|a village in SW Indiana, on the Wabash River: scene of two experimental cooperative communities, the first founded in 1815 by George Rapp, a German religious leader, and the second by Robert Owen in 1825|
town, Posey county, southwestern Indiana, U.S. It is located on the Wabash River at the Illinois border, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Evansville. The site was first occupied by prehistoric mound builders and later was a camping ground for Piankashaw and other Indians. The settlement of Harmonie was founded in 1814-15 by George Rapp, a German Pietist preacher who had first gone to Pennsylvania in 1803 with his followers from Wurttemberg, Ger. When they later moved west, a prosperous Indiana colony evolved, but unrest brought on by hostile neighbours spurred the Rappite leaders to sell their holdings in 1825 to Robert Owen, who renamed the town New Harmony. Owen was a Welsh reformer who first went to the United States to found a cooperative community based on plans for humanity's salvation through "rational" thinking, cooperation, and free education. He was aided by William Maclure, a Scottish-born geologist, businessman, and philanthropist who was a proponent of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi's pedagogical methods and sought to establish them at the community. Maclure agreed to finance the schools, recruiting several dozen distinguished scholars and educators (the so-called "boatload of knowledge") and providing scientific equipment and a library.
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