Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 1996

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Utopias are generally said to be societies in which the political, social and

economic troubles hampering its inhabitants has been done away with. Instead the state is

there to serve the people and ensure the peacefulness and happiness of everyone. The

word utopia, which means 'no place' in Greek, was first used to mean a perfect society in

1516 in the publication of Saint Thomas More's story 'Utopia'. The story depicted life as

it was with its people and social institutions on an imaginary island. More's Utopia gained

critical acclaim and a wide audience. The term was subsequently used by all prominent

social thinkers and visionaries to define other concepts of this kind.

During the 19th century many attempts were made to actually establish

communities which followed the beliefs of a utopian society. Most were experiments in

utopian socialism. Although they differed considerably in their specific views, most of

them agreed that ideal societies could be created without much difficulty.

They felt all

that was needed was to have the formation of a few small, cooperative communities made

up of their followers.

The comte de Saint-Simon regarded technological progress and large scale

economic organization as being the most important keys to the establishment of these

communities. It was felt that industrial growth was the key to happiness for people in the


Another visionary, Fourier, was quite the opposite of Saint-Simon. He Spoke

strongly against the use of industry. His opinion was that agricultural communities would

be better suited for this situation. He favored these communities as he saw them as small,

self-sufficient and more importantly, free from the restraints that were being imposed by


Experimental societies based on the theories of the utopians were also set up in

Europe and the Unites States. They included Robert Owen's...