Rules and Regulations at the Wisconsin Phalanx

The rules and regulations that governed the phalanx were directed by the principles of Charles Fourier. His beliefs set the standard for which citizens were to live by. For the most part, it appears the citizens made very few revisions to his ideals when creating their Constitution and By Laws and by all accounts they lived by them throughout their stay in the village. At the same time, the laws of the territory and then state of Wisconsin also applied to Ceresco as well.

The Act of Incorporation was written under President Warren Chase in 1845. It laid the groundwork to Ceresco becoming a legitimate village. The focus of the document was largely on financial and economic aspects. Councilmen were elected to deal with how the ownership of property and monetary stock would be handled. It detailed how the industrial sector of the phalanx would be directed and who was to supervise it.

Despite the emphasis on the economic system in the Act of Incorporation, the document also dealt with other, more social, matters. And while some outsiders may have seen these rules as unorthodox, most rules appear rather conventional, even conservative for the times.

It is important to remember that many people who came to the phalanx wanted a safe place to raise a family. Citizens had seen the affects of alcohol on others when they lived in the city and did not approve of its promotion. Any use of spirits was strictly banned from the phalanx and was punishable by banishment. Citizens were also concerned with gambling and the abuse of animals, so heavy punishment was applied to both.

The citizens of Ceresco wanted to educate their children well, with high moral standards. Students were to be taught in the multiple science subjects and the arts. Teaching was a paid position and usually ranked in the class of usefulness. The emphasis on education was not in Fourier’s own philosophy as he believed children should aid in labor, that being their education. True to Fourier’s philosophy, the phalanx adopted a law protecting every member’s choice of religion.

Primary Sources

The following document is from an unidentified Fond du Lac newspaper from 1845 featuring the phalanx's Act of Incorporation. It details the laws of the phalanx. Some parts may be hard to read due to aging.


"Wisconsin Phalanx"

Fond du Lac Newspaper (Source Unknown)



Table of Contents

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

Other Resources

Recommendations for Ceresco Research Questions and Projects

Annotated Bibliography