology, and communal living. Owen believed his utopian community would create a "superior social, intellectual and physical environment" based on his ideals of social reform.[29] Owen was motivated to buy the town in order to prove his theories were viable and to correct the troubles that were affecting his mill-town community New Lanark.[30] The ready-built town of Harmony, Indiana, fitted Owen's needs. In January 1825 he signed the agreement to purchase the town, renamed it New Harmony, and invited "any and all" to join him there.[31] While many of the town's new arrivals had a sincere interest in making it a success, the experiment also attracted "crackpots, free-loaders, and adventurers whose presence in the town made success unlikely."[32] William Owen, who remained in New Harmony while his father returned east to recruit new residents, also expressed concern in his diary entry, dated March 24, 1825: "I doubt whether those who have been comfortable and content in their old mode of life, will find an increase of enjoyment when they come here. How long it will require to accustom themselves to their new mode of living, I am unable to determine."[33]

When Robert Owen returned to New Harmony in April 1825 he found seven hundred to eight hundred residents and a "chaotic" situation, much in need of leadership.[34] By May 1825 the community had adopted the "Constitution of the Preliminary Society," which loosely outlined its expectations and government. Under the preliminary constitution, members would provide their own household goods and invest their capital at interest in an enterprise that would promote independence and social equality. Members would render services to the community in exchange for credit at the town's store, but those who did not want to work could purchase credit at the store with cash payments made in advance.[35] In addition, the town would be governed by a committee of four members chosen by Owen and the community would elect three additional members.[36] In June, Robert Owen left William in New Harmony while he traveled east to continue promoting his model community and returned to Scotland, where he sold his interests in the New Lanark textile mills and arranged financial support for his wife and two daughters, who chose to remain in Scotland.[37] Owen's four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale, and Richard, and a daughter, Jane Dale, later settled in New Harmony.[38][39]

While Owen was away recruiting new residents for New Harmony, a number of factors that led to an early breakup of the socialist community had already begun. Members grumbled about inequity in credits between workers and non-workers.[40] In addition, the town soon became overcrowded, lacked sufficient housing, and was unable to produce enough to become self-sufficient, although they still had "high hopes for the future."[41] Owen spent only a few months at New Harmony, where a shortage of skilled craftsmen and laborers along with inadequate and inexperienced supervision and management contributed to its eventual failure.[42]

Despite the community's shortcomings, Owen was a passionate promoter of his vision for New Harmony. While visiting Philadelphia, Owen met Marie Louise Duclos Fretageot, a Pestalozzian educator, and persuaded her to join him in Indiana. Fretageot encouraged William Maclure, a scientist and fellow educator, to become a part of the venture. (Maclure became Owen's financial partner.) On January 26, 1826, Fretegeot, Maclure, and a number of their colleagues, including Thomas Say, Josef Neef, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, and others aboard the keelboat Philanthropist (also called the "Boatload of Knowledge"), arrived in New Harmony to help Owen establish his new experiment in socialism.[43]

On February 5, 1826, the town adopted a new constitution, "The New Harmony Community of Equality", whose objective was to achieve happiness based on principles of equal rights and equality of duties. Cooperation, common property, economic benefit, freedom of speech and action, kindness and courtesy, order, preservation of health, acquisition of knowledge, and obedience to the country's laws were included as part of the constitution.[44] The constitution laid out the life of a citizen in New Harmony based on age. Children from the age of one to five were to be cared for and encouraged to exercise; children aged six to nine they were to be lightly employed and given education via observation directed by skilled teachers. Youth from the ages of ten to twelve were to help in the houses and with the gardening. Teenagers from the age of twelve to fifteen were to receive technical training, and from fifteen to twenty their education was to be continued. Young adults from the ages of twenty to thirty were to act as a superintendent in the production and education departments. Adults from the ages of thirty to forty were to govern the homes, and residents aged forty to sixty were to be encouraged to assist with the community's external relations or to travel abroad if they so desired.[45]

Although the constitution contained worthy ideals, it did not clearly address how the community would function and was never fully established.[46] Individualist anarchist Josiah Warren, who was one of the original participants in the New Harmony Society, asserted that the community was doomed to failure due to a lack of individual sovereignty and private property. He commented: "It seemed that the difference of opinion, tastes and purposes increased just in proportion to the demand for conformity. Two years were worn out in this way; at the end of which, I believe that not more than three persons had the least hope of success. Most of the experimenters left in despair of all reforms, and conservatism felt itself confirmed. We had tried every conceivable form of organization and government. We had a world in miniature. -- we had enacted the French revolution over again with despairing hearts instead of corpses as a result. ...It appeared that it was nature's own inherent law of diversity that had conquered us ...our 'united interests' were directly at war with the individualities of persons and circumstances and the instinct of self-preservation... and it was evident that just in proportion to the contact of persons or interests, so are concessions and compromises indispensable." (Periodical Letter II 1856).

Part of New Harmony's failings stemmed from three activities that Owen brought from Scotland to America. First, Owen actively attacked established religion, despite United States' constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and the separations of church and state. Second, Owen remained stubbornly attached to the principles of the rationalist Age of Enlightenment, which drove away many of the Jeffersonian farmers Owen tried to attract. Thirdly, Owen consistently appealed to the upper class for donations, but found that the strategy was not as effective as it had been in Europe.[47]

Robert Dale Owen wrote that the members of the failed socialist experiment at New Harmony were "a heterogeneous collection of radicals, enthusiastic devotees to principle, honest latitudinarians, and lazy theorists, with a sprinkling of unprincipled sharpers thrown in,"[48] and that "a plan which remunerates all alike, will, in the present condition of society, ultimately eliminate from a co-operative association the skilled, efficient and industrious members, leaving an ineffective and sluggish residue, in whose hands the experiment will fail, both socially and pecuniarily."[49] However, he still thought that "co-operation is a chief agency destined to quiet the clamorous conflicts between capital and labour; but then it must be co-operation gradually introduced, prudently managed, as now in England."[50] In 1826 splinter groups dissatisfied with the efforts of the larger community broke away from the main group and prompted a reorganization.[51]

In New Harmony work was divided into six departments, each with its own superintendent. These departments included agriculture, manufacturing, domestic economy, general economy, commerce, and literature, science and education. A governing council included the six superintendents and an elected secretary.[52] Despite the new organization and constitution, members continued to leave town.[53] By March 1827, after several other attempts to reorganize, the utopian experiment had failed.

The larger community, which lasted until 1827, was divided into smaller communities that led further disputes. Individualism replaced socialism in 1828 and New Harmony was dissolved in 1829 due to constant quarrels. The town's parcels of land and property were returned to private use.[48] Owen spent $200,000 of his own funds to purchase New Harmony property and pay off the community's debts. His sons, Robert Dale and William, gave up their shares of the New Lanark mills in exchange for shares in New Harmony. Later, Owen "conveyed the entire New Harmony property to his sons in return for an annuity of $1,500 for the remainder of his life." Owen left New Harmony in June 1827 and focused his interests in the United Kingdom. He died in 1858.[54]


New Harmony, a utopian attempt; depicted as proposed by Robert Owen


Although Robert Owen's vision of New Harmony as an advance in social reform was not realized, the town became a scientific center of national significance, especially in the natural sciences, most notably geology.

William Maclure (1763–1840), president of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia from 1817 to 1840, came to New Harmony during the winter of 1825–26.[29] Maclure brought a group of noted artists, educators, and fellow scientists, including naturalists Thomas Say and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, to New Harmony from Philadelphia aboard the Philanthropist (also known as the "Boatload of Knowledge").[55]

Thomas Say (1787–1834), a friend of Maclure, was an entomologist and conchologist. His definitive studies of shells and insects, numerous contributions to scientific journals, and scientific expeditions to Florida, Georgia, the Rocky Mountains, Mexico, and elsewhere made him an internationally known naturalist.[56] Say has been called the father of American descriptive entomology and American conchology.[29] Prior to his arrival at New Harmony, he served as librarian for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, curator at the American Philosophical Society, and professor of natural history at the University of Pennsylvania.[29] Say died in New Harmony in 1834.[57]

Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778–1846), a naturalist and artist, came to New Harmony aboard the Philanthropist. His sketches of New Harmony provide a visual record of the town during the Owenite period. As a naturalist, Lesueur is known for his classification of Great Lakes fishes. He returned to his native France in 1837.[58][59] Many species were first described by both Say and Leseuer, and many have been named in their honor.

The Church of the Harmonists; sketch by Charles Alexandre Lesueur. From the collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, one of many sketches preserved in the Lesueur Collection at the Academy. Shown here by courtesy of the Academy.

David Dale Owen (1807–1860), third son of Robert Owen, finished his formal education as a medical doctor in 1837. However, after returning to New Harmony, David Dale Owen was influenced by the work of Maclure and Gerard Troost, a Dutch geologist, mineralogist, zoologist, and chemist who arrived in New Harmony in 1825 and later became the state geologist of Tennessee from 1831 to 1850.[29] Owen went on to become a noted geologist. Headquartered at New Harmony, Owen conducted the first official geological survey of Indiana (1837–39). After his appointment as U.S. Geologist in 1839,[60] Owen led federal surveys from 1839 to 1840 and from 1847 to 1851 of the Midwestern United States, which included Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and part of northern Illinois.[61] In 1846 Owen sampled a number of possible building stones for the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Smithsonian "Castle") and recommended the distinctive Seneca Creek sandstone of which that building is constructed.[62] The following year, Owen identified a quarry at Bull Run, twenty-three miles from nation's capital, that provided the stone for the massive building.[62] Owen became the first state geologist of three states: Kentucky (1854–57), Arkansas (1857–59), and Indiana (1837–39 and 1859–60).[29][63] Owen's museum and laboratory in New Harmony was known as the largest west of the Allegheny Mountains.[64] At the time of Owen's death in 1860, his museum included some 85,000 items.[65] Among Owen's most significant publications is his Report of a Geological Survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota and Incidentally of a Portion of Nebraska Territory (Philadelphia, 1852).[66]

Several men trained Owen's leadership and influence: Benjamin Franklin Shumard, for whom the Shumard oak is named, was appointed state geologist of Texas by Governor Hardin R. Runnels;[67] Amos Henry Worthen was the second state geologist of Illinois and the first curator of the Illinois State Museum;[68] and Fielding Bradford Meek became the first full-time paleontologist in lieu of salary at the Smithsonian Institution.[69] Joseph Granville Norwood, one of David Dale Owen's colleagues and coauthors, also a medical doctor, became the first state geologist of Illinois (1851–1858).[65][70] From 1851 to 1854, the Illinois State Geological Survey was headquartered in New Harmony.

Richard Owen (1810–1890), Robert Owen's youngest son, came to New Harmony in 1828 and initially taught school there.[71] He assisted his brother, David Dale Owen, with geological survey and became Indiana's second state geologist. During the American Civil War, Colonel Richard Owen was commandant in charge of Confederate prisoners at Camp Morton in Indianapolis.[72] Following his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1864, Owen became a professor of natural sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington, where an academic building is named in his honor. In 1872 Owen became the first president of Purdue University, but resigned from this position in 1874. He continued teaching at IU until his retirement in 1879.[72][73]

Public service and social reform

Robert Dale Owen, eldest son of Robert Owen, was a social reformer and intellectual of national importance. At New Harmony, he taught school and co-edited and published the New Harmony Gazette with Frances Wright.[71][74] Owen later moved to New York. In 1830 he published "Moral Philosophy," [Moral Physiology; or, A Brief and Plain Treatise on the Population Question 1830] the first treatise in the United States to support birth control, and returned to New Harmony in 1834.[74] From 1836 to 1838, and in 1851, Owen served in the Indiana legislature and was also a delegate to the state's constitutional convention of 1850.[71] Owen was an advocate for women's rights, free public education, and opposed slavery. As a member of the U. S. House of Representatives from 1843 to 1847, Owen introduced a bill in 1846 that established the Smithsonian Institution.[75] He also served as chairman of the Smithsonian Building Committee. He arranged for his brother, David Dale Owen, to sample a large number of possible building stones for the Smithsonian Castle.[76] From 1852 to 1858 Owen held the diplomatic position of charge d'affairs (1853–1858) in Naples, where he began studying spiritualism.[77] Owen's book, Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1860), aroused something of a literary sensation. Among his critics in the Boston Investigator and at home in the New Harmony Advertiser were John and Margaret Chappellsmith, he formerly an artist for David Dale Owen's geological publications, and she a former Owenite lecturer. Robert Dales Owen died at Lake George, New York, in 1877.[77]

Frances Wright (1795–1852) came to New Harmony in 1824, where she co-edited and wrote for the New Harmony Gazette with Robert Dale Owen. In 1825 she established an experimental settlement at Nashoba, Tennessee, that allowed African American slaves to work to gain their freedom, but the community failed. A liberal leader in the "free-thought [freethought] movement," Wright opposed slavery, advocated woman's suffrage, birth control, and free public education. Wright and Robert Dale Owen moved their newspaper to New York City in 1829 and published it as the Free Enquirer.[71][78] Wright married William Philquepal d'Arusmont, a Pestalozzian educator she met at New Harmony. The couple also lived in Paris, France, and in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they divorced in 1850. Wright died in Cincinnati in 1852.[78][79]


The history of education at New Harmony involves several teachers who were already well-established in their fields before they moved to New Harmony, largely through the efforts of William Maclure. These Pestalozzian educators included Marie Duclos Fretageot and Joseph Neef. By the time Maclure arrived in New Harmony he had already established the first Pestalozzian school in America. Fretageot and Neef had been Pestalozzian educators and school administrators at Maclure's schools in Pennsylvania.[29]

Under Maclure's direction and using his philosophy of education, New Harmony schools became the first public schools in the United States open to boys and girls. Maclure also established at New Harmony one of the country's first industrial or trade schools.[80] He also had his extensive library and geological collection shipped to New Harmony from Philadelphia. In 1838 Maclure established The Working Men's Institute, a society for "mutual instruction".[81] It includes the oldest continuously operating library in Indiana, as well as a small museum. The vault in the library contains many historic manuscripts, letters, and documents pertaining to the history of New Harmony. Under the terms of his will, Maclure also offered $500 to any club or society of laborers in the United States who established a reading and lecture room with a library of at least 100 books. About 160 libraries in Indiana and Illinois took advantage of his bequest.[82][83]

Marie Duclos Fretageot managed Pestalozzian schools that Maclure organized in France and Philadelphia before coming to New Harmony aboard the Philanthropist. In New Harmony she was responsible for the infant's school (for children under age five), supervised several young women she had brought with her from Philadelphia, ran a store, and was Maclure's administrator during his residence in Mexico.[84] Fretageot remained in New Harmony until 1831, returned to France, and later joined Maclure in Mexico, where she died in 1833.[57] Correspondence of Maclure and Fretageot from 1820 to 1833 was extensive and is documented in Partnership for Posterity.[85]

Joseph Neef ( 1770–1854) published in 1808 the first work on educational method to be written in English in the United States, Sketch of A Plan and Method of Education.[86] Maclure brought Neef, a Pestalozzian educator from Switzerland, to Philadelphia, and placed him in charge of his school for boys. It was the first school in the United States to be based on Pestalozzian methods. In 1826 Neef, his wife, and children came to New Harmony to run the schools under Maclure's direction.[87][88] Neef, following Maclure's curriculum, became superintendent of the schools in New Harmony, where as many as 200 students, ranging in age from five to twelve, were enrolled.[86][87][89]

Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy (1806–1861), daughter of Robert Owen, arrived in New Harmony in 1833. She married civil engineer Robert Henry Fauntleroy in 1835. He became a business partner of David Dale and Robert Dale Owen. Jane Owen Fauntleroy established a seminary for young women in her family's New Harmony home, where her brother, David Dale Owen, taught science.[90]

Students in New Harmony now attend North Posey High School after New Harmony High School closed in 2012.[91]


Cornelius Tiebout (c. 1773–1832) was an artist, printer, and engraver of considerable fame when he joined the New Harmony community in September 1826. Tiebout taught printing and published a bimonthly newspaper, Disseminator of Useful Knowledge, and books using the town's printing press.[92][93] He died in New Harmony in 1832.[94]

Publications from New Harmony's press include William Maclure's Essay on the Formation of Rocks, or an Inquiry into the Probably Origin of their Present Form (1832); and Maclure's Structure and Observations on the Geology of the West India Islands; from Barbadoes to Santa Cruz, Inclusive (1832); Thomas Say's Description of New Species of North American Insects; Observations on Some of the Species Already Described; Descriptions of Some New Terrestrial and Fluviatile Shells of North America; and several of the early volumes of Say's American Conchology, or Descriptions of the Shells of North America. (The seventh volume of American Conchology was published in Philadelphia.)[95][96]

Lucy Sistare Say was an apprentice at Fretageot's Pestalozzian school and a former student of Lesueur in Philadelphia before coming to New Harmony aboard the Philanthropist to teach needlework and drawing. En route to Indiana, Sistare met Thomas Say and the two were married on January 4, 1827, prior to their arrival at New Harmony. An accomplished artist, Say illustrated and hand-colored 66 of the 68 illustrations in American Conchology, her husband's multi-volume work on mollusks. Following Thomas Say's death in 1834, she moved to New York, trained to become an engraver, and worked to complete and publish the final volume of American Conchology. Lucy Say remained interested in the natural sciences after returning to the East. In 1841 she became the first female member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.[97]

Publications on the history of New Harmony include the work of the New Harmony historian and resident, Josephine Mirabella Elliott.


William Owen (1802–1842), Robert Owen's second oldest son, was involved in New Harmony's business and community affairs. He was among the leaders who founded New Harmony's Thespian Society and acted in some of the group's performances.[98] Owen also helped establish the Posey County Agricultural Society and, in 1834, became director of the State Bank of Indiana, Evansville Branch. He died in New Harmony in 1842.[99]

Historic structures

Main article: New Harmony Historic District

More than 30 structures from the Harmonist and Owenite utopian communities remain as part of the New Harmony Historic District, which is a National Historic Landmark.[100] In addition, architect Richard Meier designed New Harmony's Atheneum, which serves as the Visitors Center for Historic New Harmony,[25] and depicts the history of the community. Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places are the George Bentel House, Ludwig Epple House, Harmony Way Bridge, Mattias Scholle House, and Amon Clarence Thomas House.[101]


New Harmony is located at 38°7′43″N 87°56′3″W (38.128583, −87.934122).[102] The Wabash River forms the western boundary of New Harmony. It is the westernmost settlement in Indiana.

