US History Resources
The items on this page include my master's thesis, video lectures I produced for general audiences, and other resources that visitors might find useful and informative.
ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS
INCIDENTAL COMMUNALISTS: A BRIEF CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE UNITED ORDERS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS IN AMERICA, 1831-1880
By Gregory Dion West
American Military University, July 21, 2019
Charles Town, West Virginia
Dr. Loni Bramson, Thesis Advisor
Between 1831 and 1880, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became one of several organizations that experimented with new economic and social arrangements to address issues of class and poverty. Among the various groups, which include the Shakers, Amana Colonies, Oneida Perfectionists, Fourierists, Harmony and New Harmony, the Icarians, and the Hutterites, the Latter-day Saints joined the ranks of communalists out of necessity, not by any theological or doctrinal imperative. Mormons adopted communalism out of a pressing need to acquire properties with which to absorb the rapid immigration of converts and, later, to preserve their independence and distinctiveness against the encroachment of a hostile government and the cultural/social effects of unrestrained capitalism. In so doing, the Latter-day Saint movement became the largest American communalistic group of the nineteenth century. This thesis analyzes the United Order in the context of the broader spectrum of nineteenth-century communalistic movements.