In the RESEARCH section of this website, the importance of a good research question is stressed. Below are some ideas relating to the Wisconsin Phalanx at Ceresco.

Possible Research Questions

How did Ceresco's neighbors affect the history of the phalanx?

How did the laws of the phalanx differ from Wisconsin territorial laws and how did Wisconsin's laws effect the administration of the phalanx.

How was labor organized at Ceresco? How did this compare to Fourier's ideals and original model?

How did women influence the history of the Phalanx?

What role did religion play in the history of the Phalanx?

What caused the Phalanx to collapse?

Anyone of these research questions could make for a full NHD project. You might also consider combining two or more. To fully develop your project you might consider the following ideas:

Project Ideas


There are few photographs of the Wisconsin Phalanx, your exhibit, therefore might consider using copies of primary sources and maps as visual aids.


If you are producing a documentary, consider featuring clips how the land the Phalanx stood upon looks today. You could visit Ripon and film where certain Wisconsin Phalanx landmarks were and which ones still exist.

There are some local historians and archivists who have studied the phalanx in detail, consider conducting a phone or live interview with a knowledgeable person.


Some writers like to create historical arguments and try to prove or disprove a statement about a topic. The best way to develop your agrument is to ask yourself a historically controversial question. You would proceed by trying to answer this question and then developing a thesis statement about it.

Some questions to consider:

Were women treated fairly at Ceresco?
Did the inequality of women affect Ceresco's downfall?
Did Ceresco have a chance to continue as a flourishing community?

Proceed by answering the question. You might answer: Yes, women were treated unfairly at Ceresco and then try to prove why you agree with this statement.

You are not required to use a historical argument, however it could be the strongest way to present your topic.

Performance Piece

Consider creating a performance that depicts a day or multiple days in the life of somebody that lived on the Wisconsin Phalanx. You could select a real individual you researched through primary sources or create a fictional character to explain what it might have been like to live at Ceresco in the 1840s.

Your performance will reveal the ups and downs of daily life in the community. Why did your character join the phalanx and why did he or she continue to remain a member of the community? What struggles did your character deal with everyday and why?



Recommendations for Ceresco Research Questions and Projects

Annotated Bibliography

Historical Description Sites

1. Development
2. Geography and Physical Description
3. Rules and Regulations
4. Labor
5. Women of Ceresco
6. Religion at the Phalanx
7. Demise of the Wisconsin Phalanx