According to the 2010 census, New Harmony has a total area of 0.65 square miles (1.68 km2), of which 0.64 square miles (1.66 km2) (or 98.46%) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) (or 1.54%) is water.[103]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, New Harmony has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[104]


Historical population

Census / Pop. / %±

1860 / 825 / —
1870 / 836 / 1.3%
1880 / 1,095 / 31.0%
1890 / 1,197 / 9.3%
1900 / 1,341 / 12.0%
1910 / 1,229 / −8.4%
1920 / 1,126 / −8.4%
1930 / 1,022 / −9.2%
1940 / 1,390 / 36.0%
1950 / 1,360 / −2.2%
1960 / 1,121 / −17.6%
1970 / 971 / −13.4%
1980 / 945 / −2.7%
1990 / 846 / −10.5%
2000 / 916 / 8.3%
2010 / 789 / −13.9%
Est. 2018 / 759 [4] / −3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[105]

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 789 people, 370 households, and 194 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,232.8 inhabitants per square mile (476.0/km2). There were 464 housing units at an average density of 725.0 per square mile (279.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 99.0% White, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Asian, and 0.6% from two or more races.

There were 370 households of which 17.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.6% were non-families. 43.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.93 and the average family size was 2.62.

The median age in the town was 55.1 years. 13.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 17.3% were from 25 to 44; 30.4% were from 45 to 64; and 33.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 43.2% male and 56.8% female.

2000 census

As of the 2000 census,[5] there were 916 people, 382 households, and 228 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,441.5 people per square mile (552.6/km²). There were 432 housing units at an average density of 679.8 per square mile (260.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.91% White, 0.55% Native American, 0.22% Asian, and 0.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.44% of the population.

There were 382 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 38.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.80.

In the town, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 21.2% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 29.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,182, and the median income for a family was $40,865. Males had a median income of $39,250 versus $21,607 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,349. About 12.2% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 17.1% of those age 65 or over.

Paul Tillich Park

Paul Tillich's gravestone in the Paul Tillich Park.

Bust of Paul Johannes Tillich by James Rosati in New Harmony

Paul Tillich Park commemorates the renowned twentieth century theologian, Paul Johannes Tillich. The park was dedicated on 2 June 1963, and Tillich's ashes were interred there in 1965.

Located just across North Main Street from the Roofless Church, the park consists of a stand of evergreens on elevated ground surrounding a walkway. Along the walkway there are several large stones on which are inscribed quotations from Tillich's writings. James Rosati's sculpture of Tillich's head rises at the north end of the walkway, backed by a clearing and a large pond.

Those who walk the Tillich Park Finger Labyrinth, which was created by Reverend Bill Ressl after an inspirational walk through the park, are also invited to ponder the quotations and discern Tillich's systematic theology.

Secondary education

For over 200 years, New Harmony was served by New Harmony School, a K-12 school. In 2012, due to low enrollment and funding cuts, the school consolidated with the MSD of North Posey County[106][107][108] which operates four schools:

• North Posey High School (9-12)
• North Posey Junior High School (7-8)
• North Elementary School (K-6)
• South Terrace Elementary School (K-6)


• Indiana State Road 66, ends at New Harmony Toll Bridge.
• Indiana State Road 68, ends just north of New Harmony
• Indiana State Road 69, used to end at New Harmony, now goes around town and ends at nearby Griffin.


’’New-Harmony on the Wabash’’ (circa 1832): aquatint by Karl Bodmer from "Maximilian, Prince of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America, during the years 1832–1834"

• New Harmony is the setting for the season three finale of The CW television series Supernatural.
• A short experimental film, The Ends of Utopia, was created in 2009 by a Vanderbilt University student.

See also

• Ambridge, Pennsylvania
• Grand Rapids Dam
• Grand Rapids Hotel
• Harmony Society
• Harmony, Pennsylvania
• List of public art in New Harmony, Indiana
• New Harmony Toll Bridge, closed. Talks are ongoing as to a replacement.[109]
• Old Economy Village
• George Rapp


1. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 28, 2017.
2. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
3. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
4. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved February 29, 2020.
5. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
6. "New Harmony, Indiana". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
7. Donald Pitzer (2012). New Harmony Then and Now. 601 North Morton Street: Quarry Books. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-253-35645-1.
8. Karl J. R. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1814–1824 (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1975) 1:xi.
9. Ray E. Boomhower, "New Harmony: Home to Indiana’s Communal Societies," Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History14(4):36–37.
10. Karl J. R Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785–1847 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965) p. 130–31, 133.
11. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 133.
12. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:8.
13. Arndt, George Rapp’s Harmony Society, p. 162.
14. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society 1785–1847, p. 146.
15. Arndt, George Rapp’s Harmony Society, p. 182.
16. Arndt, George Rapp’s Harmony Society, p. 182–98.
17. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 209.
18. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:674.
19. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:744.
20. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:784.
21. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 2:131–32.
22. Arndt, George Rapp’s Harmony Society, p. 287.
23. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:837, 871–74.
24. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:837, 871.
25. Boomhower, p. 37.
26. See Donald F. Carmony and Josephine M. Elliott. "New Harmony, Indiana: Robert Owen's Seedbed for Utopia," Indiana Magazine of History 76, no. 3 (September, 1980):165. Carmony and Elliott indicate that Owen paid $125,000 for New Harmony, and cite other sources that state varying amounts.
27. "New Harmony as envisioned by Owen" was originally captioned by Stedman Whitwell, the architect who drew the figure, as "Design for a Community of 2000 Person founded upon a principle Commended by Plato, Lord Bacon and Sir Thomas More" in Description of an Architectural Model From a Design by Stedman Whitwell, Exq. For a Community Upon a Principle of United Interests, as Advocated by Robert Owen, Esq. (London: Hurst Chance and Co., 1830). Whitwell (1784–1840) lived in New Harmony during 1825. John W. Reps,"Whitwell, Description of a Model City", Cornell University. Retrieved 2012-6-20. In Edward Royle's Robert Owen and the Commencement of the Millennium, (Manchester University Press, 1998), Whitwell's figure is presented in a chapter on Harmony, the name of Owen's community in Hampshire, England, dating from 1841, although the figure was published in 1830 and almost certainly existed as early as 1825.
28. Pitzer, Donald (2012). New Harmony Then and Now. Quarry Books. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-253-35645-1.
29. Donald E. Pitzer, "The Original Boatload of Knowledge Down the Ohio River." Reprint. Ohio Journal of Science 89, no. 5 (December 1989):128–142.
30. Wilson, William (1964). The Angel and the Serpent. Binghamton, N.Y.: Vail-Ballou Press, Inc. pp. 102–103.
31. William E. Wilson, The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1967, 2nd ed.), p. 105, 110, 116.
32. Wilson, p. 116.
33. Joel Hiatt, ed., "Diary of William Owen: From November 10, 1824, to April 20, 1825" Indiana Historical Society Publications 4, no. 1 (1906): 130.
34. Carmony and Elliott, p. 168.
35. Wilson, p. 117–118.
36. Wilson, p. 119.
37. Wilson, p. 119–122.
38. Wilson, p. 122.
39. Several of Robert Owen's children were given the middle name Dale in honor of Owen's father-in-law, David Dale.
40. Wilson, p. 125.
41. Wilson, p. 135.
42. Carmony and Elliott, p. 170.
43. Wilson, p. 118.
44. Wilson, p. 149.
45. Lockwood, George (1905). The New Harmony Movement. New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 66–67.
46. Carmony and Elliott, p. 173.
47. Pitzer, Donald (2012). New Harmony Then and Now. Quarry Books. pp. 51–53. ISBN 978-0-253-35645-1.
48. Joseph Clayton, Robert Owen: Pioneer of Social Reforms (London: A.C. Fifield, 1908)
49. Dale, Robert Owen (1874). Threading my way: Twenty-seven years of autobiography. Trübner & Co. p. 258.
50. Dale, Robert Owen (1874). Threading my way: Twenty-seven years of autobiography. Trübner & Co. p. 241.
51. Carmony and Elliott, p. 174–176.
52. Wilson, p. 150.
53. Wilson, p. 153–54.
54. Wilson, p. 162–64.
55. Janet R. Walker, Wonder Workers on the Wabash (New Harmony, IN: Historic New Harmony, 1999), p. 9–10.
56. Walker, p. 11.
57. Wilson, p. 184.
58. Walker, p. 15–16.
59. Wilson, p. 146.
60. Wilson, p. 199.
61. Walter B. Hendrickson (1943). David Dale Owen, Pioneer Geologist of the Middle West. Indiana Historical Collection. XXVII. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau. pp. 41–43, 48–50, 58, 84–86. OCLC 767609.
62. Clark Kimberling. "Special Sandstone of the Smithsonian "Castle"". University of Evansville. Retrieved November 10,2017.
63. Wilson, p. 199–200. See also: Hendrickson, David Dale Owen, pp. 116, 128.
64. Clark Kimberling, et. al."Smithsonian Institution: World’s Largest Museum Complex", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-19.
65. Clark Kimberling, "David Dale Owen and Joseph Granville Norwood: Pioneer Geologists in Indiana and Illinois", Indiana Magazine of History 92, no. 1 (March 1996): 15. Retrieved 2012-6-19.
66. Hendrickson, p. David Dale Owen, 148. See also: Davie D. Owen (1852). Report of a Geological Survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota; and Incidentally of a Portion of Nebraska Territory, Made under Instructions from the United States Treasury Department. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo.
67. Seymour V. Connor, "Benjamin Franklin Shumard", Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
68. R. Bruce McMillan, "The First Century", The Living Museum 64, nos. 2 and 3 (summer and fall 2002):4–13. Retrieved 2012-6-19.
69. Smithsonian Institution Archives, "Fielding B. Meek Papers, 1843–1877 and undated" collection guide. Retrieved 2012-6-20.
70. Clark Kimberling, et. al. "Joseph Granville Norwood", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-19.
71. Indiana Historical Society, "New Harmony Collection, 1814–1884" collection guide. Retrieved 2012-7-25.
72. Wilson, p. 200.
73. "Richard Owen", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-18.
74. Walker, p . 23.
75. Wilson, p. 195–197.
77. Wilson, p. 196–197.
78. Clark Kimberling, "Frances Wright", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-20.
79. Britannica Online, "Frances Wright". Retrieved 2012-6-20.
80. Wilson, p. 187.
81. Wilson, p. 173, 188.
82. Wilson, p. 188–189.
83. Walker, p. 9–10.
84. Walker, p. 18, 19, 21.
85. Josephine Mirabella Elliott, ed. Partnership for Posterity: The Correspondence of William Maclure and Marie Duclos Fretageot, 1820–1833 (Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society, 1994)
86. Clark Kimberling, "Francis Joseph Nicholas Neef", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-20.
87. Wilson, p. 185.
88. Walker, p. 35–36.
89. On March 23, 1837, an unusual triple marriage took place at New Harmony, when Neef's daughter, Anne Eliza, married Richard Owen, Neef's daughter, Caroline, married David Dale Owen, and Mary Bouton married William Owen.
90. Clark Kimberling, et. al. "Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-20.
91. Martin, John T. "Old vacant school in New Harmony has a new owner who vows to preserve it". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
92. Wilson, p. 183–184.
93. Among Tiebout's best-known engravings are George Washington (1798), Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States(1800), Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States (1801), Constitution (USS Constitution dueling with British frigate Guerriere, War of 1812, engraved 1813). These and others are well represented on the Internet.
94. ArtFact, "Cornelius Tiebout". Retrieved 2012-6-20.
95. Carmony and Elliott, p. 182.
96. "Lucy Say Illustrations". Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
97. Heather Baldus (Spring 2014). "A Broad Stroke: New Harmony's Artistic Legacy". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 26–27.
98. Carmony and Elliott, p. 181.
99. Hiatt, p. v.
100. New Harmony Historic District Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine, National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service. Accessed September 24, 2011.
101. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
102. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
103. "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the originalon 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
104. "New Harmony, Indiana Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
105. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
106. "One Of The Oldest School Districts In Indiana Closes Due To Funding Cuts".
107. "New Harmony School to close doors & consolidate".
108. "Decision finalized to merge Hew Harmony and N. Posey".
109.[permanent dead link]

Further reading


• Bestor, Arthur. Backwoods Utopias (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1950, 2nd. ed. 1970)
• Blair, Don. The New Harmony Story (The New Harmony Publication Committee, 1967)
• De la Hunt, Thomas James, ed. History of the New Harmony Workingmen's Institute, New Harmony, Indiana (Evansville, 1927)
• Douglas, Jeffrey. "William Maclure and the New Harmony Working Men's Institute", Libraries and Culture 26 (1991): 402–414.
• Elliott, Josephine Mirabella. Charles-Alexandre Lesueur: Premier Naturalist and Artist
• Galbraith, John Kenneth. The Age of Uncertainty: The Prophets and Promise of Classical Capitalism (BBC, 1977)
• Gutek, Gerald Lee. Joseph Neef: The Americanization of Pestalozzianism" (University of Alabama Press, 1978)
• Hackensmith, Charles W. Biography of Joseph Neef, Educator in the Ohio Valley, 1809–1854 (New York: Carlton Press, 1973)
• Harrison, J. F. C. Robert Owen and the Owenite Movement in Britain and America: The Quest for the New Moral World (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969)
• Hendrickson, Walter Brookfield. David Dale Owen: Pioneer Geologist of the Middle West (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1943)
• Lang, Elfrieda. "The Inhabitants of New Harmony According to the Federal Census of 1850", Indiana Magazine of History 42, no. 4 (December, 1946): 355–394.
• Leopold, Richard William. Robert Dale Owen: A Biography (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1940; New York: Octagon Books, reprint 1969)
• Lockwood, G. B. The New Harmony Communities (New York, 1905)
• Stroud, Patricia Tyson. Thomas Say: New World Naturalist, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1992.
• Young, Marguerite. Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias (New York: Scribners, 1945)
Paul Tillich[edit]
• Pauck, Wilhelm, and Marion Pauck, Paul Tillich: His Life & Thought (New York: Life, Harper & Row, 1976)
• Ressl, William, and Penny Taylor, Excerpts from The Paul Tillich Archive of New Harmony, Indiana: From the Collection of Mrs. Jane Blaffer Owen (Chicago, Illinois: 2007) (OCLC 180767473)
• Ruediger Reitz, Paul Tillich und New Harmony (Stuttgart, Germany: Evangelisches Verlagswerk, 1970)
The Atheneum and Richard Meier[edit]

The Atheneum in New Harmony, Indiana, United States.

• Abercrombie, Stanley. "A Vision Continued." AIA Journal, mid-May 1980, pp. 126–137.
• "The Architecture of the Promenade: The Atheneum." International Architect 3, 1980, pp. 13–24.
• Cassara, Silvio. "Intrinsic Qualities of Remembrances. The Atheneum at New Harmony, Indiana." Parametro, July/August 1976, pp. 16–19, 59.
• Cohen, Arthur. "Richard Meier, Creator of a New Harmony: An Architect Builds a Classic Meeting Hall for the Nations Heartland." United Mainliner, March 1980, pp. 25–65.
• Futagawa, Yukio, ed. "Collage and Study Sketches for the Atheneum."; "Meier's Atheneum." by Kenneth Frampton; "Richard Meier, An American Architect." by Arthur Cohen; "The Atheneum, New Harmony, Ind. (First Scheme)."; "The Atheneum (Executed Scheme)." GA Document 1, 1980, pp. 25–65.
• Futagawa, Yukio, ed. "The Atheneum, New Harmony, Indiana. 1975-1979." Text by Paul Goldberger. Global Architecture 60, 1981. Reprinted in Global Architecture Book 6: Public Buildings. Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita Co., 1981, n.p.
• Goldberger, Paul. "The Atheneum: Utopia Lives." Vogue, February 1980, pp. 250–251, 296.
• Haker, Werner. "New Harmony und das Athenaeum von Richard Meier." Werk, Bauen + Wohnen, December 1980, pp. 44–53.
• "Harmonious Museum for New Harmony." Life, February 1980, pp. 60–62.
• Huxtable, Ada Louise. "A Radical New Addition for Mid-America." New York Times, 30 September 1979, sec. 2, pp. 1, 31.
• Klotz, Heinrich, ed. "Das Athenaeum." Text by Richard Meier. Jahrbuch für Architektur: Neues Bauen 1980-1981, pp. 53–64.
• Magnago Lampugnani, Vittorio. Architecture of Our Century in Drawings: Utopia and Reality. Stuttgart: Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1982, pp. 106–107.
• Marlin, William. "Dissonance in New Harmony." Inland Architect, December 1981, pp. 20–28.
• Marlin, William. "Revitalizing Architectural Legacy of an American 'Camelot.'" Christian Science Monitor, 16 April 1976, p. 26.
• Meier, Richard. "Comments on The Atheneum, New Harmony, Indiana; Manchester Civic Center, Manchester, New Hampshire." Harvard Architectural Review, Spring 1981, pp. 176–187. Reprinted in French. Les Cahiers de la Recherche Architecturale, November 1982, pp. 66–73.
• "The Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates." Zodiac 12. Includes "The World's Greatest Architect." by Francesco Dal Co; "Statement on Architecture." by Richard Meier. Editrice Abitare: Milan, 1995.
• Richard Meier Architect. New York: Rizzoli, 1984. pp. 190–215.
• Rykwert, Joseph. "New Harmony Propylaeon." Domus, February 1980, pp. 12–17.
• Shezen, Roberto. "La via storica: L'Atheneum di New harmony nell' Indiana di Richard Meier." Gran Bazaar, January/February 1982, pp. 128–135.
• Stephens, Suzanne. "Emblematic Edifice: The Atheneum, New Harmony, Indiana." Progressive Architecture, February 1980, pp. 67–75.
• Zevi, Bruno. "Un UFO nel campo de grano." L'Espresso, 6 April 1980, p. 124.

