’s Effect On Success Or Failure Essay, Research Paper
The Amish of Lancaster Pennsylvania (and Indiana) relied on the availability of good farmland for their success. At the time of their settling land was readily available and in large tracts. Even though much of the land needed to be cleared of trees and rocks the Amish were accustomed to hard physical labor so this was not a problem. They were able to establish a very successful farming operation, both grain and livestock. Their lifestyle was very restrictive so their proximity to larger populations in the early days was not even an issue. Today on the other hand, their farms have become centrally located within the state as a result of the continued development around them. They do still own enough land to be self sufficient and successful. The opportunity to sell excess goods and their highly reputed skills and labor as builders and craftsmen has added to their success and allowed their community to expand to other areas of the country. Today, just 18 miles from my house there are a growing number of Amish living today. They operate a highly successful dairy operation and a lumber mill. They also sell baked goods from a roadside stand located just east of Rockville on the south side of US 36. My wife and I look forward to frequent Saturday morning trips to buy fresh baked pies, cakes, cookies and best of all bread. They have adopted very few modern conveniences, but still manage to prosper in today’s society while still adhering to their traditional way of life and worship. I say welcome to the Hoosier Heartland!!!
The next of the communities I would like to discuss is the Oneida Community, located in upstate New York. Even though their community failed due to a number of reasons, their geographic location could only be slightly responsible. The fact that the neighboring communities, and the East Coast “New England” area as a whole were for the most part considered to be rather conservative, this led to a lot of raised eyebrows and general condemnation of many of their practices. The people of that era were just not ready to accept the idea of a large group of people living together as one family and sharing everything, and I mean everything.
Once the community itself had floundered, the original members and their descendents formed a corporation. When they became involved in the industry of silversmithing, their geographic location suddenly became a benefit. The eastern US was one of the earliest areas to become industrialized The availability of raw materials used in their line of business was good, as was their access to shipping of both raw materials and finished goods. This early success has carried forward to today, as Oneida remains one of the best known names in flatware, and they have expanded into glassware as well. Their corporation earns millions each year and stands in stark contrast to the failure their ancestors suffered in trying to create a unique communal living unit.
It is a funny thought but I think if the original community existed today, it would be successful, if nothing more than a favorite tourist destination. It is a shame that their building was destroyed by fire because it might be considered an architectural triumph for it’s “futuristic design.”
The last community I have chosen to examine is found on the “other side of the coin” from the 2 previous. Nashoba, was a community that failed almost completely because of its geographic location. Now if they were settling in the same area today, there may have been a much different outcome, but as it was, the south just wasn’t the best place to start a community comprised of freed slaves.
The idea of the community was quite admirable in my opinion, the education of African Americans, and the use of their knowledge of farming made good sense. What the founder had failed to account for was the strong opposition from the neighbors and the thought that the residents had spent most of their lives working in the fields and weren’t too anxious to return to that type of work (even if it was for themselves).
The neighbors were uneasy to say the least about having a group of blacks living freely right next door. They also had a hard time accepting the idea of Negroes working on a farm for money, doing the same things they and their ancestors had done for nothing for decades. The opposition of the neighbors eventually became violent, and given the time frame we are talking about, the chance of justice being served was slim and none.
Another thing that certainly added to the failure of the community was that the founder had returned to Scotland and attempted to run things from there. This was just not possible, even though she had made arrangements for someone there to oversee operations; they lacked the skill and discipline necessary to succeed.
When looking for property in today’s society the key word is Location, Location, Location. It’s too bad there wasn’t someone around then that would have told them the same thing, it might have meant the difference between success and failure.