Thesis

Oneida's utopia: a religious and scientific experiment

Thesis (M.A., History) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2009.

Abstract
 of
 ONEIDA‟S UTOPIA: A RELIGIOUS AND SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT
 by
 Katherine Anne Heim
 The Oneida Community was a Perfectionist communal venture undertaken in Madison County, New York from 1848 until 1881. The group‟s leader, John Humphrey Noyes, and his followers claimed to be conducting a scientific social experiment based on their religious tenets. Historical scholarship has placed little emphasis on the scientific aspects of the community in the context of antebellum Evangelical religion and has instead focused on the community‟s social organization, economic organization, and the theocratic leadership of Noyes. The community‟s copious publications and member correspondence provide the foundation of primary sources. Secondary sources provide background on the popularly held beliefs of the role of science and the millennial religious fervor of the antebellum era associated with the Second Great Awakening.
 The conclusion drawn is that the Oneida Community did engage in a series scientific experiments founded on their religious beliefs that challenged traditional marriage practices, domestic living arrangements, and human reproduction in an attempt to prove the pangenesis theory and herald the millennium.

Abstract of ONEIDA‟S UTOPIA: A RELIGIOUS AND SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT by Katherine Anne Heim The Oneida Community was a Perfectionist communal venture undertaken in Madison County, New York from 1848 until 1881. The group‟s leader, John Humphrey Noyes, and his followers claimed to be conducting a scientific social experiment based on their religious tenets. Historical scholarship has placed little emphasis on the scientific aspects of the community in the context of antebellum Evangelical religion and has instead focused on the community‟s social organization, economic organization, and the theocratic leadership of Noyes. The community‟s copious publications and member correspondence provide the foundation of primary sources. Secondary sources provide background on the popularly held beliefs of the role of science and the millennial religious fervor of the antebellum era associated with the Second Great Awakening. The conclusion drawn is that the Oneida Community did engage in a series scientific experiments founded on their religious beliefs that challenged traditional marriage practices, domestic living arrangements, and human reproduction in an attempt to prove the pangenesis theory and herald the millennium.

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