External links

• Historic New Harmony, administered by the University of Southern Indiana and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.
• Equitable Commerce by Josiah Warren The individualist anarchist who participated in the New Harmony project discusses the reasons for its failure
• Account of the Harmony Society and its beliefs
• New Harmony Scientists, Educators, Writers & Artists
• New Harmony Town Government
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Harmony Society
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/18/20

The Harmony Society church in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania
The Harmony Society was a Christian theosophy and pietist society founded in Iptingen, Germany, in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government in Württemberg, the group moved to the United States,[1] where representatives initially purchased land in Butler County, Pennsylvania. On February 15, 1805, the group of approximately 400 followers formally organized the Harmony Society, placing all their goods in common.

Under its founder and spiritual leader, Johann Georg Rapp (1757–1847); Frederick (Reichert) Rapp (1775–1834), his adopted son who managed its business affairs; and their associates, the Society existed for one hundred years, roughly from 1805 until 1905. Members were known as Harmonists, Harmonites, or Rappites. The Society is best known for its worldly successes, most notably the establishment of three model communities, the first at Harmony, Pennsylvania; the second, also called Harmony, in the Indiana Territory, now New Harmony, Indiana; and the third and final town at Economy, now Ambridge, Pennsylvania.

Origins in Germany

Johann Georg Rapp (George Rapp) 1757–1847.

Johann Georg Rapp (1757–1847), also known as George Rapp, was the founder of the religious sect called Harmonists, Harmonites, Rappites, or the Harmony Society. Born in Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg, Germany, Rapp was a "bright but stubborn boy" who was also deeply religious. His "strong personality" and religious convictions began to concern local church authorities when he refused to attend church services or take communion.[2] Rapp and his group of believers began meeting in Iptengen and eventually emigrated to the United States, where they established three communities: Harmony, Butler County, Pennsylvania; Harmony (later named New Harmony), Posey County, Indiana; and Economy, Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

Rapp became inspired by the philosophies of Jakob Böhme, Philipp Jakob Spener, Johann Heinrich Jung, and Emanuel Swedenborg, among others, and later wrote Thoughts on the Destiny of Man, published in German in 1824 and in English a year later, in which he outlined his ideas and philosophy.[3] Rapp lived out his remaining days in Economy, where he died on August 7, 1847, at the age of 89.[4]

By the mid-1780s, Rapp had begun preaching to the Separatists, his followers in Iptengen, who met privately and refused to attend church services or take communion.[5] As their numbers increased, Rapp's group officially split with the Lutheran Church in 1785 and was banned from meeting. Despite warnings from local authorities, the group continued to meet privately and attract even more followers.[6]

By 1798 Rapp and his group of followers had already begun to distance themselves from mainstream society and intended to establish a new religious congregation of fellow believers. In the Lomersheimer declaration, written in 1798, these religious Separatists presented their statement of faith, based on Christian principles, to the Wurttemberg legislature.[7] Rapp's followers declared their desire to form a separate congregation who would meet in members' homes, free from Lutheran Church doctrines. The group supported the belief that baptism was not necessary until children could decide for themselves whether they wanted to become a Christian. They also believed that confirmation for youth was not necessary and communion and confession would only be held a few times a year. Although the Separatists supported civil government, the group refused to make a physical oath in its support, "for according to the Gospel not oath is allowed him who gives evidence of a righteous life as an upright man."[8] They also refused to serve in the military or attend Lutheran schools, choosing instead to teach their children at home.[9] This declaration of faith, along with some later additions, guided the Harmony Society's religious beliefs even after they had emigrated from Germany to the United States.[10]

In the 1790s, Rapp's followers continued to increase, reaching as many as 10,000 to 12, 000 members.[11] The increasing numbers, which included followers outside of Rapp's village, continued to concern the government, who feared they might become rebellious and dangerous to the state.[12] Although no severe actions were initially taken to repress the Separatists, the group began to consider emigration to France or the United States. In 1803, when the government began to persecute Rapp's followers, he decided to move the entire group to the United States. Rapp and a small group of men left Iptingen in 1803 and traveled to America to find a new home.[13] On May 1, 1804, the first group of emigrants departed for the United States. The initial move scattered the followers and reduced Rapp's original group of 12,000 to just a few followers. Johan Frederich Reichert, who later agreed to become Rapp's adopted son and took the name of Frederick Reichert Rapp, reported in a letter dated February 25, 1804, that there were "at least 100 families or 500 persons actually ready to go" even if they had to sacrifice their property.[14]

Settlements in the United States

In 1804, while Rapp and his associates remained in the United States looking for a place to settle, his followers sailed to America aboard several vessels and made their way to western Pennsylvania, where they waited until land had been selected for their new settlement.[15] Rapp was able to secure a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and started his first commune, known as Harmonie or Harmony, in Butler County, Pennsylvania,[16] where the Society existed from 1804 to 1815.[17] It soon grew to a population of about 800, and was highly profitable. Ten years later, the town was sold and the Harmonists moved westward to the Indiana Territory, where they established the town of Harmony, now called New Harmony, Indiana, and remained there from 1815 to 1825.[17] The Indiana settlement was sold to Robert Owen and was renamed New Harmony. Ten years after the move to Indiana the commune moved again, this time returning to western Pennsylvania, and named their third and final town Economy ('Ökonomie' in German).[18] The Harmonists lived in Economy until the Society was dissolved in 1905.[17]

Articles of association

On February 15, 1805, the settlers at Harmony, Pennsylvania, signed articles of association to formally establish the Harmony Society in the United States. In this document, Society members agreed to hold all property in a common fund, including working capital of $23,000 to purchase land, livestock, tools, and other goods needed to establish their town.[19] The agreement gave the Society legal status in the United States and protected it from dissolution. Members contributed all of their possessions, pledged cooperation in promoting the interests of the group, and agreed to accept no pay for their services. In return, the members would receive care as long as they lived with the group. Under this agreement, if a member left the Society, their funds would be returned without interest or, if they had not contributed to the Society's treasury, they would receive a small monetary gift.[20]

The Society was a religious congregation who submitted to spiritual and material leadership under Rapp and his associates and worked together for the common good of all its members.[21] Believing that the Second Coming of Christ would occur during their lifetimes, the Harmonists contented to live simply under a strict religious doctrine, gave up tobacco, and advocated celibacy.[18]

First settlement: Harmony, Pennsylvania

Harmony Society building in Harmony, Pennsylvania, built in 1809.

Main article: Harmony, Pennsylvania

In December 1804 Rapp and a party of two others initially contracted to purchase 4,500 acres (18 km2) of land for $11,250 in Butler County, Pennsylvania,[22] and later acquired additional land to increase their holdings to approximately 9,000 acres (36 km2) by the time they advertised their property for sale in 1814.[23] Here they built the town of Harmony, a small community that had, in 1805, nearly 50 log houses, a large barn, a gristmill, and more than 150 acres of cleared land to grow crops.[24]

Because the climate was not well suited for growing grapes and nearby property was not available to expand their landholdings, the Harmonists submitted a petition to the U.S. government for assistance in purchasing land elsewhere. In January 1806 Rapp traveled to Washington, D.C. to hear discussions in Congress regarding the Harmonists' petition for a grant that would allow them to purchase approximately 30,000 acres (120 km2) acre of land in the Indiana Territory. While the Senate passed the petition on January 29, it was defeated in the House of Representatives on February 18. The Harmonists had to find other financial means to support their plans for future expansion.[25] By 1810 the town's population reached approximately 700, with about 130 houses. The Society landholdings also increased to 7,000 acres (28 km2).[26] In the years that followed, the Society survived disagreements among its members, while shortages of cash and lack of credit threatened its finances. Still, the young community had a good reputation for its industry and agricultural production.[27]

At Harmony, George Rapp, also known as Father Rapp, was recognized as the spiritual head of the Society, the one that they went to for discussions, confessions, and other matters.[28] Rapp's adopted son, Frederick, managed the Society's business and commercial affairs.[29]

Rapp let newcomers into the Society and, after a trial period, usually about a year, they were accepted as permanent members.[20] While new members continued to arrive, including immigrants from Germany, others found the Harmonists' religious life too difficult and left the group.[30] In addition, during a period of religious zeal in 1807 and 1808, most, but not all, of the Harmonists adopted the practice of celibacy and there were also few marriages among the members. Rapp's son, Johannes, was married in 1807; and it was the last marriage on record until 1817.[31] Although Rapp did not entirely bar sex initially, it gradually became a custom and there were few births in later years.[32]

In 1811 Harmony's population rose to around 800 persons involved in farming and various trades.[33] Although profit was not a primary goal, their finances improved and the enterprise was profitable, but not sufficient to carry out their planned expansions.[34] Within a few years of their arrival, the Harmonist community included an inn, a tannery, warehouses, a brewery, several mills, stables, and barns, a church/meetinghouse, a school, additional dwellings for members, a labyrinth, and workshops for different trades. In addition, more land was cleared for vineyards and crops. The Harmonists also produced yarn and cloth.[35]

Several factors led to the Harmonists' decision to leave Butler County. Because the area's climate was not suitable, they had difficulties growing grapes for wine.[36] In addition, as westward migration brought new settlers to the county, making it less isolated, the Harmonists began having troubles with neighbors who were not part of the Society.[37] By 1814 Butler County's growing population and rising land prices made it difficult for the Society to expand, causing the group's leaders to look for more land elsewhere.[38] Once land had been located that offered a better climate and room to expand, the group began plans to move.[39] In 1814 the Harmonites sold their first settlement to Abraham Ziegler, a Mennonite, for $100,000 and moved west to make a new life for themselves in the Indiana Territory.[40]

Second settlement: Harmony, Indiana

Harmony Society buildings in New Harmony, Indiana.

Main article: New Harmony, Indiana

In 1814 the Harmony Society moved to the Indiana Territory, where it initially acquired approximately 3,500 acres (14 km2) of land along the Wabash River in Posey County and later acquired more.[41] Over the next ten years the Society built a thriving new community they called Harmonie or Harmony on the Wabash in the Indiana wilderness. (The town's name was changed to New Harmony after the Harmonists left in 1824.) The Harmonists entered into agriculture and manufacture on a larger scale than they had done in Pennsylvania. When the Harmonists advertised their Indiana property for sale in 1824, they had acquired 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land, 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of which was under cultivation.[42]

During the summer and fall of 1814, many Harmonists fell sick from fever (malaria) and work on the new town nearly ceased.[43] During this time the Society lost about 120 people and others fell ill until conditions were improved and the swamps around the area were drained.[28] Despite these illnesses, construction of the new town continued. By 1819 the Harmonites had built 150 log homes, a church, a community storehouse, barns, stables, and a tavern, along with thriving shops and mills, and cleared land for farming.[44] As the new settlement in Indiana grew, it also began to attract new arrivals, including emigrants from Germany, who expected the Harmonists to pay for their passage to America.[45]

Visitors to the new town commented on its growing commercial and industrial work. In 1819 the town had a steam-operated wool carding and spinning factory, a brewery, distillery, vineyards, and a winery,[46] but not all visitors were impressed with the growing communist town on the frontier.[47] The Society also had visitors from another communal religious society, the Shakers. In 1816 meetings between the Shakers and Harmonists considered a possible union of the two societies, but religious differences between the two groups halted the union.[48] Members of the groups remained, however, in contact over the years. George Rapp's daughter and others lived for a time at the Shaker settlement in West Union, Indiana, where the Shakers helped a number of Harmonites learn the English language.[49]

The Harmonist community continued to thrive during the 1820s. The Society shipped its surplus agricultural produce and manufactured goods throughout the Ohio and Mississippi valleys or sold them through their stores at Harmony and Shawneetown and their agents in Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Louisville, and elsewhere.[50] Under Frederick Rapp's financial management the Society prospered, but he soon wished for a location better suited to manufacturing and commercial purposes.[51] They had initially selected the land near the Wabash River for its isolation and opportunity for expansion, but the Harmonites were now a great distance from the eastern markets and trade in this location wasn't to their liking. They also had to deal with unfriendly neighbors.[28] As abolitionists, the Harmonites faced disagreeable elements from slavery supporters in Kentucky, only 15 miles (24 km) away, which caused them much annoyance.[citation needed] By 1824 the decision had been made to sell their property in Indiana and search for land to the east.[52]

On January 3, 1825, the Harmonists and Robert Owen, a Welsh-born industrialist and social reformer, came to a final agreement for the sale of the Society's land and buildings in Indiana for $150,000. Owen named the town New Harmony, and by May, the last of the Harmony Society's remaining members returned to Pennsylvania.[53]

Third settlement: Economy, Pennsylvania

Main article: Old Economy Village

The Rapp house in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania.

Grotto (far left) and statue of Harmonia in the Harmony Society gardens in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania.

In 1824 Frederick Rapp initially purchased 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) along the Ohio River, 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for $10,000, and later bought an additional 2,186 acres (8.85 km2) for $33,445, giving the Society more than 3,000 acres (12 km2) to develop into a new community.[54] The Harmonites named their third and last town Economy, after the spiritual notion of the Divine Economy, "a city in which God would dwell among men" and where perfection would be attained.[55]

At Economy the Harmonists intended to become more involved in manufacturing and their new town on the Ohio River provided better access to eastern markets and water access to the south and west than they had in Indiana.[51] By 1826 the Harmonists had woolen and cotton mills in operation as well as a steam-operated grain mill.[56] The Harmonist society also ran a wine press, a hotel, post office, saw mills, stores, and a variety of farms.[57] Here, under the business acumen and efficient management of Frederick Rapp, they enjoyed such prosperity that by 1829 they dominated trade and the markets of Pittsburgh and down the Ohio River. The Harmonists' competitors accused them of creating a monopoly and called on state government to dissolve the group.[18] Despite the attacks, the Harmonists developed Economy into a prosperous factory town, engaged in farming on a large scale, and maintained a brewery, distillery, and wine-making operation.[58] They also pioneered the manufacturing of silk in the United States.[59]

The community was not neglectful of matters pertaining to art and culture. Frederick Rapp purchased artifacts and installed a museum containing fine paintings and many curiosities and antiques, but it proved to be unprofitable and was sold at a loss.[60] In addition, the Harmonists maintained a deer park, a floral park, and a maze, or labyrinth. The Harmonists were fond of music and many of the members were accomplished musicians. They sang, had a band/orchestra, composed songs, and gave much attention to its cultivation.[61] By 1830 they had amassed a 360-volume library.[60]

In 1832 the Society suffered a serious division. Of 750 members, 250 became alienated through the influence of Bernhard Müller (self-styled Count de Leon), who, with 40 followers (also at variance with the authorities in the old country), had come to Economy to affiliate with the Society. Rapp and Leon could not agree; a separation and apportionment of the property were therefore agreed upon. This secession of one-third of the Society, which consisted mostly of the flower of young manhood and young womanhood who did not want to maintain the custom of celibacy, broke Frederick's heart. He died within two years. It resulted in a considerable fracturing of the community. Nevertheless, the Society remained prosperous in business investments for many more years to come.

After Frederick Rapp's death in 1834, George Rapp appointed Romelius Baker and Jacob Henrici as trustees to manage the Society's business affairs.[62] After George Rapp's death in 1847, the Society reorganized. While a board of elders was elected for the enforcement of the Society's rules and regulations, business management passed to its trustees: Baker and Henrici, 1847–68; Henrici and Jonathan Lenz, 1869–90; Henrici and Wolfel, 1890; Henrici and John S. Duss, 1890–1892; Duss and Seiber, 1892–1893; Duss and Reithmuller, 1893–1897;Duss, 1897–1903; and finally to Suzanna (Susie) C. Duss in 1903.[63][64] By 1905 membership had dwindled to just three members and the Society was dissolved.[65]

The settlements at Economy remained economically successful until the late 19th century, producing many goods in their cotton and woolen factories, sawmill, tannery, and from their vineyards and distillery.[66] They also produced high quality silk for garments. Rapp's granddaughter, Gertrude, began the silk production in Economy on a small scale from 1826 to 1828, and later expanded.[67] This was planned in New Harmony, but fulfilled when they arrived at Economy.[28] The Harmonists were industrious and utilized the latest technologies of the day in their factories. Because the group chose to adopt celibacy and their members grew older, more work gradually had to be hired out. As their membership declined, they stopped manufacturing operations, other than what they needed for themselves, and began to invest in other ventures such as the oil business, coal mining, timber, railroads, land development, and banking.[65] The group invested in the construction of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, established the Economy Savings Institution and the Economy Brick Works, and operated the Economy Oil Company,[68] as well as the Economy Planing Mill, Economy Lumber Company, and eventually donated some land in Beaver Falls for the construction of Geneva College. The Society exerted a major influence on the economic development of Western Pennsylvania.[69]

Oil production in the mid-1860s brought the high-water mark of the Society's prosperity.[70] By the close of Baker's administration in 1868, The Society's wealth was probably $2 million.[citation needed] By 1890, however, the Society was in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy with a depleted and aged membership. In addition, the Society faced litigation from previous members and would-be heirs. The Society's trustee, John S. Duss, settled the lawsuits, liquidated its business ventures, and paid the Society's indebtedness.[65] The great strain which he had undergone at this time undermined his health and he resigned his trusteeship in 1903.[71] With only a few members left, the remaining land and assets were sold under the leadership of Duss's wife, Susanna (Susie), and the Society was formally dissolved in 1905.[65] At the time of the Society's dissolution, its net worth was $1.2 million.[72]

In 1916 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired 6 acres (0.024 km2) and 17 buildings of Economy, which became the Old Economy Village historic site. The American Bridge Company had already acquired other parts of the Society's land in 1902 to build the town of Ambridge.[65]


Religious views

In 1791 George Rapp said, "I am a prophet, and I am called to be one" in front of the civil affairs official in Maulbronn, Germany, who promptly had him imprisoned for two days and threatened with exile if he did not cease preaching.[73][74] To the great consternation of church and state authorities, this mere peasant from Iptingen had become the outspoken leader of several thousand Separatists in the southern German duchy of Württemberg.[1][73][74] By 1802 the Separatists had grown in number to about 12,000 and the Württemberg government decided that they were a dangerous threat to social order.[1] Rapp was summoned to Maulbronn for an interrogation, and the government confiscated Separatist books.[1] When released in 1803, from a brief time in prison, Rapp told his followers to pool their assets and follow him on a journey for safety to the "land of Israel" in the United States, and soon over 800 people were living with him there.[1]

The Harmonites were Christian pietist Separatists who split from the Lutheran Church in the late 18th century. Under the leadership of George Rapp, the group left Württemberg, Germany, and came to the United States in 1803. Due to the troubles they had in Europe, the group sought to establish a more perfect society in the American wilderness. They were nonviolent pacifists who refused to serve in the military and tried to live by George Rapp's philosophy and literal interpretations of the New Testament. They first settled and built the town of Harmony, Pennsylvania, in 1804, and established the Harmony Society in 1805 as a religious commune. In 1807, celibacy was advocated as the preferred custom of the community in an attempt to purify themselves for the coming Millennium. Rapp believed that the events and wars going on in the world at the time were a confirmation of his views regarding the imminent Second Coming of Christ, and he also viewed Napoleon as the Antichrist.[75] In 1814, the Society sold their first town in Pennsylvania and moved to the Indiana Territory, where they built their second town. In 1824, they decided it was time to leave Indiana, sold their land and town in Indiana, and moved to their final settlement in Western Pennsylvania.

