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Oneida Community

The Oneida Community was founded by John H. Noyes in 1848. The community was established in Oneida, New York were it got its name. The beliefs of Noyes were followed by this communist group especially in terms of possessions and communal properties. Its population grew slowly from 72 members by February 1850 and rose with 306 members by 1878. There were 21 committees and 48 administration departments. Smaller communities were also formed in Cambridge, Manlius, Newark, Putney and Wallingford which lasted for a short time.

This community is devoted to Perfectionism and relates the life of Christ to the millennial kingdom. The good thing about the Oneida Community is that it gives members the chance to work for their living. It was a self-supporting enterprise. There are fruit and vegetable canning industries, animal traps manufacturing and silk thread productions. The abilities of members were utilized in their jobs and even women were given the chance to work on domestic duties. The community provided work not only for its members but also with outsiders.

Gender roles are also one of the beliefs of the community which pave way for equal opportunities for both men and women (Estlake, 1900, p. 78). Noyes believes that men and women relationship should be regenerated. This aims to avoid any deterioration caused by discrimination of genders. Men and women have equal voice and quality in the governance of the Oneida community (Estlake, 1900, p. 85). Mutual criticism is also an important concept for the Oneida community. Every committee is expected to be present during the general meeting and share their insights regarding an issue.

This is an important concept because it eliminates bad character traits. Stirpiculture is another program created by the Oneida community in 1869. This is based on the breeding program that aims to produce perfect children. They wanted to raise children with good moral and spiritual qualities. Regardless of the important concepts that were successfully achieved by the Oneida community, it led to its failure in 1858 (Klaw, 1994, p. 223). The son of Noyes was not able to continue the leadership of his father because he is an atheist.

There are also arguments regarding sexual rituals in the community and made them faced several pressures and harassments from professors and the government. Their livelihood met its downfall and caused them to sell their animal and silk businesses. The Oneida community is left with their silver wares and still known up to date as Oneida Limited. Reference: Estlake, A. (1900). The Oneida Community: A Record of an Attempt to Carry Out the Principles of Christian Unselfishness and Scientific Race-improvement. USA: G. Redway. Klaw, Spencer. (1994). Without Sin: The Life and Death of the Oneida Community. NY: Penguin.

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