Skip to main content

Amana Community

AMANA COMMUNITY

AMANA COMMUNITY, a society of German pietists whose founders immigrated to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. The community had its roots in Germany, where a pietistic sect called the Inspirationists had established the Community of True Inspiration to protest the arbitrary rule of church and state. For mutual protection, the Inspirationists congregated on several large estates, but high rents and unfriendly governments forced them to seek a new home in America. Under the leadership of Christian Metz, the Inspirationists crossed the Atlantic in 1843 and founded Ebenezer, a settlement near Buffalo in Erie County, New York. Here, they formally adopted communism as a way of life and developed a complex of six villages with jointly owned mills, factories, and farms.

The rapid expansion of nearby Buffalo threatened the isolation that the Inspirationists had sought in North America, and in 1855 they moved to the frontier state of Iowa, an increasingly common destination for many nineteenth-century immigrant religious communities. They located in Iowa County, incorporated as the Amana Society, and once more built houses, churches, schools, stores, and mills, and continued their community life of "brothers all." Eventually, fifteen hundred people inhabited seven Amana villages and owned 26,000 acres of prime farming land.

By the early twentieth century, both neighboring communities and industrial capitalism had begun to encroach upon the Amana villages. As memories of the founding Inspirationists faded and the old idealism grew dim, the communities' characteristic spiritual enthusiasm waned. By unanimous vote, the community reorganized in 1932 on the basis of cooperative capitalism as a joint stock company in which both business owners and employees held stock. For nearly a century, the Amana Community conducted the most successful experiment in American communism and established itself as the nation's longest-lasting communal society.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barthel, Diane L. Amana: From Pietist Sect to American Community. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

Ohrn, Steven G. Remaining Faithful: Amana Folk Art in Transition. Des Moines: Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, 1988.

Bertha M. H.Shambaugh/s. b.

See alsoMigration, Internal ; Pietism ; Utopian Communities .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Amana Community." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Amana Community." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/amana-community

"Amana Community." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/amana-community

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.