Virgin Sophia design on doorway in Harmony, Pennsylvania, carved by Frederick Reichert Rapp (1775–1834).

The Harmonites were Millennialists, in that they believed Jesus Christ was coming to earth in their lifetime to help usher in a thousand-year kingdom of peace on earth. This is perhaps why they believed that people should try to make themselves "pure" and "perfect", and share things with others while willingly living in communal "harmony" (Acts 4:32-35) and practicing celibacy. They believed that the old ways of life on earth were coming to an end, and that a new perfect kingdom on earth was about to be realized.

They also practiced forms of Esoteric Christianity, Mysticism (Christian mysticism), and Rapp often spoke of the virgin spirit or Goddess named Sophia in his writings.[76] Rapp was very influenced by the writings of Jakob Böhme,[76] Philipp Jakob Spener, and Emanuel Swedenborg, among others. Also, at Economy, there are glass bottles and literature that seem to indicate that the group was interested in (and practiced) alchemy.[76] Other books found in the Harmony Society's library in Economy, include those by the following authors: Christoph Schütz, Gottfried Arnold, Justinus Kerner, Thomas Bromley,[77] Jane Leade, Johann Scheible (Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses),[78] Paracelsus, and Georg von Welling,[79] among others.[76]

The Harmonites tended to view unmarried celibate life as morally superior to marriage, based on Rapp's belief that God had originally created Adam as a dual being, having male and female sexual organs.[80] According to this view, when the female portion of Adam separated to form Eve, disharmony followed, but one could attempt to regain harmony through celibacy.

George Rapp predicted that on September 15, 1829, the three and one half years of the Sun Woman would end and Christ would begin his reign on earth.[75] Dissension grew when Rapp's predictions did not come to pass. In March 1832, one third of the group left the Society and some began following Bernhard Müller, who claimed to be the Lion of Judah. Nevertheless, most of the group stayed and Rapp continued to lead them until he died on August 7, 1847. His last words to his followers were, "If I did not so fully believe, that the Lord has designated me to place our society before His presence in the land of Canaan, I would consider this my last".[81]

The Harmonites did not mark their graves with headstones or grave markers, because they thought it was unnecessary to do so; however, one exception is George Rapp's son Johannes' stone marker in Harmony, Pennsylvania, which was installed by non-Harmonites many years after the Harmonites left that town.[82] Today, Harmonist graveyards are fenced in grassy areas with signs posted nearby explaining this practice.


The Harmony Society's architecture reflected their Swabian German traditions, as well as the styles that were being developed in America during the 19th century. In the early days of the Society, many of the homes were initially log cabins and later, Harmonist craftsmen built timber-frame homes. At Economy, their homes were mostly two-story brick houses "that showed the influence of their American neighbors."[83] In general, Harmonist buildings, in addition to being sturdy and functional, were centrally heated, economical to maintain, and resistant to fire, weather, and termites.[84]

Once established at Harmony, Pennsylvania, the Society planned to replace the log dwellings with brick structures, but the group moved to the Indiana Territory before the plan was completed.[85] In Indiana, log homes were soon replaced with one- or two-story houses of timber frame or brick construction in addition to four large rooming houses (dormitories) for its growing membership. The new town also included shops, schools, mills, a granary, a hotel, library, distilleries, breweries, a brick kiln, pottery ovens, barn, stables, storehouses, and two churches, one of which was brick.[86]

In 1822 William Herbert, a visitor to Harmony, Indiana, described the new brick church and the Harmonists' craftsmanship:

"These people exhibit considerable taste as well as boldness of design in some of their works. They are erecting a noble church, the roof of which is supported in the interior by a great number of stately columns, which have been turned from trees in their own forests. The kinds of wood made use of for this purpose are, I am informed, black walnut, cherry and sassafras. Nothing I think can exceed the grandeur of the joinery and the masonry and brickwork seem to be of the first order. The form of this church is that of a cross, the limbs being short and equal; and as the doors, which there are four, are placed at the end of the limbs, the interior of the building as seen from the entrance, has a most ample and spacious effect.... I could scarcely imagine myself to be in the woods of Indiana, on the borders of the Wabash, while pacing the long resounding aisles, and surveying the stately colonnades of this church."[28]

Frame structures were built on piers to keep the air circulating across the area's damp soil, while brick structures had a root cellar with a drainage tunnel. Inside, Harmonists built fireplaces to the left or right of center to allow for a long center beam, adding strength to support the structure and its heavy, shingled roof. "Dutch biscuits" (wood laths wrapped in straw and mud) provided insulation and soundproofing between the ceiling and floors. The exterior was insulated with bricks between the exterior's unpainted weatherboards and the interior's lath and plaster walls.[87] Structures had standard parts and pre-cut, pre-measured timbers, which were assembled on the ground, adjusted to fit on site, raised in place, and locked into place with pegs and mortise and tenon joints.[88] Two-story floor plans for homes included a large living room, kitchen, and entrance hall, with stairs to the second floor and attic. In Indiana, Harmonists did their baking in communal ovens, so stoves could be substituted for fireplaces.[89]

Living styles

At Harmony, Pennsylvania, four to six members were assigned to a home, where they lived as families, although not all those living in the household were related.[85] Even when the house contained those that were married, they would live together as brother and sister, since there was a suggestion and custom of practicing celibacy. In Indiana, Harmonists continued to live in homes, but they also built dormitories to house single men and women.[28]

Society members woke between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. They ate breakfast between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., lunch at 9 a.m., dinner at noon, afternoon lunch at 3 p.m., and supper between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.[90] They did their chores and work during the day. At the end of the day, members met for meetings and had a curfew of 9 p.m. On Sundays, the members respected the "Holy day" and did no unnecessary work, but attended church services, singing groups, and other social activities.[28]


Their style of dress reflected their Swabian German roots and traditions and was adapted to their life in America.[91] Although the Harmonites typically wore plain clothing, made with their own materials by their own tailors, they would wear their fine garments on Sundays and on other special occasions. At Economy, on special occasions and Sundays, women wore silk dresses using fabric of their own manufacture.[91] Clothing varied in color, but often carried the same design. On a typical day, women wore ankle-length dresses, while men wore pants with vests or coats and a hat.[28]


The Harmonites were a prosperous agricultural and industrial people. They had many machines that helped them be successful in their trades. They even had steam-powered engines that ran the machines at some of their factories in Economy. They kept their machines up to date, and had many factories and mills, for example Beaver Falls Cutlery Company which they purchased in 1867.[92]


Each member of the Society had a job in a certain craft or trade. Most of the work done by men consisted of manual labor, while the women dealt more with textiles or agriculture.

As Economy became more technologically developed, Harmonites began to hire others from outside the Society, especially when their numbers decreased because of the custom of celibacy and as they eventually let fewer new members join. Although the Harmonites did seek work-oriented help from the outside, they were known as a community that supported themselves, kept their ways of living in their community, mainly exported goods, and tried to import as little as possible.

Rise and fall of Harmony Society

George Rapp had an eloquent style, which matched his commanding presence, and he was the personality that led the group through all the different settlements. After Rapp's death in 1847, a number of members left the group because of disappointment and disillusionment over the fact that his prophecies regarding the return of Jesus Christ in his lifetime were not fulfilled. However, many stayed in the group, and the Harmony Society went on to become an even more profitable business community that had many worldly financial successes under the leadership of Romelius L. Baker and Jacob Henrici.

Over time the group became more protective of itself, did not allow many new members, moved further from its religious foundation to a more business-oriented and pragmatic approach, and the custom of celibacy eventually drained it of its membership. The land and financial assets of the Harmony Society were sold off by the few remaining members under the leadership of John Duss and his wife, Susanna, by the year 1906.

Today, many of the Society's remaining buildings are preserved; all three of their settlements in the United States have been declared National Historic Landmark Districts by the National Park Service.

See also

• Ambridge, Pennsylvania
• Economy, Pennsylvania
• Freedom, Pennsylvania
• Geneva College
• Harmonie State Park
• Harmony, Pennsylvania
• Harmony Historic District
• Harmony Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania
• New Harmony Historic District
• New Harmony, Indiana
• New International Encyclopedia
• Old Economy Village
• Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad
• Zoar, Ohio


1. Robert Paul Sutton, Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Religious Communities (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004) p. 38.
2. Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785–1847 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965), p. 17–18.
3. John Archibald Bole, The Harmony Society: A Chapter in German American Culture History (Philadelphia: Americana Germanica Press, 1904) p. 45, 65.
4. Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, 1847–1916 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityPress, 1971), p. 17.
5. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 20.
6. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 30.
7. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 35.
8. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 39.
9. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 38–39.
10. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 40.
11. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 46.
12. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 49.
13. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 49–50.
14. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 54.
15. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 65–69.
16. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 72.
17. Karl J. R. Arndt, The Harmony Society from its beginnings in Germany in 1785 to its Liquidation in the United States in 1905 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1953), p. 189.
18. David Schwab, comp. (2010-05-20). "The Harmony Society". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Pittsburg District. Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
19. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 71.
20. Bole, p. 33–34.
21. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 75.
22. William E. Wilson, The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964), p. 13.
23. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 135, 137.
24. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 76.
25. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 84, 86–90.
26. Christiana F. Knoedler, The Harmony Society: A 19th-Century American Utopia (New York: Vantage Press, 1954), p. 10–11.
27. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 92.
28. Historic New Harmony (2008). "The Harmonie Society" (PDF). University of Southern Indiana. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
29. Wilson, p. 15–16.
30. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 100.
31. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 97–99.
32. Wilson, p. 24–25.
33. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 121.
34. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 123–127.
35. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 105–107, 112.
36. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 84.
37. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 130–131.
38. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 133.
39. Ray E. Boomhower, "New Harmony: Home to Indiana's Communal Societies," Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, 14(4):36.
40. Wilson, p. 37–38.
41. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 145.
42. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 295.
43. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 147.
44. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 206–207.
45. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 182–198.
46. Karl J. R. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society 1814–1824 (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1975), 1:744–745.
47. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:784.
48. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:225–229.
49. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:230.
50. Bole, p. 79.
51. Bole, p. 91.
52. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 287.
53. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 298.
54. Knoedler, p. 19, 22.
55. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 306.
56. Knoedler, p. 23.
57. John M. Tate, Jr. Collection of Notes, Pictures and Documents relating to the Harmony Society, 1806-1930, DAR.1946.02, Darlington Library, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
58. Bole, p. 107.
59. Arndt, The Harmony Society from its beginnings in Germany in 1785 to its Liquidation in the United States in 1905, p. 190.
60. Bole, p. 148.
61. Knoedler, p. 79–83.
62. Daniel B. Reibel, A Guide to Old Economy (Old Economy, PA: Harmonie Associates, 1969), p. 8–9.
63. Bole, p. 141–142, 229.
64. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, p. 99.
65. Reibel, p. 9.
66. Bole, p. 97, 107, 113.
67. Knoedler, p. 58–60.
68. Bole, p. 133, 135.
69. Knoedler, p. 148.
70. Bole, p. 133.
71. J. S. Duss, The Harmonists: A Personal History (Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Book Service, 1943), p. 359–360.
72. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, p. 328.
73. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785–1847, p. 30.
74. Donald E. Pitzer, America's Communal Utopias (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1997) p. 57.
75. Frederic J. Baumgartner, Longing for the End: A History of Millennialism in Western Civilization (1999) p. 166.
76. Arthur Versluis, "Western Esotericism and The Harmony Society", Esoterica I (1999) p. 20–47. Michigan State University
77. PasstheWORD (2005-10-13). "Thomas Bromley On-Line Manuscripts". PasstheWORD. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
78. Joseph H. Peterson (2005). "The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses". Retrieved 2012-06-15.
79. Georg von Welling (1784, third ed., edited and translated by Arthur Versluis). "Opus Mago-Cabalisticum". Frankfurt and Leipzig: The Fleischer Bookstore. Retrieved 2012-06-15. Check date values in: |date= (help)
80. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, p. 147.
81. Wilson, p. 11.
82. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, p. 157.
83. Don Blair, "Harmonist Construction. Principally as found in the two-story houses built in Harmonie, Indiana, 1814–1824," Indiana Historical Society Publications 23, no. (1964): 81.
84. Blair, p. 82.
85. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 109.
86. Blair, p. 49–50.
87. Blair, p. 52–54, 76.
88. Blair, p. 57.
89. Blair, p. 66, 71, 73.
90. Bole, p. 145.
91. Bole, p. 146.
92. Anon (1993). "Gone but not forgotten: the Beaver Falls Cutlery Company". Industrious Beaver Falls. Darlington, Pennsylvania: Beaver County Industrial Museum. This is based on Anon (1992). "The history and lore of Beaver Co.: the Chinese in Beaver Falls 1872". The Beaver Countian Vol III no.1. Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. pp. 1–3.


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• Ritter, Christine C. "Life in early America, Father Rapp and the Harmony Society." Early American Life 9 (1978): 40–43, 71–72.
• Sasse, Angela. "The Religious Celibate Community in Indiana: Yesterday and Today". In German Influence on Religion in Indiana. Studies in Indiana German Americana Series, Vol. 2, 1995, p. 38–52.
• Schema, Hermann. Gemeinschaftssiedlungen auf religiöser und weltanschaulicher Grundlage. Tübingen, 1969.
• Schneck, J., and Richard Owen. The Rappites: Interesting Notes about Early New Harmony; George Rapp's reform society based on the New Testament. Evansville, IN: Courier Company, 1890.
• Schwab, David, comp. (2010-5-20). "The Harmony Society". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Pittsburgh District. 2004-12-3. Retrieved 2012-6-3.
• Slater, Larry R. Ambridge (Pennsylvania). In Images of America. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia, 2008.
• Stewart, Arthur I., and J. O. Gilbert. Harmony; commemorating the centennial of the Borough of Harmony, Pennsylvania, 1838–1938. Harmony, PA: Stewart, 1938.
• Stewart, Arthur I., and Loran W. Veith. Harmony : commemorating the sesquicentennial of Harmony, Pennsylvania, 1805–1955. Harmony, PA: Stewart, 1955.
• Stockwell, Foster. Encyclopedia of American Communes, 1663–1963. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 1998.
• Straube, Carl Frederick. Rise and Fall of Harmony Society, Economy, PA and Other Poems. Pittsburgh, PA: Press of National Printing Co., 1911.
• Sutton, Robert Paul. Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Religious Communities, 1732–2000. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003.
• Sutton, Robert Paul. Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Secular Communities, 1824–2000. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004.
• Tate, John Matthew. Some notes, pictures and documents relating to the Harmony Society and its homes at Harmony, Pennsylvania, New Harmony, Indiana and Economy, Pennsylvania. Sewickley, PA, 1925.
• Taylor, Anne. Visions of Harmony: A Study of Nineteenth-Century Millenarianism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
• Thies, Clifford F. "The Success of American Communes." Southern Economic Journal 67, no. 1 (July 2000): 186–199.
• Trahair, Richard C. S. Utopias and Utopians: An Historical Dictionary. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999.
• Versluis, Arthur. "Western Esotericism and The Harmony Society", Esoterica I, Michigan State University, 1999, pp. 20–47. Retrieved 2012-6-15.
• Wetzel, Richard D. Frontier Musicians on the Connoquenessing, Wabash, and Ohio: A History of the Music and Musicians of George Rapp's Harmony Society (1805–1906). Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976.
• Wetzel, Richard D. "The Music of George Rapp's Harmony Society: 1805–1906." Thesis/diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1970.
• Williams, Aaron. The Harmony Society at Economy, Pennsylvania, Founded by George Rapp, A.D. 1805. Pittsburgh: W.S. Haven, 1866.
• Wilson, William E. The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964.
• Young, Marguerite. Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias. [Fiction]. New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1945.
• Young, Norman C. Old Economy-Ambridge sesqui-centennial historical booklet. Ambridge, PA: The Committee, 1974.

External links

• Old Economy Village museum in Old Economy, Pennsylvania, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, interpreting the history of the Harmony Society.
• The Harmony Museum of Harmony, Pennsylvania, operated by Historic Harmony, Inc.
• Historic New Harmony of New Harmony, Indiana, administered by the University of Southern Indiana and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.
• Harmony Society Papers, PA State Archives
• Account of the Harmony Society and its beliefs
• The Harmonist Labyrinths
• "Harmonists" . New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
• John M. Tate, Jr. Collection of Notes, Pictures and Documents relating to the Harmony Society, 1806-1930, DAR.1946.02, Darlington Library, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 3:08 am

Poor Law Amendment Act 1834
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/19/20

Poor Law Amendment Act 1834
Long title: An Act for the Amendment and better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor in England and Wales.
Citation: 4 & 5 Will. 4 c. 76
Territorial extent: England and Wales
Royal assent: 14 August 1834
Status: Repealed

The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 (PLAA) known widely as the New Poor Law, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed by the Whig government of Earl Grey. It completely replaced earlier legislation based on the Poor Law of 1601 and attempted to fundamentally change the poverty relief system in England and Wales (similar changes were made to the poor law for Scotland in 1845). It resulted from the 1832 Royal Commission into the Operation of the Poor Laws, which included Edwin Chadwick, John Bird Sumner and Nassau William Senior. Chadwick was dissatisfied with the law that resulted from his report. The Act was passed two years after the 1832 Reform Act extended the franchise to middle class men. Some historians have argued that this was a major factor in the PLAA being passed.

