Who were the Shakers?
I am not an historian or a researcher so I have to rely on other experts explaining what the impact of the Shaker Pilgrims Group and their beliefs is on American Society today and especially the impact of their view on Furniture making. To this effect I am curating several essays from several sources to approach this vast subject and treat it fairly
The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers, conducted the largest and most successful communal experiment in American history. While today there is only one active Shaker community, with three members, at Sabbathday Lake in Maine, at its height during the mid-nineteenth century, this Protestant sect had more than 6,000 members spread across eighteen communities, from Maine to Kentucky. The largest and most influential community was established at New Lebanon, New York, in 1787 and remained active until 1947. Shakers first came to America from England
in 1774. Led by the prophet Ann Lee, this small and radical group of English Quakers believed that the millennium—the thousand years of peace with Christ before the end of the world—was at hand. Known as the Shaking Quakers, or Shakers, because of their penchant for ecstatic movement and dancing during worship (a physical response to their sense of being infused with the spirit of God), these religious dissidents surrendered themselves to God and emulated Christ’s pure and humble life on earth..
Shaker communities were largely self-sufficient: in their attempt to separate themselves from the outside world and to create a heaven-on-earth, members grew their own food, constructed their own buildings, and manufactured their own tools and household furnishings. Believers abided by a strict set of rules governing their behavior, dress, and domestic environment. These rules were codified in the Millennial Laws of 1821, which was revised and greatly expanded in 1845. Although they lived under rigid statutes and ordinances, the Shakers were socially progressive and believed in racial and sexual equality, pacifism, and common property. Celibacy was also part of Shaker orthodoxy, and as a result Believers had to recruit people from the outside world to prevent their communities from dying out.
The guiding Shaker principles of honesty, utility, and simplicity found expression in various crafts: furniture, boxes
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