First Convention of the Fourier Society of Rochester
August 22–23, 1843
On August 22–23, 1843, the Fourier Society of the City of Rochester held its first convention at Monroe Hall, a meeting space on an upper floor of the Kearney and Doyle Building on the corner of Main and Water Streets. The event had been promoted by Horace Greeley’s New-York Tribune, which followed Fourierist developments with interest. A lead speaker at the event was Albert Brisbane of New York City, the foremost American advocate for Fourierism. (His persistence and personal magnetism had sparked Greeley’s fascination with Fourierism.) Brisbane’s aim was that the convention would spur the creation of a single large regional intentional community, or phalanx, in west-central New York State.
Fourierist teachings advocated for communities organized into “phalanxes” freed from private ownership to provide economic comfort, social justice, and individual fulfillment.
Several hundred delegates attended the convention, hailing from six counties. Rochester Quaker abolitionist and businessman Benjamin Fish, already president of the local Fourier Society, was elected president of the Ontario Phalanx.