The Act has been described as "the classic example of the fundamental Whig-Benthamite reforming legislation of the period".[1] Its theoretical basis was Thomas Malthus's principle that population increased faster than resources unless checked, the "iron law of wages" and Jeremy Bentham's doctrine that people did what was pleasant and would tend to claim relief rather than working.[2]

Many viewed Malthus’ ideas as cold-hearted and viewed the Malthusian Population Theory as justification for the exploitation of the working-class people in the Industrial Revolution. For example, in Charles Dickens' famous story ‘A Christmas Carol’ the character of Ebenezer Scrooge expressed Malthus' ideas in an early scene. For instance, when approached by two men collecting donations for the poor, Scrooge responded by suggesting that the poor should die and “decrease the surplus population”. ‘A Christmas Carol’ was first published by Dickens in 1843, and is generally viewed as a critique of the social system present in England at the time. As such, Dickens’ portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge is viewed as a criticism of Malthus’ ideas.

-- Thomas Malthus, by History Crunch

The Act was intended to curb the cost of poor relief and address abuses of the old system, prevalent in southern agricultural counties, by enabling a new system to be brought in under which relief would only be given in workhouses, and conditions in workhouses would be such as to deter any but the truly destitute from applying for relief. The Act was passed by large majorities in Parliament, with only a few Radicals (such as William Cobbett) voting against. The act was implemented, but the full rigours of the intended system were never applied in Northern industrial areas; however, the apprehension that they would be was a contributor to the social unrest of the period.

The importance of the Poor Law declined with the rise of the welfare state in the 20th century. In 1948, the PLAA was repealed by the National Assistance Act 1948, which created the National Assistance Board to act as a residual relief agency.[3]

1832 Royal Commission's findings

Main article: Royal Commission into the Operation of the Poor Laws 1832

Alarmed at the cost of poor relief in the southern agricultural districts of England (where, in many areas, it had become a semi-permanent top-up of labourers' wages – the Allowance System, Roundsman System, or Speenhamland System), Parliament had set up a Royal Commission into the operation of the Poor Laws. The Commission's findings, which had probably been predetermined, were that the old system was badly and expensively run. The Commission's recommendations were based on two principles. The first was less eligibility: conditions within workhouses should be made worse than the worst conditions outside of them so that workhouses served as a deterrent, and only the neediest would consider entering them. The other was the "workhouse test": relief should only be available in the workhouse. Migration of rural poor to the city to find work was a problem for urban ratepayers under this system, since it raised their poor rates. The Commission's report recommended sweeping changes:[4]

Out-door relief: Poor people coming to a workhouse for food, c. 1840

• Out-relief should cease; relief should be given only in workhouses, and upon such terms that only the truly indigent would accept it. "Into such a house none will enter voluntarily; work, confinement, and discipline, will deter the indolent and vicious; and nothing but extreme necessity will induce any to accept the comfort which must be obtained by the surrender of their free agency, and the sacrifice of their accustomed habits and gratifications."[4]

Whilst this recommendation was a solution to existing problems consistent with "political economy", there was little consideration in the report of what new problems it might give rise to. There was little practical experience to support it; only four of the parishes reporting had entirely abolished out-relief, and their problem cases could well have simply been displaced to neighbouring parishes.[5]

• Different classes of paupers should be segregated; to this end, parishes should pool together in unions, with each of their poorhouses dedicated to a single class of paupers and serving the whole of the union. "[T]he separation of man and wife was necessary, in order to ensure the proper regulation of workhouses".[6]
In practice, most existing workhouses were ill-suited to the new system (characterised by opponents as locking up the poor in "Poor Law bastilles"), and many poor law unions soon found that they needed a new purpose-built union workhouse. Their purpose being to securely confine large numbers of the lower classes at low cost, they not unnaturally looked much like prisons.

• The new system would be undermined if different unions treated their paupers differently; there should therefore be a central board with powers to specify standards and to enforce those standards; this could not be done directly by Parliament because of the legislative workload that would ensue.
This arrangement was simultaneously justified as required to give absolute uniformity country-wide and as allowing regulations to be tailored to local circumstances without taking up Parliament's time.
• Mothers of illegitimate children should receive much less support; poor-law authorities should
no longer attempt to identify the fathers of illegitimate children and recover the costs of child support from them.

It was argued that penalising fathers of illegitimate children reinforced pressures for the parents of children conceived out of wedlock to marry, and generous payments for illegitimate children indemnified the mother against failure to marry. "The effect has been to promote bastardy; to make want of chastity on the woman's part the shortest road to obtaining either a husband or a competent maintenance; and to encourage extortion and perjury".[7]



Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population set out the influential doctrine that population growth was geometric, and that, unless checked, population increased faster than the ability of a country to feed it. This pressure explained the existence of poverty, which he justified theologically as a force for self-improvement and abstention. He saw any assistance to the poor—such as given by the old poor laws—as self-defeating, temporarily removing the pressure of want from the poor while leaving them free to increase their families, thus leading to greater number of people in want and an apparently greater need for relief. His views were influential and hotly debated without always being understood, and opposition to the old Poor Law which peaked between 1815 and 1820 was described by both sides as "Malthusian".[8]

Of those serving on the Commission, the economist Nassau William Senior identified his ideas with Malthus while adding more variables, and Bishop John Bird Sumner as a leading Evangelical was more persuasive than Malthus himself in incorporating the Malthusian principle of population into the Divine Plan, taking a less pessimistic view and describing it as producing benefits such as the division of property, industry, trade and European civilisation.

Iron law of wages

David Ricardo's "iron law of wages" held that aid given to poor workers under the old Poor Law to supplement their wages had the effect of undermining the wages of other workers, so that the Roundsman System and Speenhamland system led employers to reduce wages, and needed reform to help workers who were not getting such aid and rate-payers whose poor-rates were going to subsidise low-wage employers.[2]


Edwin Chadwick, a major contributor to the Commission's report, developed Jeremy Bentham's theory of utilitarianism, the idea that the success of something could be measured by whether it secured the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. This idea of utilitarianism underpinned the Poor Law Amendment Act. Bentham believed that "the greatest good for the greatest number" could only be achieved when wages found their true levels in a free-market system. Chadwick believed that the poor rate would reach its "correct" level when the workhouse was seen as a deterrent and fewer people claimed relief. A central authority was needed to ensure a uniform poor law regime for all parishes and to ensure that that regime deterred applications for relief; that is, to ensure a free market for labour required greater state intervention in poor relief.

Bentham's argument that people chose pleasant options and would not do what was unpleasant provided a rationale for making relief unpleasant so that people would not claim it, "stigmatising" relief so that it became "an object of wholesome horror".[2]

Terms of the Poor Law Amendment Act

A "Poor Law Bastille": 1835 model design of a workhouse to hold 300 paupers...

... 'classified' (men, women, girls, boys) and segregated accordingly

When the Act was introduced, it did not legislate for a detailed Poor Law regime. Instead, it set up a three-man Poor Law Commission, an "at arms' length" quango to which Parliament delegated the power to make appropriate regulations, without making any provision for effective oversight of the Commission's doings. Local poor-rates payers still elected their local Board of Poor Law Guardians and still paid for local poor law provisions, but those provisions could be specified to the Board of Guardians by the Poor Law Commission; where they were, the views of the local rate-payers were irrelevant. The principles upon which the Commission was to base its regulations were not specified. The workhouse test and the idea of "less eligibility" were therefore never mentioned. "Classification of paupers" was neither specified nor prohibited (during passage of the Act, an amendment by William Cobbett forbidding the separation of man and wife had been defeated), and the recommendation of the Royal Commission that "outdoor relief" (relief given outside of a workhouse) should be abolished was reflected only in a clause that any outdoor relief should only be given under a scheme submitted to and approved by the Commissioners.

The Poor Law Commission was independent of Parliament, but conversely, since none of its members sat in Parliament,[9]:clause 8 it had no easy way of defending itself against criticism in Parliament. It was recognised that individual parishes would not have the means to erect or maintain workhouses suitable for implementing the policies of "no outdoor relief" and segregation and confinement of paupers; consequently, the Commission was given powers to order the formation of Poor Law Unions (confederations of parishes) large enough to support a workhouse.[9]:clause 26 The Commission was empowered to overturn any Unions previously established under Gilbert's Act, but only if at least two-thirds of the Union's Guardians supported this.[9]:clause 32 Each Union was to have a Board of Guardians elected by rate-payers and property owners;[9]:clause 38 those with higher rateable-value property were to have multiple votes, as for the Select Vestries set up under Sturges-Bourne's Acts.[9]:clause 40 The Commission had no powers to insist that Unions built new workhouses (except where a majority of Guardians or rate-payers had given written consent),[9]:clause 23 but they could order improvements to be made to existing ones.[9]:clause 25 The Commission was explicitly given powers to specify the number and salaries of Poor Law Board employees and to order their dismissal.[9]:clause 46 It could order the "classification" of workhouse inmates[9]:clause 26 and specify the extent to which (and conditions under which) out-door relief could be given.[9]:clause 52
Clause 15 of the Act gave the Commission sweeping powers:

That from and after the passing of this Act the Administration of Relief to the Poor throughout England and Wales, according to the existing Laws, or such Laws as shall be in force at the Time being, shall be subject to the Direction and Control of the said Commissioners; and for executing the Powers given to them by this Act the said Commissioners shall and are hereby authorized and required, from Time to Time as they shall see Occasion, to make and Issue all such Rules, Orders, and Regulations for the Management of the Poor, for the Government of Workhouses and the Education of the Children therein, ... and for the apprenticing the Children of poor Persons, and for the Guidance and Control of all Guardians, Vestries, and Parish Officers, so far as relates to the Management or Relief of the Poor, and the keeping, examining, auditing, and allowing of Accounts, and making and entering into Contracts in all Matters relating to such Management or Relief, or to any Expenditure for the Relief of the Poor, and for carrying this Act into execution in all other respects, as they shall think proper; and the said Commissioners may, at their Discretion, from Time to Time suspend, alter, or rescind such Rules, Orders, and Regulations, or any of them: Provided always, that nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as enabling the said Commissioners or any of them to interfere in any individual Case for the Purpose of ordering Relief.[9]:clause 15

General Rules could only be made by the Commissioners themselves[9]:clause 12 and had to be notified to a Secretary of State.[9]:clause 16 Any new General Rules had to be laid before Parliament at the start of the next session.[9]:clause 17 General Rules were those issued to the Guardians of more than one Union. Therefore, there was no provision for Parliamentary scrutiny of policy changes (e.g., on the extent to which out-door relief would be permitted) affecting a number of Poor Law Unions, provided these were implemented by separate directives to each Union involved.[10]

The Act specified penalties which could be imposed upon persons failing to comply with the directives of the Poor Law Commission (£5 on first offence; £20 for second offence, fine and imprisonment on the third offence).[9]:clause 98 However, it did not identify any means of penalising parishes or Unions which had not formed a legally constituted Board of Guardians. Poor Law Unions were to be the necessary administrative unit for the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths introduced in 1837.

The Act did give paupers some rights. Lunatics could not be held in a workhouse for more than a fortnight;[9]:clause 45 workhouse inmates could not be forced to attend religious services of a denomination other than theirs (nor could children be instructed in a religious creed objected to by their parent(s)); they were to be allowed to be visited by a minister of their religion.[9]:clause 19


One of the "Somerset House Despots": Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis, Chairman of Poor Law Commission 1834–39

The central body set up to administer the new system was the Poor Law Commission. The Commission worked in Somerset House (hence epithets such as The Bashaws of Somerset House[11]) and was initially made up of:

• Thomas Frankland Lewis – former Tory MP
• George Nicholls – Overseer of the old system
• John George Shaw Lefevre – A lawyer

Chadwick—an author of the Royal Commission's report—was Secretary.

The Commission's powers allowed it to specify policies for each Poor Law Union, and policy did not have to be uniform. Implementation of the New Poor Law administrative arrangements was phased in, starting with the Southern counties whose problems the Act had been designed to address. There was a gratifying reduction in poor-rates, but also horror tales of paupers ill-treated or relief refused. Some paupers were induced to migrate from the Southern to Northern towns, leading to a suspicion in the North that the New Poor Law was intended to drive wages down. By 1837, when roll-out of the new arrangements reached the textile districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, trade was in recession. The usual response to this was for hours of work to be reduced, with pay reducing correspondingly and out-door relief being given to those who could not make ends meet on short-time earnings. This was clearly incompatible with a policy of "no out-door relief", and, despite assurances from the Poor Law Commission that there was no intention to apply that policy in the textile districts, they were not believed and a number of textile towns resisted (or rioted in response to) efforts to introduce the new arrangements. This resistance was eventually overcome, but outdoor relief was never abolished in many Northern districts, although the possibility existed. Policy officially changed after the passing of the Outdoor Labour Test Order, which "allowed" outdoor relief.

Problems with the Poor Law Amendment Act

After 1834, Poor Law policy aimed to transfer unemployed rural workers to urban areas where there was work, and protect urban ratepayers from paying too much.

It was impossible to achieve both these aims, as the principle of less eligibility made people search for work in towns and cities. Workhouses were built and paupers transferred to these urban areas. However, the Settlement Laws were used to protect ratepayers from paying too much. Workhouse construction and the amalgamation of unions was slow. Outdoor relief did continue after the PLAA was introduced.

The board issued further edicts on outdoor relief:

• Outdoor Labour Test Order
• Outdoor Relief Prohibitory Order

The implementation of the Act proved impossible, particularly in the industrial north which suffered from cyclical unemployment. The cost of implementing the Settlement Laws in operation since the 17th century was also high and so these were not implemented fully: it often proved too costly to enforce the removal of paupers. The Commission could issue directives, but these were often not implemented fully and in some cases ignored in order to save on expenses (Darwin Leadbitter 1782–1840 was in charge of the commission's finances).

The PLAA was implemented differently and unevenly across England and Wales. One of the criticisms of the 1601 Poor Law was its varied implementation. The law was also interpreted differently in different parishes, as these areas varied widely in their economic prosperity, and the levels of unemployment experienced within them, leading to an uneven system. Local Boards of Guardians also interpreted the law to suit the interests of their own parishes, resulting in an even greater degree of local variation.

The poor working-class including the agricultural laborers and factory workers also opposed the New Poor Law Act because the diet in workhouses was inadequate to sustain workers' health and nutrition. The Times even named this act as "the starvation act." Even more, the act forced workers to relocate to the locations of workhouses which separated families.[12]

Opposition to the Poor Law

Main article: Opposition to the Poor Law

Fierce hostility and organised opposition from workers, politicians and religious leaders eventually led to the Amendment Act being amended, removing the very harsh measures of the workhouses to a certain degree. The Andover workhouse scandal, in which conditions in the Andover Union Workhouse were found to be inhumane and dangerous, prompted investigation by a Commons select committee, whose report commented scathingly on the dysfunctionality of the Poor Law Commission. As a consequence Government legislation replaced the Poor Law Commission with a Poor Law Board under much closer government supervision and parliamentary scrutiny.

Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist harshly criticises the Poor Law. In 1835 sample dietary tables were issued by the Poor law Commissioners for use in union workhouses.[13] Dickens details the meagre diet of Oliver’s workhouse and points it up in the famous scene of the boy asking for more. Dickens also comments sarcastically on the notorious measure which consisted in separating married couples on admission to the workhouse: "instead of compelling a man to support his family [they] took his family from him, and made him a bachelor! " Like the other children, Oliver was "denied the benefit of exercise" and compelled to carry out the meaningless task of untwisting and picking old ropes although he had been assured that he would be "educated and taught a useful trade.[14]"

In the North of England particularly, there was fierce resistance; the local people considered that the existing system there was running smoothly. They argued that the nature of cyclical unemployment meant that any new workhouse built would be empty for most of the year and thus a waste of money. However, the unlikely union between property owners and paupers did not last, and opposition, though fierce, eventually petered out. In some cases, this was further accelerated as the protests very successfully undermined parts of the Amendment Act and became obsolete.[clarification needed]


According to a 2019 study, the 1834 welfare reform had no impact on rural wages, labor mobility or the fertility rate of the poor. The study concludes, "this deliberately induced suffering gained little for the land and property owners who funded poor relief. Nor did it raise wages for the poor, or free up migration to better opportunities in the cities. One of the first great triumphs of the new discipline of Political Economy, the reform of the Poor Laws, consequently had no effects on economic growth and economic performance in Industrial Revolution England."[15]

See also

• English Poor Laws


1. The Poor Law Amendment Act: 14 August 1834
2. Spicker, Paul, British social policy 1601–1948, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen: Centre for Public Policy and Management, archived from the original on 24 July 2007, retrieved 13 December 2008
3. Boyer, George. "English Poor Laws". Economic History Association.
4. Senior, Nassau; Chadwick, Edwin (1834), Poor Law Commissioners' Report of 1834, London: H.M. Stationery Office
5. Speech of Mr Paulett Scrope (c1321)in "Poor-Laws Amendment—Committee". Hansard House of Commons Debates. 23: cc1320-49. 26 May 1834. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
6. Speech of Lord Althorp (c 339) in "Poor Laws' Amendment—Committee". Hansard House of Commons Debates. 24: cc324-40. 9 June 1834. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
7. "Mr Cowell's report" quoted in "The Amendment of the Poor Laws". The Examiner. 20 April 1834. (J W Cowell was one of the Assistant Commissioners of the Royal Commission)
8. Poynter, John (1998), "Malthus and his critics", Malthus Bicentenary Conference, National Library of Australia, Canberra: National Academies Forum, archived from the original on 20 October 2008, retrieved 13 December 2008
9. "4&5 William IV c LXXVI. : An Act for the Amendment and better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor in England and Wales". The Workhouse. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
10. "Leicester Journal: Friday, August 10, 1838". Leicester Journal. 10 August 1838.
11. "Workhouse – a fact of life in the Industrial Revolution". Cotton Times. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007.
12. Hamlin, Christopher (June 1995). "Could You Starve to Death in England in 1839? The Chadwick-Farr Controversy and the Loss of the "Social" in Public Healh". American Journal of Public Health. 85 (6): 856–866. doi:10.2105/ajph.85.6.856. PMC 1615507. PMID 7762726.
13. "The Workhouse – The Story of an institution". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
14. Dickens, Charles (1966). Oliver Twist. London: Penguin Books. pp. 54 and seq. ISBN 0140430172.
15. Clark, Gregory; Page, Marianne E. (2019). "Welfare reform, 1834: Did the New Poor Law in England produce significant economic gains?". Cliometrica. 13 (2): 221–244. doi:10.1007/s11698-018-0174-4. ISSN 1863-2505.

