While the concept of a perfect society, or utopia, is as old as Plato's "Republic," the Utopian Movement gathered serious traction in 19th century America when thousands of people formed communities hoping to significantly improve on existing society. Many of these communities followed charismatic leaders and operated within a religious framework. Most of these societies dissolved with little trace by the early 20th century.
The heyday of the Utopian Movement was between 1820 and 1860 in the United States. One of the remaining groups from this period of time is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church. Joseph Smith founded this society in 1830, saying God had revealed to him a new set of holy scripture known as the "Book of Mormon." Smith's fledgling society encouraged polygamy, which angered a number of Americans who persecuted Mormons for this practice.
Other utopian societies that existed in the 19th century included the Oneida Community in upstate New York; the Shaker Movement, which existed in several states, including Kentucky and Indiana; and Brook Farm, a utopian community located in Massachusetts. Brook Farm residents helped to promote women's rights, labor rights and abolition. Many utopian societies failed owing to a lack of sufficient financial resources, while others experienced generational conflicts.Learn More
According to the Miller Center, the goal of the 1889 Pan American Conference was to improve the relations between the United States and various countries of Latin America. Plans for the conference were first drawn up in 1881 by Secretary of State James Blaine.Full Answer >
The pan-Indian movement is any movement that brings together various Native American tribes and promotes unity between them. Often tribes join forces for political purposes, erasing any tribal lines or former rivalries between the groups. By teaming up, the various tribes work together to protect the interest of all Native Americans.Full Answer >
The "Back to Africa" movement was a movement founded by Marcus Garvey in the early 20th century which aimed to help all African-Americans move back to Africa. Garvey originally founded the movement in Jamaica, but eventually moved to New York to direct it. The movement espoused the idea that African-Americans could never have true civil rights and equality in the United States and therefore needed to move to Africa.Full Answer >
Among Helen Keller's contributions to society were her fundraising and awareness initiatives with the American Foundation for the Blind, her efforts to make Braille the standard system used to write books for the blind, and her work to have blind people included in the government's definition of "disabled," making them eligible for government aid. In addition, Keller radically change public perception regarding what a disabled person could accomplish.Full Answer >