The Kingdom of God Is at Hand

The Christian Commonwealth in Georgia, 1896–1901

Title Details

Pages: 284

Illustrations: 35 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 04/15/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5867-3

List Price: $29.95


Pub Date: 04/15/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5868-0

List Price: $114.95

The Kingdom of God Is at Hand

The Christian Commonwealth in Georgia, 1896–1901

A historical account of an early socialist community in rural Georgia

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In Kingdom of God Theodore Kallman illuminates the brief life of a Christian Socialist community founded by four men—a minister, and editor, a professor, and an engineer—on a worn-out cotton plantation just outside of Columbus, Georgia in 1896. While Christian Commonwealth only lasted until 1900, its combination of religious communitarianism and socialist ideology proved attractive to many. It was a place where women enjoyed a sort of political equality and where its school—open to all white students of Muscogee County—emphasized a critique of private property. Kallman explains how particular brand of Tolstoyan anarchism inspired by the Russian novelist's philosophical treatise The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894) and Christ's Sermon on the Mount took root in west-central Georgia and attracted attention from famous onlookers--Leo Tolstoy and Jane Addams included.

In Kallman's capable hands, what appears to be merely a blip barely worth mentioning for historians of Georgia and the larger United States, instead emerges as a story that has much to teach us about Gilded Age American and provides necessary context for the surging interest in America's socialist past.
There were about one hundred Christian Commonwealth members at the end of 1898. By the summer of 1900, there were about a dozen. By the end of that year, the community was bankrupt, and its property was sold at auction. Their 'pathetically heroic adventure of faith' was over. Kallman tells this sad story well and, essentially, gives the community members credit: At least they tried.

—David Stricklin, Southern Historical Association Journal

About the Author/Editor

THEODORE KALLMAN is an associate adjunct professor of history at San Joaquin Delta College. He is the author of World Civilization: Sources and his writing also appears in both Communal Societies and Journal of the West.