Further reading

• Blaug, Mark. "The Myth of the Old Poor Law and the Making of the New". Journal of Economic History 23 (1963): 151–84. online
• Boyer, James, et al. "English Poor Laws." EHnet; summary and historiography
• Brundage, Anthony. The making of the new Poor law: the politics of inquiry, enactment, and implementation, 1832–1839 (1978).
• Durbach, Najda. "Roast Beef, the New Poor Law, and the British Nation, 1834–1863". Journal of British Studies 52.4 (2013): 963–89.
• Englander, David. Poverty and Poor Law Reform in Nineteenth-Century Britain, 1834–1914: From Chadwick to Booth (1998) excerpt
• Filtness, David. "Poverty's Policeman" History Today (Feb 2014) 64#2 pp. 32–39.
• Finer, Samuel Edward. The life and times of Sir Edwin Chadwick (1952) excerpt pp. 39–114.
• Lees, Lynn Hollen, The Solidarities of Strangers: The English Poor Laws and the People, 1700–1948 (Cambridge UP, 1998).
• Rose, M.E. ed. The English Poor Law, 1780–1930 (1971)
• Thane, Pat. "Women and the Poor Law in Victorian and Edwardian England," History Workshop Journal 6#1 (1978), pp 29–51,

External links

• Text of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act
• Spartacus article on the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 3:20 am

Charity Organization Society
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/19/20

The Charity Organization Societies were founded in England in 1869 following the 'Goschen Minute' (Poor Law Board; 22nd Annual Report (1869–70), Appendix A No.4. Relief to the Poor in the Metropolis. PP XXXI, 1871) that sought to severely restrict outdoor relief distributed by the Poor Law Guardians. In the early 1870s a handful of local societies were formed with the intention of restricting the distribution of outdoor relief to the elderly.

Also called the Associated Charities was a private charity that existed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a clearing house for information on the poor.[1] The society was mainly concerned with distinction between the deserving poor and undeserving poor.[2] The society believed that giving out charity without investigating the problems behind poverty created a class of citizens that would always be dependent on alms giving.[3]

The society originated in Elberfeld, Germany and spread to Buffalo, New York around 1877.[4] The conviction that relief promoted dependency was the basis for forming the Societies. Instead of offering direct relief, the societies addressed the cycle of poverty. Neighborhood charity visitors taught the values of hard work and thrift to individuals and families. The COS set up centralized records and administrative services and emphasized objective investigations and professional training. There was a strong scientific emphasis as the charity visitors organized their activities and learned principles of practice and techniques of intervention from one another. The result led to the origin of social casework. Gradually, over the ensuing years, volunteer visitors began to be supplanted by paid staff.


Charity Organization Societies were made up of charitable groups that used scientific philanthropy to help poor, distressed or deviant persons. The Societies considered themselves more than just alms givers. Their ultimate goal was to restore as much self-sufficiency and responsibility as an individual could manage. Through their activities, the Societies tended to be aware of the range of social services available in their communities. They thus became the primary source of information and referral for all services. Through these referrals, a Society often became the central agency in the social services of its community. For instance, the Charity Organization Society of Denver, Colorado, the forerunner of the modern United Way of America, coordinated the charitable activities of local Jewish, Congregational and Catholic groups. Its work under the leadership of Frances Wisebart Jacobs ranged from work with tuberculosis patients[5] to the care and education of young children[6] and was funded in part by direct assistance from the city itself.[7]

Settlement House movement

The Charity Organization Society can be compared to the settlement house movement which emphasized social reform rather than personal problems as the proper focus of charity.

Efficacy and criticism

Despite its claims that private charity would be superior to public welfare because it improved the moral character of the recipients, records from the COS' Indianapolis branch show that only a minority of its relief recipients managed to become self-reliant, with the exit rate declining sharply the longer people were on relief. The exit rates are similar to those in late-20th-century public welfare programs, despite the fact that COS only granted relief only to recipients it deemed worthy and improvable. Furthermore, journals kept by the COS case workers and "friendly visitors" indicate that they were not on friendly terms with the relief recipients but described them in disparaging terms and interacted with them in an intrusive and presumptuous way.[8]

The COS was resented by the poor for its harshness, and its acronym was rendered by critics as "Cringe or Starve".[8]

Britain's Charity Organisation Society

In Britain, the Charity Organisation Society led by Helen Bosanquet and Octavia Hill was founded in London in 1869[9] and supported the concept of self-help and limited government intervention to deal with the effects of poverty. Alsager Hay Hill was prominent from its foundation, acting as honorary secretary of the council until July 1870, and as an active member of the council until 1880:[10]

Mr. Alsager Hay Hill joined the Society in its first year. He was one of its first Hon. Secretaries, and the life and soul of Council meetings in the early days of struggle. A man of rare natural wit, something of a poet, and the brightest of companions, he threw himself eagerly into the Society's work, and more particularly devoted his time and energy to an attempt to deal with the problems of unemployment. His 'Labour News' of thirty years ago anticipated the Labour Exchanges of today.[11]

The organisation claimed to use "scientific principles to root out scroungers and target relief where it was most needed".[12] Annie Barnes joined the organisation and used her own background that people objected to accepting "Charity".[13] The Charity Organisation Society was renamed Family Welfare Association in 1946 and still operates today as Family Action, a registered family support charity.

See also

• Scientific Charity Movement


1. (1895). "Charity's Clearing House." The Washington Post. December 15.
2. (1900) "Commissioners of the District of Columbia." Washington Government Printing Office.
3. (1887). "Lots of Chronic Paupers." The Washington Post. October 21.
4. Welfare, National Conference on Social (1 January 2005). Official proceedings of the annual meeting: 1880.
5. (1903) Albert Shaw, The American Review of Reviews. Radcliffe Library, 1903: 701.
6. (1903) Benjamin Lindsey Collection, Box 85, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress; letters from Izetta George dated February 11 and February 14, 1903.
7. (1900) Isabel C. Barrows, ed. The Social Welfare Forum. The Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction at the Twenty-Sixth Annual Session Held in the City of Cincinnati, Ohio, May 17–23, 1899. Boston: George H. Ellis, 1900, page 376.
8. Ziliak, Stephen (2004), Self-Reliance before the Welfare State: Evidence from the Charity Organization Movement in the United States. Journal of Economic History, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 433-461
9. "1800s". Family Action: About Us. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
10. "Hill, Alsager Hay" . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1912.
11. Bosanquet, Helen (1914), Social work in London, 1869 to 1912: A History of the Charity Organisation Society. New York, E P Button & Co.
12. Rees, Rosemary (2001). Poverty and Public Health 1815-1949. London: Heinemann.
13. Elizabeth Crawford, ‘Barnes , Annie (c.1887–1982)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 28 July 2017
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 3:30 am

Helen Bosanquet
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/19/20

Helen Bosanquet
Helen Bosanquet, c. 1900
Born: Helen Dendy, 10 February 1860, Manchester, England
Died: 7 April 1925 (aged 65)
Alma mater: Newnham College, Cambridge (1889)
Occupation: Social theorist and reformer
Spouse(s): Bernard Bosanquet (m. 1895; died 1923)
Parent(s): Revd. John Dendy; Sarah Beard
Relatives: Mary Dendy (sister); Arthur Dendy (brother)

Helen Bosanquet (née Dendy; 10 February 1860 – 7 April 1925)[1] was an English social theorist and social reformer. Helen was the wife of English philosopher Bernard Bosanquet.


Early Life

Helen Dendy was born in Manchester in 1860 to the Reverend John Dendy and his wife, Sarah Beard (1831–1922), eldest daughter of John Relly Beard. She was one of nine children. Mary Dendy was an elder sister and her brother was biologist Arthur Dendy (1865–1925).


Helen and her sisters were educated at home by a governess. In 1886, at the age of twenty-six, she went to Newnham College, Cambridge, to study moral sciences. She obtained a first-class degree in 1889 and appears to have had academic ambitions. However, she failed to get any academic position.[2]


Having moved to London, she joined the Charity Organisation Society (COS), a body committed to rationalizing London's huge collection of private charities. She became organizer and district secretary of the society's Shoreditch branch. She was also active in the London Ethical Society, where she met the philosopher Bernard Bosanquet (1848–1923), whom she married on 13 December 1895.[3] In addition to an active public career as a theorist and publicist for the COS, she worked as a translator of German philosophy and sociology, and as a collaborator with her husband.


In 1902 Bosanquet had a much publicised exchange of views with Seebohm Rowntree, in which she questioned his findings about the extent and the causes of poverty in York. One of these works included the article "A Study in Women’s Wages" which was published as part of "The Economic Journal". This article lobbied for an in increase in the training of women for skilled jobs which would thus result in better working conditions and wages for them.[4] In her article "The Lines of Industrial Profit", Bosanquet offers the idea that business-men of the same trade must agree on fixed prices to reap larger profits and provide their workers with better wages.[5]In her piece, "The Divorce Laws of England and Wales", she offers the idea that young people should not be forced to take a permanent vow as the longevity of a marriage depends on several conditions.[6]She was appointed a member of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws in 1905, where she defended the role of private charities over public welfare programs. She was a major influence on the Majority report (Poor Law), which was published in 1909, which arose out of the Commission.[7] Another member of the Commission was social reformer, Beatrice Webb and the two were often in disagreement. Webb wanted to abolish the Poor Laws and have state-run social services, while Bosanquest wanted to keep some aspects of the Poor Laws.[8]


Bosanquet also played a key role in the development of social work in Britain, through her suggestion that social workers needed formal education as well as professional skills. She influenced the syllabus of the COS School of Sociology (founded 1903), which in 1912 became the Social Science Department of the London School of Economics.

Her influential English translation of Christoph von Sigwart's Logic appeared in 1895.

Following the death of Bernard Bosanquet in 1923, Helen arranged for the manuscript of Three Chapters on the Nature of Mind to be published. Her biography of her husband was published in 1924. She died in Golders Green, London in 1925, having suffered from ill health for some years.


“I have always held that poverty and pain, disease and health are evils of greatly less importance than they appear except in so far as they lead to weakness of life and character; and that true philanthropy aims at increasing strength more than at the correct and immediate relief of poverty…”[9]

"The working-women of England are indeed in a very sorry plight, and that if knights-errant were still to the fore they would find work enough for lance and sword in freeing their sisters from the tyranny by which they are oppressed"[10]


• Helen Bosanquet, "The Name and the House,” The Family. London: MacMillan, 1906.
• Aspects of the Social Problem (1895)
• Rich and Poor (1896)
• The Standard of Life and Other Studies (1898)
• The Strength of the People (1902)
• The Poor Law Report of 1909 : A Summary Explaining the Defects of the Present System and the Principal Recommendations of the Commission, so far as Relates to England and Wales (1909)
• Bernard Bosanquet : A Short Account of His Life (1924)


1. Women of History
2. Harris, Jose. "Bosanquet , Helen (1860–1925)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
3. Archives Hub: Bosanquet Papers Archived 22 July 2012 at
4. Bosanquet, Helen (1902). A Study in Women’s Wages. The Economic Journal. pp. 42–49.
5. Bosanquet, Helen (1897). The Lines of Industrial Profit. The Economic Journal. pp. 503–510.
6. Bosanquet, Helen (1914). The Divorce Laws of England and Wales. The University of Chicago Press. p. 451.
7. Scott, John, ed. (2007). Fifty Key Sociologists: The Formative Theorists. Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 9781134262199.
8. Lewis, Jane (1991). Women and Social Action in Victorian and Edwardian England. Stanford University Press. pp. 146–192.
9. Charity begins at home: Helen Bosanquet, the pioneer behind the Charity Organisation Society
10. Charity begins at home: Helen Bosanquet, the pioneer behind the Charity Organisation Society

External links

• Works by or about Helen Bosanquet at Internet Archive
• Charity Begins at Home:Helen Bosanquet, The Pioneer Behind the Charity Organisation Society
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 3:48 am

London Ethical Society [Ethical Society]
by UCL Bloomsbury Project
Accessed: 5/19/20


It was founded by James Bonar and J. H. Muirhead as a Society of like-minded rational thinkers at a meeting on 20 November 1886 at University Hall in Gordon Square

Bonar and Muirhead had been prompted to found the Society by a meeting at Toynbee Hall with Stanton Coit, an American enthusiast of the ideals of Felix Adler, who became the founder of many ethical societies in England (Susannah Wright, ‘“There Is Something Universal in Our Movement Which Appeals Not Only to One Country, But to All”: International Communication and Moral Education 1892–1914,’ History of Education, vol. 37, no. 6, 2008)

Some of its members had previously belonged to the Fellowship of the New Life

The Society later held lectures at Toynbee Hall, and concentrated on “systematic ethical instruction in connexion with working mens colleges, clubs, and co-operative societies. It was also concerned with university extension and the education of the young” (Peter Gordon and John White, Philosophers as Educational Reformers: The Influence of Idealism on British Educational Thought and Practice, 1979)

Its members were also responsible for the formation of the independent London School of Ethics and Social Philosophy in 1897

It apparently no longer exists, having become increasingly fragmented in the late 19th century (Peter Gordon and John White, Philosophers as Educational Reformers: The Influence of Idealism on British Educational Thought and Practice, 1979)

However, it was one of the many ethical societies which prompted the foundation of the Union of Ethical Societies in 1896; this subsequently became the British Humanist Association in 1967

It also led more directly to the formation of the independent London School of Ethics and Social Philosophy in 1897, which was based at the Passmore Edwards Settlement in Tavistock Place until it was absorbed into the London School of Economics in the twentieth century

What was reforming about it?

Its aim was to take a rational approach to morality and social progress

It was apparently the first English ethical society (M. McCallum, ‘Ethical and Kindred Societies in Great Britain,’ International Journal of Ethics, vol. 1, no. 2, January 1891)

Where in Bloomsbury

Its first meeting was at University Hall in Gordon Square in 1886, although it was subsequently based outside Bloomsbury (Peter Gordon and John White, Philosophers as Educational Reformers: The Influence of Idealism on British Educational Thought and Practice, 1979)

Its successor institution, the London School of Ethics and Social Philosophy, was based at the Passmore Edwards Settlement in Tavistock Place until it was absorbed into the London School of Economics in the twentieth century

Website of current institution

It no longer exists

Books about it

M. McCallum, ‘Ethical and Kindred Societies in Great Britain,’ International Journal of Ethics, vol. 1, no. 2 (January 1891)

There is also a brief account in Peter Gordon and John White, Philosophers as Educational Reformers: The Influence of Idealism on British Educational Thought and Practice (1979)


None found, although there may be relevant material in the records of the British Humanist Association at Bishopsgate Institute, ref. GB 0372 BHA; details of this collection are available online via (opens in new window)
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 3:52 am

London School of Ethics and Social Responsibility
by UCL Bloomsbury Project
Accessed: 5/19/20


It was founded in 1897 by members of the London Ethical Society to provide university-level education in philosophy to those unable to attend a university (Peter Gordon and John White, Philosophers as Educational Reformers: The Influence of Idealism on British Educational Thought and Practice, 1979)

It was supported by some of the distinguished philosophers of the day (Bertrand Russell, ‘Was the World Good before the Sixth Day?’ (lecture, 11 February 1899, in Kenneth Blackwell ed, Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, vol. 1: Cambridge Essays 1888–1899, 1983)

However, although well-meaning it was short-lived, mainly because it was not succeeding in attracting the working classes to its lectures, as it had hoped; it finally failed in its last-ditch bid to become a Public Educational Institution and was forced to close in 1900 (G. E. Moore, The Elements of Ethics, ed Tom Regan, 1991)

Many of its members later became part of the new London School of Economics when the University of London was restructured at the beginning of the twentieth century

What was reforming about it?

It provided university-level philosophical instruction to local people

Where in Bloomsbury

It was based at the Passmore Edwards Settlement in Tavistock Place from its foundation in 1897 until its closure in 1900

Website of current institution

It no longer exists

The successor institution, the London School of Economics, is at (opens in new window)

Books about it

There is a brief but authoritative account in Tom Regan’s Introduction to his edition of G. E. Moore’s The Elements of Ethics (1991)


None found
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 3:54 am

‘A Christmas Carol’: Sending the Poor to Prison
by Matthew Caruchet
Economic Opportunity Institute {EOI]
December 22, 2017

Illustration of the Ghost of Christmas Present by John Leech from the 1800s.

When he was 12 years old in 1824, Charles Dickens worked 10-hour days in a rat-infested shoe-polish factory for six shillings a week. That’s the equivalent of £30.68 or $41.06 in 2017 currency.

It was all the money he had to get by. His father, mother, and five siblings aged 2-11 were in prison because the family was in debt. This is what Western society did with the poor in the mid-1800s. If you fell behind on your bills or couldn’t pay legal fines, you and your family went to flea-ridden government workhouses where you would labor to earn your keep.

Your work did not, however, pay off your debts – you could spend the rest of your life there. If you died in a debtor’s prison, your body was given to anatomists to dissect in the name of science.

Needless to say, Charles Dickens grew to hate the system and rail against it in his works. In his seminal novella “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by two portly men raising money for the poor.

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the [one of the gentlemen], taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

“Both very busy, sir.”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

“You wish to be anonymous?”

“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.”

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Interpretations of “A Christmas Carol” have often tried to turn it into an assault on the wealthy, critiquing capitalism’s effect on society. It is not. There is nothing wrong with being very wealthy in Dickens’ book. The two good men raising money for the poor are capitalists and entrepreneurs. They are “portly” in a time when food was scarce and people starved on the streets.

The evil in society comes from indifference towards fellow people and a reliance on a governmental system that does more harm than good.

Take for instance the “Treadmill” and “Poor Law” mentioned above.

A treadmill at Brixton Prison in London in the 1800s.

The treadmill was a feature in prisons where inmates would walk endlessly, pushing a huge wheel while holding bars at chest height. With every step, the wheel would turn, grinding corn. Prisoners were allowed 12 minutes of break every hour. It was meant to be a form of “preventive punishment” so difficult that that nobody exposed to it would ever risk reoffending.

