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Etiene Cabet and Icaria Description

Page history last edited by Andrea Brownstein 15 years, 6 months ago

Founder: Etienne Cabet


Place:  Nauvoo, Illinois 


Date of founding/composition: 1849  End date? 1860  Why ended? In the mid-1850's, political factions arose in opposition to Cabet's rule.  Cabet became increasingly dictatorial: he squelched advancing industries and agricultural techniques and even began to interfere with people's private lives (eventually banning the use of alcohol and tobacco and even encouraging spying on other members of the community).  In 1856, one of the opposing factions gained control and won the half-year elections.  Unhappy with the results of the election, Cabet refused to accept the new leadership and attempted a "counterrevulotion."  Unsuccessful, Cabet was expelled from the community and along with 180 followers, left for St. Louis.


Size of group: Began with 280 settlers and never rose above 1,800.  When dissension arose, Cabet left for St. Louis with 180 other followers.


Goal/Mission of community: To live peacefully and cohesively while maintaing communal property and equality.  The community rejected the extreme forms of communism, but did support communal living and shared property.


Religious component:  What role does it play in civic life? None.


Describe their social contract.  "The Icarians formed a society founded on the basis of the most perfect equality.  All of them are associates and citizens, having equal rights and duties; they all share equally the responsibilities and the advantages of the association; they all form a single family, whose members are united by the bonds of fraternity." (The Utopia Reader).


What is their definition of happiness? A peaceful life full of efficiency, abundance, and family.


What is the source of human distress (what problems need to be solved)?


Conduct:  Very similar to a normal, midwestern community at the time. 

Sex and marriage:  Relations between the sexes was highly promoted, unlike many other communities during that time period.

Children: Education had a strong emphasis within Icaria and children were expected to attend school.

Labor: equally distributed labor

Economy: how sustained? Wealth & poverty? Private property? No private property: property is communaly owned and shared.

Agriculture & manufacturing: 1,500 acres of tillable land.  Most community members worked agriculturally with normal farming practices.  The production of goods in the commnuity was regulated and then the goods were distributed according to each individual's need.

Law & justice:

Social organization:  Communal living.  The extended family was considered the basic social unit, "with individuals regulating themselves to the needs of society."

Power structure: who’s in charge?  "The community was organized around a board of six directors, five of whom ran their own departments (Finance and Provisions; Clothing and Lodging; Education, Health, and Amusement; Industry and Agriculture; and Publicity). The sixth director served as the president, an office to which Cabet was annually elected."

How are new members added? How do people leave? Nowhere was this mentioned, but most likely anyone may join and if anyone needs to be removed, it would be voted on by the Republican committees and then they would take action.  Example: Cabet was kicked out after the governmental schism.


Foreign relations: None.




Etiene Cabet and Icaria Analysis 

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