After emigrating from Germany to the United States in 1803, George Rapp established a religious commune near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with six hundred followers, believing that God had told him to form a radical pietist Christian community. The community was successful in its commercial activities, including farming, silk production, banking, and the manufacture of various crafts.
While he was living in Germany, George Rapp advocated a social order derived from the New Testament that led to him. After suffering local persecution, Rapp led his followers to the United States to avoid both religious persecution and military conscription, as his movement held pacifist beliefs. Rapp initially planned to move to
Upon relocating in Baltimore, Rapp and his followers were given generous assistance by German residents of that city. In 1804, Rapp purchased five thousand acres in
The Rappites’ move to
The progress of the Rappites was closely monitored in the United States and Europe, because they had become famous for their achievements. Meanwhile, a religious schism arose within the group because Rapp’s prophecy about Christ’s return to Earth never materialized. In 1831, Rapp thought his prophecy had come true because of the appearance of a man named Count Leon. However, Leon proved to be merely a competitor who worked to draw Rapp’s followers to his own utopian community. When Leon eventually left, he took with him about 250 of Rapp’s followers. Afterward, dissension remained within Rapp’s community. After Rapp died in 1847, the Rappite community gradually broke up and disappeared.
Arndt, Karl J. R. George Rapp’s Harmony Society, 1785-1847. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965. _______. Harmony on the Connoquenessing, 1803-1815: George Rapp’s First American Harmony. Worcester, Mass.: Harmony Society Press, 1980. _______. Harmony on the Wabash in Transition, 1824-1826. Worcester, Mass.: Harmony Society Press, 1982. Wilson, William E. The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964.
Economic consequences of immigration
Religion as a push-pull factor
Religions of immigrants