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Utopian religious community founded by John H. Noyes in Oneida, N.Y., in 1848. Noyes, who believed that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ had occurred in AD 70, and his disciples formed their first religious society in Putney, Vt., in 1841 in order to establish the millennial kingdom. Their practice of complex marriage, according to which each adult community member was married to each adult of the opposite sex, aroused the hostility of the townspeople, and they were obliged to move to Oneida. The Oneida group lived communally and flourished for 30 years, supporting itself by farming and manufacturing steel traps, silverware, and other items. The community broke up in 1879, and two years later the remaining members reorganized it as a commercial enterprise, which is noted for the manufacture of silver plate.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Oneida Community, visit Britannica.com.
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