George Ripley

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George Ripley

George Ripley

Before the Reform (1823-1840)Ripley was the spokesman of the French social reformer Charles Fourier. While he was named an orthodox Congregationalist, he was the pastor of Boston's Purchase Street Church after he graduated from Harvard Divinity School. He adopted the idea of Associationism, a socialist theory that was in favor of universal human harmony. He married Sophia Dana, another enthusiast of Associationism. Additionally, he was a member of the Transcendentalists' Club, and was the editor of The Dial, a small magazine.

"The most outspoken defender of the transcendental gospel."

During the Reform (1840-1847)Ripley wrote to Emerson, another Transcendentalist, about his idea of Brook Farm, a utopian community founded on Associationist principles. Ripley was involved with writing The Harbinger, a periodical about Associationist theory. He wanted to create a more natural balance between the intellectual work and physical labor. This community would also be directed and promoted by Fourier's ideas. The society created would be a classless and non-competitive one to create harmony. Many Transcendentalists lived at Brook Farm. This was Ripley's goal, to have a society with people who shared the same beliefs and intellectual ideas. Brook Farm eventually failed because the land was not arable, the financial situation was poor, and a fire destroyed it in the end.

Main Idea: George Ripley was a Transcendentalist who was focused on creating a utopian community that promoted the ideas of the Transcendentalists.

After the Reform (1847-1880)After Brook Farm was destroyed, it was thought to be one of the most famous utopian experiments in history. Ripley also became the book reviewer of the New York Tribune. Additionally, he later became the editor of The New American Cyclopedia. He continued writing until his death in 1880 due to ill health. His writings greatly contributed to carrying on the Transcendentalist movement.

Transcendentalist Movement

1836: George and Andrews Norton collaborated to write a controversy to Biblical miracles. This drastically changed the way Unitarian theories were developed and supported growing Transcendentalist beliefs.

1830: The ideas of the Transcendentalists are introduced. Young unitarian ministers believed in the recent positions of Transcendentalism rather than older unitarian theologies.

October 1840: George announces his idea for Brook Farm at a meeting of the Transcendental Club. He rallies Transcendentalist supporters to help make his utopian community work.

1840: Ripley writes to Emerson about Brook Farm. He wanted to get more Transcendentalist support before he established Brook Farm. He told Emerson about the Associationist principles it would be built upon.

April 1841: Brook Farm is established. This begins the experiment of a utopian community, and marks the beginning of the movement.

1845: Ripley establishes The Harbinger. It exposed the Associationist theory.

1847: Brook Farm is destroyed due to financial problems and a disastrous fire. While this may have discouraged the ideas of the Transcendentalists, it did not stop them from continuing to write and spread their ideas.

1849: Ripley takes a job for the New York Tribune under Horace Greely. He is a book reviewer and can continue to spread his ideas through the newspaper.

1858-1863: George Ripley publishes his New American Cyclopedia. This made him very successful as he continued to voice his thoughts to the public.

Works CitedThe Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “George Ripley.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 14 May 2014., Gerald A. The Americans. Evanston, IL. McDougal Little, 2009. Print.Reuben, Paul P. “Chapter 4: George Ripley (1802-80) and Brook Farm.” PAL: Perspectives in American Literature-A Research and Reference Guide. 25 Oct. 2011. Web. 14 May 2014., David. “George Ripley.” Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography. 3 Nov. 2001. Web. 14 May 2014.


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