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Failed Utopia: Fruitlands

            Failed Utopian Society: Fruitlands

            There have been many people who have tried to create their own “perfect” societies. Almost none have lasted, and a few lasted only a few years, or in this case, only a few months. Fruitlands was one man's idea of a utopian society, created mainly to avoid the world's economic problems. It included a very idealistic philosophy, which was based around economy.

            Fruitlands was founded by Bronson Alcott. Alcott was a farmer who was constantly in debt, and could no longer supply for his family. He was under the belief that poverty stifled the free workings of the spirit. Alcott was forced to begin doing hired labor in order to supply everything his family needed. But he believed that hired labor was boring and blatant, and remained in debt, asking family and friends for money. So, in 1841, he began to seek members for his own utopian society, which he placed on a 90 acre farm purchased for $1,800.00 in Harvard, Massachusetts.

            The philosophy of Fruitlands is based around economy. It has a single principle, which is abstinence from worldly activity. All the food that was eaten by the members of the society was grown by them. No more goods were produced than necessary, because the members of Fruitlands believed that a surplus of goods would inhibit spirituality. They also did not want to be involved in trade. They relied completely on themselves and other members of their community.

            In the end, Fruitlands only lasted six months. The end of the society was influenced by many things. Firstly, the members were evading economical problems by changing only themselves, not the world. Because of this, Fruitlands wasn't exactly a perfect society. Also, only manual labor was used to produce food and goods, and not enough food was grown for all the members. The diet of fruit and grains left many members sick of malnourished, causing them to leave before the society's collapse in 1844.