Original Research

American utopias in the 19th century: Religious versus ideological farms in the west of the United States

Antonio Sanchez-Bayon, Estrella Trincado-Aznar, Francisco J. Sastre
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 1 | a7807 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i1.7807 | © 2023 Antonio Sanchez-Bayon, Estrella Trincado-Aznar, Francisco J. Sastre | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 June 2022 | Published: 24 January 2023

About the author(s)

Antonio Sanchez-Bayon, Department of Applied Economics, Faculty of Legal & Social Sciences, King Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
Estrella Trincado-Aznar, Department of Applied Economics, Structure and History, Faculty of Economics, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Francisco J. Sastre, Francisco Javier Sastre-Segovia, ESIC Business and Marketing School, Madrid, Spain


This is a critical-hermeneutical and historical-comparative study on Political Economy, Economic History and Social Thought, applied to the American utopias in the 19th century and its role in the colonisation of the United States (US) west. This review is based on a heterodox economic approach, used in the disciplines of Religion and Economics. It gives a general view of religious and ideological utopias, as cooperative enterprises of intentional life in farms and workshop, making a comparative analysis of efficiency and sustainability. This study attempts to explain the colonial paradox of American utopias because the last established, with more inversion, they were the first to fall. This study shapes the development of the western territories, from the Quaker’s Holy Experiment framework and its support for the utopias experiments in the expansion to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

Contribution: This review offers a descriptive and explanatory study on the colonisation of the US west, under the hermeneutical turn from heterodox economic approaches, to deal with some current contradictions and anachronism in the mainstream view. Also, there is a systematisation of the American utopias, divided into religious and ideological experiments, with a comparison.


the United States of America (US); religion & economics; anarcho-capitalism; Austrian School of Economics (Austrian Economics); new institutional approach; colonisation; communitarian farms; utopias.


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