Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Studies


Maureen Fitzgerald


Nauvoo, Illinois was the setting for two important social experiments in the middle of the nineteenth century. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons, made this city their headquarters of their rapidly expanding church from 1838 until 1846. Only three years after the departure of the Mormons, a group of Frenchmen calling themselves Icarians came to the same spot to realize a system of communal living and brotherhood that lasted in Nauvoo until 1856. While several studies have been devoted to these groups, as yet none have combined a study of the two communities who shared the same space.;This study focuses on the physical communities as envisioned by their leaders and as constructed and inhabited by the members of each group. In "reading" the city each community constructed at Nauvoo, we can understand their unique utopian agendas and how those were realized or compromised in the everyday living out of each groups' individual utopian vision. I offer one perspective, grounded in an interpretation of the cultural landscape of Nauvoo, which examines only a few of the numerous aspects of Mormon and Icarian society, including commitment mechanisms, ideological centers, leadership and authority, gender and conflict. This study seeks to compare the two communities at Nauvoo in ways that will not only elucidate their agendas and experiences, but will help shed light on the nature and experiences of utopian communities in general.



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