The Poor Law is a reference to the popular economic theories of Thomas Malthus. Malthus argued that ruinous poverty and starvation were necessary ills, as society could not possibly provide for everyone and death would remove the undesirables from the population. He supported the Poor Law to create workhouses for the poor, as people who were unable to sustain themselves did not have the right to live.

In the fevered haunting of the second night, Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present visit the holiday celebration of Bob Cratchit, with its tiny pudding to serve a family of seven. Bob works 60 hours a week and earns 15 shillings – £89.78 or $120.19 in 2017 dollars.

His son, Tiny Tim, would have died under the Poor Law system. That’s why, of all the Christmas spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Present has the most disdain for Scrooge, mockingly spitting his words back at him.

“God bless us every one!” said Tiny Tim, the last of all.

He sat very close to his father’s side upon his little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him.

“Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”

“I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”

“No, no,” said Scrooge. “Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.”

“If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,” returned the Ghost, “will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.

It’s easy for Scrooge to feel sorry for Tiny Tim. It’s someone he knows – a single instance with a face and a personality. But it’s harder to feel compassion for large swathes of people, faceless segments of the population hidden away in debtor’s prisons and workhouses. That’s why the Ghost of Christmas Present has more words to throw back as he dies.

“Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw!”

“It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

“Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!”

“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

Note that Ignorance is worse than Want. Want is an immediate need – food to eat, a bed to sleep in. But Ignorance keeps you from ever improving your situation. Without education, children are condemned to a lifetime of poverty, creating a permanent underclass that dooms society as a whole.

As we all know, Scrooge awakes from his last ghostly visit a new man. He buys Bob Cratchit a turkey and pays the two portly men hefty sums to help the poor. Then he goes to celebrate Christmas at a sumptuous party thrown by his wealthy nephew Fred.

Again, “A Christmas Carol” is not an attack on wealth. Scrooge remains wealthy in the end, and the ideal Christmas is a celebration filled with excesses of food, drink and gifts. But it condemns the violence of looking away, ignoring the evils foisted on people who cannot afford to survive in society, and the political structure that keeps mortifying poverty in place.

It’s easy to believe we don’t live in a society with the sheer injustice of Victorian England. But there are many similarities.

A debtor’s prison in London.

Two hundred years ago, the United States banned debtors’ prisons, but they still exist today. State and local courts raise money by charging fees to people convicted of crimes. In Washington State, people who are unable to pay parking tickets and fines for low-level offenses are jailed, without options for alternatives or community service.

In prison, people often have to pay for their own incarceration, a debt that follows them when they are freed. Prisons have also become workhouses, paying inmates paltry wages for work while incarcerated. In Washington, inmates earn $0.36 an hour working for private industry, and up to $2.70 an hour working for state-owned industries.

We have a tax system in Washington reliant on property and sales taxes, which affect the poor more than the rich. While the poorest in our state pay 16.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the rich pay only 2.4 percent.

Our education system is chronically underfunded, with one of the highest student-teacher ratios in the country. Increasing amounts of money are being funneled out of public schools and into charter schools – cementing Ignorance in the children of families who can’t afford a private education.

In Seattle, we have the third-highest homeless population in the country, even though Seattle is the nation’s 18th-largest city. Black people are being priced out of the city. Seattle is now at a level of income inequality rivaling San Francisco.

Dickens wasn’t against wealth; he was against greed. He was against income inequality so stark that the people at the bottom could barely survive, and that people who could not work were better off dead.

Dickens also believed it’s never too late for redemption. “A Christmas Carol” teaches that people who turn a blind eye to suffering are still inherently good in their deepest heart. They are just unable to put themselves in the shoes of the less fortunate. Or, as I would like to believe happens to many of us, they are so overcome with the enormity of society’s problems that they are stricken with paralysis.

To that, the story provides an elegant solution – enjoy your life, help those around you that you can have an immediate effect on, and work to change a system that propagates destitution.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 20, 2020 4:16 am

Part 1 of 2

Jeremy Bentham
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/19/20

Jeremy Bentham
Portrait by Henry William Pickersgill
Born: 15 February 1748, London, England, Kingdom of Great Britain
Died: 6 June 1832 (aged 84), London, England, United Kingdom
Education: The Queen's College, Oxford (BA 1763; MA 1766)
Era: 18th-century philosophy; 19th-century philosophy
School: Utilitarianism; Legal positivism; Liberalism; Epicureanism
Main interests: Political philosophy, philosophy of law, ethics, economics
Notable ideas: Greatest happiness principle, Radical Consequentialism[1]
Influences: Protagoras Epicurus John Locke David Hume Montesquieu Helvétius Hobbes Beccaria Adam Smith
Influenced: John Stuart Mill Thomas Hodgskin William Thompson Henry Sidgwick Michel Foucault Peter Singer John Austin Robert Owen H. L. A. Hart Francis Y. Edgeworth A. V. Dicey[2] Étienne Dumont

Jeremy Bentham (/ˈbɛnθəm/; 15 February 1748 [O.S. 4 February 1747][3] – 6 June 1832) was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism.[4][5]

Bentham defined as the "fundamental axiom" of his philosophy the principle that "it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong."[6][7] He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism. He advocated individual and economic freedoms, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, the right to divorce, and (in an unpublished essay) the decriminalising of homosexual acts.[8][9] He called for the abolition of slavery, capital punishment and physical punishment, including that of children.[10] He has also become known as an early advocate of animal rights.[11][12][13][14] Though strongly in favour of the extension of individual legal rights, he opposed the idea of natural law and natural rights (both of which are considered "divine" or "God-given" in origin), calling them "nonsense upon stilts".[4][15] Bentham was also a sharp critic of legal fictions.

Bentham's students included his secretary and collaborator James Mill, the latter's son, John Stuart Mill, the legal philosopher John Austin, as well as Robert Owen, one of the founders of utopian socialism. He "had considerable influence on the reform of prisons, schools, poor laws, law courts, and Parliament itself."[16]

On his death in 1832, Bentham left instructions for his body to be first dissected, and then to be permanently preserved as an "auto-icon" (or self-image), which would be his memorial. This was done, and the auto-icon is now on public display in the entrance of the Student Centre at University College London (UCL). Because of his arguments in favour of the general availability of education, he has been described as the "spiritual founder" of UCL. However, he played only a limited direct part in its foundation.[17]


Early life

Portrait of Bentham by the studio of Thomas Frye, 1760–1762

Bentham was born on 15 February 1748 in Houndsditch, London,[18] to a wealthy family that supported the Tory party. He was reportedly a child prodigy: he was found as a toddler sitting at his father's desk reading a multi-volume history of England, and he began to study Latin at the age of three.[19] He learnt to play the violin, and at the age of seven Bentham would perform sonatas by Handel during dinner parties.[20] He had one surviving sibling, Samuel Bentham (1757–1831), with whom he was close.

He attended Westminster School; in 1760, at age 12, his father sent him to The Queen's College, Oxford, where he completed his bachelor's degree in 1763 and his master's degree in 1766. He trained as a lawyer and, though he never practised, was called to the bar in 1769. He became deeply frustrated with the complexity of English law, which he termed the "Demon of Chicane".[21] When the American colonies published their Declaration of Independence in July 1776, the British government did not issue any official response but instead secretly commissioned London lawyer and pamphleteer John Lind to publish a rebuttal.[22] His 130-page tract was distributed in the colonies and contained an essay titled "Short Review of the Declaration" written by Bentham, a friend of Lind, which attacked and mocked the Americans' political philosophy.[23][24]

In examining this singular Declaration, I have hitherto confined myself to what are given as facts, and alleged against his Majesty and his Parliament, in support of the charge of tyranny and usurpation. Of the preamble I have taken little or no notice. The truth is, little or none does it deserve. The opinions of the modern Americans on Government, like those of their good ancestors on witchcraft, would be too ridiculous to deserve any notice, if like them too, contemptible and extravagant as they be, they had not led to the most serious evils.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

-- Preamble, The Declaration of Independence: The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, In Congress

In this preamble however it is, that they attempt to establish a theory of Government; a theory, as absurd and visionary, as the system of conduct in defence of which it is established is nefarious. Here it is, that maxims are advanced in justification of their enterprises against the British Government. To these maxims, adduced for this purpose, it would be sufficient to say, that they are repugnant to the British Constitution.

To possess ourselves of a clear idea of what government is, or ought to be, we must trace it to its origin. In doing this we shall easily discover that governments must have arisen either out of the people or over the people. Mr. Burke has made no distinction. He investigates nothing to its source, and therefore he confounds everything; but he has signified his intention of undertaking, at some future opportunity, a comparison between the constitution of England and France. As he thus renders it a subject of controversy by throwing the gauntlet, I take him upon his own ground. It is in high challenges that high truths have the right of appearing; and I accept it with the more readiness because it affords me, at the same time, an opportunity of pursuing the subject with respect to governments arising out of society.

But it will be first necessary to define what is meant by a Constitution. It is not sufficient that we adopt the word; we must fix also a standard signification to it.

A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution, therefore, is to a government what the laws made afterwards by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make the laws, neither can it alter them; it only acts in conformity to the laws made: and the government is in like manner governed by the constitution.

Can, then, Mr. Burke produce the English Constitution? If he cannot, we may fairly conclude that though it has been so much talked about, no such thing as a constitution exists, or ever did exist, and consequently that the people have yet a constitution to form.

Mr. Burke will not, I presume, deny the position I have already advanced- namely, that governments arise either out of the people or over the people. The English Government is one of those which arose out of a conquest, and not out of society, and consequently it arose over the people; and though it has been much modified from the opportunity of circumstances since the time of William the Conqueror, the country has never yet regenerated itself, and is therefore without a constitution.

I readily perceive the reason why Mr. Burke declined going into the comparison between the English and French constitutions, because he could not but perceive, when he sat down to the task, that no such a thing as a constitution existed on his side the question. His book is certainly bulky enough to have contained all he could say on this subject, and it would have been the best manner in which people could have judged of their separate merits. Why then has he declined the only thing that was worth while to write upon? It was the strongest ground he could take, if the advantages were on his side, but the weakest if they were not; and his declining to take it is either a sign that he could not possess it or could not maintain it.

-- Rights of Man, by Thomas Paine

But beyond this they are subversive of every actual or imaginable kind of Government.

They are about “to assume,” as they tell us, “among the powers of the earth, that equal and separate station to which” — they have lately discovered — “the laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God entitle them.” What difference these acute legislators suppose between the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, is more than I can take upon me to determine, or even to guess. If to what they now demand they were entitled by any law of God, they had only to produce that law, and all controversy was at an end. Instead of this, what do they produce? What they call sell-evident truths. “All men,” they tell us, “are created equal.” This rarity is a new discovery; now, for the first time, we learn, that a child, at the moment of his birth, has the same quantity of natural power as the parent, the same quantity of political power as the magistrate.

The rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — by which, if they mean any thing, they must mean the right to enjoy life, to enjoy liberty, and to pursue happiness — they "hold to be unalienable.” This they “hold to be among truths self-evident.” At the same time, to secure these rights, they are content that Governments should be instituted. They perceive not, or will not seem to perceive, that nothing which can be called Government ever was, or ever could be, in any instance, exercised, but at the expence of one or other of those rights. — That, consequently, in as many instances as Government is ever exercised, some one or other of these rights, pretended to be unalienable, is actually alienated.

That men who are engaged in the design of subverting a lawful Government, should endeavour by a cloud of words, to throw a veil over their design; that they should endeavour to beat down the criteria between tyranny and lawful government, is not at all surprising. But rather surprising it must certainly appear, that they should advance maxims so incompatible with their own present conduct. If the right of enjoying life be unalienable, whence came their invasion of his Majesty’s province of Canada? Whence the unprovoked destruction of so many lives of the inhabitants of that province? If the right of enjoying liberty be unalienable, whence came so many of his Majesty’s peaceable subjects among them, without any offence, without so much as a pretended offence, merely for being suspected not to wish well to their enormities, to be held by them in durance? If the right of pursuing happiness be unalienable, how is it that so many others of their fellow-citizens are by the same injustice and violence made miserable, their fortunes ruined, their persons banished and driven from their friends and families? Or would they have it believed, that there is in their selves some superior sanctity, some peculiar privilege, by which those things are lawful to them, which are unlawful to all the world besides? Or is it, that among acts of coercion, acts by which life or liberty are taken away, and the pursuit of happiness restrained, those only are unlawful, which their delinquency has brought upon them, and which are exercised by regular, long established, accustomed governments?

In these tenets they have outdone the utmost extravagance of all former fanatics.The German Anabaptists indeed went so far as to speak of the right of enjoying life as a right unalienable. To take away life, even in the Magistrate, they held to be unlawful. But they went no farther, it was reserved for an American Congress, to add to the number of unalienable rights, that of enjoying liberty, and pursuing happiness; — that is,— if they mean any thing, —pursuing it wherever a man thinks he can see it, and by whatever means he thinks he can attain it: — That is, that all penal laws — those made by their selves among others—which affect life or liberty, are contrary to the law of God, and the unalienable rights of mankind: — That is, that thieves are not to be restrained from theft, murderers from murder, rebels from rebellion.

Here then they have put the axe to the root of all Government; and yet, in the same breath, they talk of “Governments,” of Governments “long established.”
To these last, they attribute same kind of respect; they vouchsafe even to go so far as to admit, that “Governments, long established, should not be “changed for light or transient reasons.”

Yet they are about to change a Government, a Government whose establishment is coeval with their own existence as a Community. What causes do they assign? Circumstances which have always subsisted, which must continue to subsist, wherever Government has subsisted, or can subsist.

For what, according to their own shewing, what was their original their only original grievance? That they were actually taxed more than they could bear? No; but that they were liable to be so taxed. What is the amount of all the subsequent grievances they alledge? That they were actually oppressed by Government? That Government has actually misused its power? No; but that it was possible that they might be oppressed; possible that Government might misuse its powers. Is there any where, can there be imagined any where, that Government, where subjects are not liable to taxed more than they can bear? where it is not possible that subjects may be oppressed, not possible that Government may misuse its powers?

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

-- Preamble, The Declaration of Independence: The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, In Congress

This I say, is the amount, the whole sum and substance of all their grievances. For in taking a general review of the charges brought against his Majesty, and his Parliament, we may observe that there is a studied confusion in the arrangement of them. It may therefore be worth while to reduce them to the several distinct heads, under which I should have classed them at the first, had not the order of the Answer been necessarily prescribed by the order — or rather the disorder, of the Declaration.

The first head consists of Acts of Government, charged as so many acts of incroachment, so many usurpations upon the present King and his Parliaments exclusively, which had been constantly exercised by his Predecessors and their Parliaments.1

In all the articles comprised in this head, is there a single power alleged to have been exercised during the present reign, which had not been constantly exercised by preceding Kings, and preceding Parliaments? Read only the commission and instruction for the Council of Trade, drawn up in the 9th of King William III addressed to Mr. Locke, and others.2 See there what powers were exercised by the King and Parliament over the Colonies. Certainly the Commissioners were directed to inquire into, and make their reports concerning those matters only, in which the King and Parliament had a power of controlling the Colonies. Now the Commissioners are instructed to inquire — into the condition of the Plantations, “as well with regard to the administration of Government and Justice, as in relation to the commerce thereof;”–into the means of making “them most beneficial and useful to England; — “into the staples and manufactures, which may be encouraged there;” — “into the trades that are taken up and exercised there, which may prove prejudicial to England;” — “into the means of diverting them from such trades.” Farther, they are instructed “to examine into, and weigh the Acts of the Assemblies of the Plantations;” — “to set down the usefulness or mischief to the Crown, to the Kingdom, or to the Plantations their selves.” — And farther still, they are instructed “to require an account of all the monies given for public uses by the assemblies of the Plantations, and how the same are, or have been expended, or laid out.” Is there now a single Act of the present reign which does not fall under one or other of these instructions?

The powers then, of which the several articles now before us complain, are supported by usage; were conceived to be so supported then, just after the Revolution, at the time these instructions were given; and were they to be supported only upon this foot of usage, still that usage being coeval with the Colonies, their tacit consent and approbation, through all the successive periods in which that usage has prevailed, would be implied; — even then the legality of those powers would stand upon the same foot as most of the prerogatives of the Crown, most of the rights of the people, — even then the exercise of those powers could in no wise be deemed usurpations or encroachments.

But the truth is, to the exercise of these powers, on many occasions the Colonies have not tacitly, but expressly, consented; as expressly as any subject of Great Britain ever consented to Acts of the British Parliament. Consult the Journals of either House of Parliament; consult the proceedings of their own Assemblies; and innumerable will be the occasions, on which the legality of these powers will be found to be expressly recognised by Acts of the Colonial Assemblies. For in preceding reigns, the petitions from these Assemblies were couched in a language, very different from that which they have assumed under the present reign. In praying for the non-exercise of these powers, in particular instances, they acknowledged their legality; the right in general was recognised; the exercise of it, in particular instances, was prayed to be suspended on the sole ground of inexpedience.

The less reason can the Americans have to complain against the exercise of these powers, as it was under the constant exercise of the self-same powers, that they have grown up with a vigour and rapidity unexampled: That within a period, in which other communities have scarcely had time to take root, they have shot forth exuberant branches. So flourishing is their agriculture, that — we are told — “besides feeding plentifully their own growing multitudes, their annual exports have exceeded a million;” So flourishing is their trade, that — we are told — “it has increased far beyond the speculations of the most sanguine imagination.”3 So powerful are they in arms, that we see them defy the united force of that nation, which, but a little century ago, called them into being; which, but a few years ago, in their defence, encountered and subdued almost the united force of Europe.

If the exercise of powers, thus established by usage, thus recognised by express declarations, thus sanctified by their beneficial effects, can justify rebellion, there is not that subject in the world, but who has, ever has had, and ever must have, reason sufficient to rebel: There never was, never can be, established, any government upon earth.

