In the summer of 1843, eleven reformers in Massachusetts embarked upon a doomed utopian experiment called “Fruitlands.” Their object was to create a perfect society, devoid of the negative influences of capitalism, trade, and government. They planned on doing so through rigorous adherence to strict communal regulations, among which was strict veganism. This article argues that the Fruitlands experiment—though a failure—is instructive because it provides a detailed example of one particular articulation of the tie between veganism and anarchism. Unlike more modern reformers, the Fruitlanders stressed hierarchy (rather than equality) between humans and animals. Rejecting the animal world was crucial for them as they attempted to become perfect beings, eligible for utopia. Fruitlands thus showcases the way that the vegan-anarchic tie has been profoundly different in each of its incarnations, and therefore an illustrative lens into the political and social world of the nineteenth century.

This content is only available via PDF.