While the utopians’ aspirations can seem alarmingly foreign, their basic outlook was hyper-American—American, but more so (in terms of ideals, if seldom reality). Americans cherish freedom of conscience; where better to nurture new heresies? America is profoundly egalitarian; where better to abolish property? Americans cherish liberalism; where better to emancipate women? America is a land of new beginnings; where better to kick off the millennium?

Chris Jennings, Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism