A Utopia on the prairie
A dream that is now some 170 years old can be an illusive thing to track down much less to fully understand. There was this dream of creating a Utopian community in early Illinois, only 25 years after we had become a state. Americans have a long history of experiments with trying to devise better communities through intentional planning. The central focus or motivation for such experiments usually centered on improving social welfare, economic, philosophical or religious themes. Such a proposal was utilized in an attempt to establish a Utopian social community near LaMoille, Illinois.
The state legislature chartered the “Lamoille [sic] Agricultural and Mechanical Association” on March 6,1843. The association was to have three directors, all of whom had emigrated to the LaMoille area from New England. The planned community, aka The Bureau County Phalanx, was to be based on an adherence to the social and mathematical concepts and theories of the French philosopher, Charles Fourier.
This was intended to be no small dream. The state charter provided for a potential of as many as 2,000 shareholders who could control some 160,000 acres of land. The LaMoille effort, unfortunately, seems never to have progressed much beyond the initial planning stage.
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