The second head consists of Acts, whose professed object was either the maintenance, or the amendment of their Constitution. These Acts were passed with the view either of freeing from impediments the course of their commercial transactions,4 or of facilitating the administration of justice,5 or of poising more equally the different powers in their Constitution;6 or of preventing the establishing of Courts, inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution.7

To state the object of these Acts, is to justify them. Acts of tyranny they cannot be: Acts of usurpation they are not; because no new power is assumed. By former Parliaments, in former reigns, officers of customs had been sent to America: Courts of Admiralty had been established there. The increase of trade and population induced the Parliaments, under the present reign, for the convenience of the Colonists, and to obviate their own objections of delays arising from appeals to England, to establish a Board of Customs, and an Admiralty Court of Appeal. Strange indeed is it to hear the establishment of this Board, and these Courts, alleged as proofs of usurpation; and in the same paper, in the same breath, to hear it urged as a head of complaint, that his Majesty refused his assent to a much greater exertion of power: —to an exertion of power, which might be dangerous; the establishment of new Courts of Judicature. What in one instance he might have done, to have done in another, cannot be unconstitutional. In former reigns, charters had been altered; in the present reign, the constitution of one charter, having been found inconsistent with the ends of good order and government, was amended.

The third head consists of temporary Acts, passed pro re notá, the object of each of which was to remedy some temporary evil, and the duration of which was restrained to the duration of the evil itself.8

Neither in these Acts was any new power affirmed; in some instances only, the objects upon which that power was exercised, were new. Nothing was done but what former Kings and former Parliaments have shewn their selves ready to do, had the same circumstances subsisted. The same circumstances never did subsist before, because, till the present reign, the Colonies never dared to call in question the supreme authority of Parliament.

No charge, classed under this head, can be called a grievance. Then only is the subject aggrieved, when, paying due obedience to the established Laws of his country, he is not protected in his established rights. From the moment he withholds obedience, he forfeits his right to protection. Nor can the means, employed to bring him back to obedience, however severe, be called grievances; especially if those means be to cease the very moment that the end is obtained.

The last head consists of Acts of self-defence, exercised in consequence of resistance already shewn but represented in the Declaration as Acts of oppression, tending to provoke resistance.9 Has his Majesty cut off their trade with all parts of the world? They first attempted to cut off the trade of Great Britain. Has his Majesty ordered their vessels to be seized? They first burnt the vessels of the King. Has his Majesty sent troops to chastise them? They first took up arms against the authority of the King. Has his Majesty engaged the Indians against them? They first engaged Indians against the troops of the King. Has his Majesty commanded their captives to serve on board his fleet? He has only saved them from the gallows.

By some, these acts have been improperly called “Acts of punishment.” And we are then asked, with an air of insult, “What! will you punish without a trial, without a hearing?” And no doubt punishment, whether ordinary or extraordinary; whether by indictment, impeachment, or bill of attainder, should be preceded by judicial examination. But, the acts comprised under this head are not acts of punishment; they are, as we have called them, this of self-defence. And these are not, cannot be, preceded by any judicial examination. An example or two will serve to place the difference between acts of punishment and acts of self-defence in a stronger light, than any definition we can give. It has happened, that bodies of manufacturers have risen, and armed, in order to compel their masters to increase their wages: It has happened, that bodies of peasants have risen, and armed, in order to compel the farmer to sell at a lower price. It has happened, that the civil magistrate, unable to reduce the insurgents to their duty, has called the military to his aid. But did ever any man imagine, that the military were sent to punish the insurgents? It has happened, that the insurgents have resisted the military, as they had resisted the civil magistrate: It has happened, that, in consequence of this resistance, some of the insurgents have been killed: — But did ever any man imagine that those who were thus killed, were therefore punished? No more can they be said to be punished, than could the incendiary, who should be buried beneath the ruins of the house, which he had feloniously set on fire. Take an example yet nearer to the present case. When the Duke of Cumberland led the armies of the king, foreign and domestic, against the Rebels in Scotland, did any man conceive that he was sent to punish the Rebels? — Clearly not. — He was sent to protect dutiful and loyal subjects, who remained in the peace of the King, against the outrages of Rebels, who had broken the peace of the King. — Does any man speak of those who fell at the battle of Culloden, as of men that were punished? Would that man have been thought in his senses, who should have urged, that the armies of the King should not have been sent against these Rebels in Scotland, till those very Rebels had been judicially heard, and judicially convicted? Does not every man feel that the fact, the only fact, necessary to be known, in order to justify these acts of self-defence, is simply this: — Are men in arms against the authority of the King? — Who does not feel, that to authenticate this fact, demands no judicial inquiry? If when his Royal Highness had led the army under his command into Scotland, there had been no body of men in arms; if, terrified at his approach, they had either laid down their arms and submitted, or had dispersed and retired quietly, each to his own home, what would have been the consequence? The civil magistrate would have searched for and seized upon those who had been in arms would have brought them to a court of justice. That court would have proceeded to examine, and to condemn or to acquit, as evidence was, or was not, given of the guilt of the respective culprits. The Rebels did not submit, they did not lay down their arms, they did not disperse; they resisted the Duke: a battle ensued: some of the Rebels fled, others were slain, others taken. It is upon those only of the last class, who were brought before and condemned by Courts of justice, that punishment was inflicted. By what kind of logic then are these acts ranked in the class of grievances?

These are the Acts — these are the exertions of constitutional, and hitherto, undisputed powers, for which, in the audacious paper, a patriot King is traduced — as “a Prince, whose character is marked by every Act “which may define a tyrant;” as “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” These are the Acts, these exertions of constitutional, and, hitherto, undisputed powers, by which the Members of the Congress declare their selves and their constituents to be “absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown” pronounce “all political connection between Great Britain and America to be totally dissolved.” With that hypocrisy which pervades the whole of the Declaration, they pretend indeed, that this event is not of their seeking; that it is forced upon them; that they only “acquiesce in the necessity which denounces their separation from us:” which compels them hereafter to hold us, as they hold the rest of mankind; enemies in war; in peace, friends.”

How this Declaration may strike others, I know not. To me, I own, it appears that it cannot fail — to use the words of a great Orator— “of doing us Knight’s service.”10 The mouth of faction, we may reasonably presume, will be closed; the eyes of those who saw not, or would not see, that the Americans were long since aspiring at independence, will be opened; the nation will unite as one man, and teach this rebellious people, that it is one thing for them to say, the connection, which bound them to us, is dissolved, another to dissolve it; that to accomplish their independence is not quite so easy as to declare it: that there is no peace with them, but the peace of the King: no war with them, but that war, which offended justice wages against criminals. — We too, I hope, shall acquiesce in the necessity of submitting to whatever burdens, of making whatever efforts may be necessary, to bring this ungrateful and rebellious people back to that allegiance they have long had it in contemplation to renounce, and have now at last so daringly renounced.

1. Under this head are comprised articles I. II. so far as they are true, III. VII. IX. so far as the last relates to the tenure of the Judges’ offices. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XVII. XVIII. so far as the last relates to the Declaration of the power of Parliament to make laws for the Colonies binding in all cases whatsoever.
2. See Com. Journ. vol. xii. , p. 70, 71, 72.
3. See Mr. Burke’s speeches.
4. Article X.
5. Article XVIII, so far as it relates to the multiplication of the Courts of Admiralty.
6. Article XXI
7. Article VIII.
8. Under this head may be classed Articles IV., V. VI. IX. so far as the last relates to the payment of the Judges by the Crown. XV. XXII so far as the latter relates to the suspension of their legislatures.
9. Under this head may be classed Articles XVI.,XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII. Two other Acts there are, not comprised with any of the four heads, the XX and XXVIII. The former of there relates to the government of Quebec., with which the revolted Colonies have no more to do, than with the government of Russia: The latter relates to the humble petitions they pretend to have presented “in every stage,” as they style it, “of the oppressions,” under which they pretend to labour. This we have seen to be false. Not one one humble petition; no one decent representation, have they offered,
10. Mr. Burke’s speech.

-- A Short Review of the Declaration, by Jeremy Bentham, 1776

Abortive prison project

In 1786 and 1787, Bentham travelled to Krichev in White Russia (modern Belarus) to visit his brother, Samuel, who was engaged in managing various industrial and other projects for Prince Potemkin.

His rule in the south is associated with the "Potemkin village", a ruse involving the construction of painted façades to mimic real villages, full of happy, well-fed people, for visiting officials to see.

-- Grigory Potemkin, by Wikipedia

It was Samuel (as Jeremy later repeatedly acknowledged) who conceived the basic idea of a circular building at the hub of a larger compound as a means of allowing a small number of managers to oversee the activities of a large and unskilled workforce.[25][26]

Bentham began to develop this model, particularly as applicable to prisons, and outlined his ideas in a series of letters sent home to his father in England.[27] He supplemented the supervisory principle with the idea of contract management; that is, an administration by contract as opposed to trust, where the director would have a pecuniary interest in lowering the average rate of mortality.[28] The Panopticon was intended to be cheaper than the prisons of his time, as it required fewer staff; "Allow me to construct a prison on this model," Bentham requested to a Committee for the Reform of Criminal Law, "I will be the gaoler. You will see ... that the gaoler will have no salary—will cost nothing to the nation." As the watchmen cannot be seen, they need not be on duty at all times, effectively leaving the watching to the watched. According to Bentham's design, the prisoners would also be used as menial labour, walking on wheels to spin looms or run a water wheel. This would decrease the cost of the prison and give a possible source of income.[29]

The ultimately abortive proposal for a panopticon prison to be built in England was one among his many proposals for legal and social reform.[30] But Bentham spent some sixteen years of his life developing and refining his ideas for the building and hoped that the government would adopt the plan for a National Penitentiary appointing him as contractor-governor. Although the prison was never built, the concept had an important influence on later generations of thinkers. Twentieth-century French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that the panopticon was paradigmatic of several 19th-century "disciplinary" institutions.[31] Bentham remained bitter throughout his later life about the rejection of the panopticon scheme, convinced that it had been thwarted by the King and an aristocratic elite. It was largely because of his sense of injustice and frustration that he developed his ideas of "sinister interest"—that is, of the vested interests of the powerful conspiring against a wider public interest—which underpinned many of his broader arguments for reform.[32]

Elevation, section and plan of Bentham's panopticon prison, drawn by Willey Reveley in 1791.

On his return to England from Russia, Bentham had commissioned drawings from an architect, Willey Reveley.[33] In 1791, he published the material he had written as a book, although he continued to refine his proposals for many years to come. He had by now decided that he wanted to see the prison built: when finished, it would be managed by himself as contractor-governor, with the assistance of Samuel. After unsuccessful attempts to interest the authorities in Ireland and revolutionary France,[34] he started trying to persuade the prime minister, William Pitt, to revive an earlier abandoned scheme for a National Penitentiary in England, this time to be built as a panopticon. He was eventually successful in winning over Pitt and his advisors, and in 1794 was paid £2,000 for preliminary work on the project.[35]

The intended site was one that had been authorised (under an act of 1779) for the earlier Penitentiary, at Battersea Rise; but the new proposals ran into technical legal problems and objections from the local landowner, Earl Spencer.[36] Other sites were considered, including one at Hanging Wood, near Woolwich, but all proved unsatisfactory.[37] Eventually Bentham turned to a site at Tothill Fields, near Westminster. Although this was common land, with no landowner, there were a number of parties with interests in it, including Earl Grosvenor, who owned a house on an adjacent site and objected to the idea of a prison overlooking it. Again, therefore, the scheme ground to a halt.[38] At this point, however, it became clear that a nearby site at Millbank, adjoining the Thames, was available for sale, and this time things ran more smoothly. Using government money, Bentham bought the land on behalf of the Crown for £12,000 in November 1799.[39]

From his point of view, the site was far from ideal, being marshy, unhealthy, and too small. When he asked the government for more land and more money, however, the response was that he should build only a small-scale experimental prison—which he interpreted as meaning that there was little real commitment to the concept of the panopticon as a cornerstone of penal reform.[40] Negotiations continued, but in 1801 Pitt resigned from office, and in 1803 the new Addington administration decided not to proceed with the project.[41] Bentham was devastated: "They have murdered my best days."[42]

Nevertheless, a few years later the government revived the idea of a National Penitentiary, and in 1811 and 1812 returned specifically to the idea of a panopticon.[43] Bentham, now aged 63, was still willing to be governor. However, as it became clear that there was still no real commitment to the proposal, he abandoned hope, and instead turned his attentions to extracting financial compensation for his years of fruitless effort. His initial claim was for the enormous sum of nearly £700,000, but he eventually settled for the more modest (but still considerable) sum of £23,000.[44] An Act of Parliament in 1812 transferred his title in the site to the Crown.[45]

More successful was his cooperation with Patrick Colquhoun in tackling the corruption in the Pool of London. This resulted in the Thames Police Bill of 1798, which was passed in 1800.[a] The bill created the Thames River Police, which was the first preventive police force in the country and was a precedent for Robert Peel's reforms 30 years later.[47]

Correspondence and contemporary influences

Bentham was in correspondence with many influential people. In the 1780s, for example, Bentham maintained a correspondence with the aging Adam Smith, in an unsuccessful attempt to convince Smith that interest rates should be allowed to freely float.[48] As a result of his correspondence with Mirabeau and other leaders of the French Revolution, Bentham was declared an honorary citizen of France.[49] He was an outspoken critic of the revolutionary discourse of natural rights and of the violence that arose after the Jacobins took power (1792). Between 1808 and 1810, he held a personal friendship with Latin American revolutionary Francisco de Miranda and paid visits to Miranda's Grafton Way house in London. He also developed links with José Cecilio del Valle.[50][51]

South Australian colony proposal

Bentham contributed to a plan to found a new colony in South Australia: in 1831 a "Proposal to His Majesty's Government for founding a colony on the Southern Coast of Australia" was prepared under the auspices of Robert Gouger, Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, Anthony Bacon and Bentham, but its ideas were considered too radical, and it was unable to attract the required investment.[52]

Westminster Review

In 1823, he co-founded The Westminster Review with James Mill as a journal for the "Philosophical Radicals"—a group of younger disciples through whom Bentham exerted considerable influence in British public life.[53][54] One was John Bowring, to whom Bentham became devoted, describing their relationship as "son and father": he appointed Bowring political editor of The Westminster Review and eventually his literary executor.[55] Another was Edwin Chadwick, who wrote on hygiene, sanitation and policing and was a major contributor to the Poor Law Amendment Act: Bentham employed Chadwick as a secretary and bequeathed him a large legacy.[56]

Chadwick is remembered at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine where his name appears among the names of 23 pioneers of public health and tropical medicine chosen to be honoured when the School was built in 1929.[34]

-- Edwin Chadwick, by Wikipedia

An increasing number of academic and research institutions, in the UK and globally, are responding to calls to decolonise the university. Starting at the University of Cape Town in 2015, the Rhodes must fall movement made its way to the University of Oxford. More recently, in the summer of 2019, the University of Glasgow signed a historic agreement with the University of the West Indies acknowledging the former’s historic links with slavery and setting out to raise and spend £20 million over the next 20 years on research and events highlighting the history of enslavement (University of Glasgow, 2019). In London, University College London (UCL) is currently in the midst of a one-year process to investigate UCL’s links to the British eugenics movement. These processes, crucially, place an emphasis on ‘decolonisation, not diversification’ (RMFO, 2015), that is to say they demand an in-depth engagement with the colonial and racist history that has and continues to shape knowledge production and institutional development at these universities, rather than the mere ‘tokenistic’ hiring of BME staff.

At LSHTM, the Decolonising Global Health group formed in March 2019 with the aim of creating a space to (self-) reflect and discuss how colonial legacies still shape global health internationally and at the school. A particular focus was hereby placed on colonial legacies in research, career progression and learning and teaching. These questions have particular salience in light of LSHTM’s 120th anniversary, which celebrated the school’s founding by Sir Patrick Manson in 1899. Manson, then Chief Medical Officer to the Colonial Office, is one of the most obvious links between the School and Britain’s colonial Empire. The Decolonising Global Health group was consulted in the writing of this protocol....

Individuals, Publications, Race-related issues

This theme builds on recent internal concerns with past expressions of racist or white supremacist attitudes by staff/school representatives, for example in discussion of Cicely Williams’ early writing. Several sources have made reference to a Chair of Racial Hygiene, which used to exist at the School and some research will be directed to investigate this as well as racist writings contained in the LSHTM archives. L.W.G. Malcolm, an Australian anthropologist worked as Lecturer on Racial Hygiene at the School in the early 1930s. Major Greenwood, director of the department of Epidemiology and Vital Statistics studied under Karl Pearson, a known eugenicist at UCL, and seems to have been a member of the Eugenics Education Society (EES), although this still needs to be verified in the EES archives, which are held by the Wellcome Archives. Other alumni or past staff members whose writing may yield valuable case studies include Cecil Cook and Kenneth Mellanby.

-- The LSHTM [London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine] and colonialism: history and legacy – Draft protocol

Meanwhile in Western Europe, especially Britain and Germany, the adaptation of Darwin's ideas by his colleague and half-cousin Francis Galton -- as 'social Darwinism' -- led to the eugenics movement. Eugenics established itself as a powerful dogma at the prestigious London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and equally prominent University College London in Gower Street. In the second of two papers on 'Hereditary Talent and Character', which is commonly held to mark the start of modern British psychology (Billig 1982, p. 72), Galton (1865), a renowned anthropologist and psychologist, claimed that European 'civilised races' alone possessed the 'instinct of continuous steady labour' while non-European 'savages' showed an innate 'wild untameable restlessness' and being 'incapable of progress ... remain children in mind with passions of grown men' (pp. 325-326). Galton's views were regarded with much respect by the British establishment at the time and were certainly not regarded as eccentric or offensive. He received many awards during his career. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1860, and was knighted shortly before he died (Brignell 2010). The main thrust of eugenics (accepted at the time as a scientific endeavour) was to identify 'inferior' races. Protege of Galton and first holder of the Galton Chair of Eugenics at University College, Karl Pearson (1901) saw the extermination of such races as an inevitable part of the evolutionary process. Yet the racist eugenic movement (like most academic discourses) formed links across the Atlantic into the wider English-speaking world. Work carried out on Ellis Island (where immigrants to the USA were held when they first arrived) by H.H. Goddard -- America's leading eugenicist psychologist [at the time] according to Richards (2012, p. 78) -- led to a scale for the estimation of 'mental defect' [sic] (Knox 1914).

-- Institutional Racism in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology: Race Matters in Mental Health, by Suman Fernando
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