dove of peace

Adin Ballou
and the Hopedale Community


The Hopedale Community

Hopedale Walking Tour

Works by Adin Ballou

Works on Adin Ballou and Hopedale

Friends of Adin Ballou



Adin Ballou Biography

Hopedale Town History

Celebrating the life and legacy of

Adin Ballou

founder of the utopian community at Hopedale, Massachusetts

Adin Ballou was a minister and theologian, a tireless reformer,
and a leading nineteenth-century exponent of pacifism.

Adin Ballou

Adin Ballou (1803-1890), the founder of the Hopedale utopian community, was a pioneering theorist of nonviolence, a socialist, and an abolitionist. The Hopedale Community (1841-1856) was based upon "Christian Non-Resistance," a form of nonviolence using non-injurious force, and "Practical Christian Socialism," a form of socialism that, unlike Marxism, included private property and the profit motive. Unlike many other abolitionist peace advocates of his time, Ballou did not abandon his nonviolent principles during the Civil War.

In later life Ballou trusted that his ideas would be taken up again, perhaps a century or more in the future. Perhaps the time is approaching when we will be ready to seriously consider Ballou's ideas on how we can effect change without harming others and thus live together in loving peace and cooperation.


"... one would have thought Ballou's work
would have been well known ..."

Leo Tolstoy on Adin Ballou

Leo Tolstoy

from The Kingdom of God Is Within You

For fifty years Ballou wrote and published books dealing principally with the question of non-resistance to evil by force. In these works, which are distinguished by the clearness of their thought and eloquence of exposition, the question is looked at from every possible side, and the binding nature of this command on every Christian who acknowledges the Bible as the revelation of God is firmly established. All the ordinary objections to the doctrine of non-resistance from the Old and New Testaments are brought forward, such as the expulsion of the money-changers from the Temple, and so on, and arguments follow in disproof of them all. The practical reasonableness of this rule of conduct is shown independently of Scripture, and all the objections ordinarily made against its practicability are stated and refuted. Thus one chapter in a book of his treats of non-resistance in exceptional cases, and he owns in this connection that if there were cases in which the rule of non-resistance were impossible of application, it would prove that the law was not universally authoritative. Quoting these cases, he shows that it is precisely in them that the application of the rule is both necessary and reasonable. There is no aspect of the question, either on his side on his opponents', which he has not followed up in his writings. I mention all this to show the unmistakeable interest which such works ought to have for men who make a profession of Christianity, and because one would have thought Ballou's work would have been well known, and the ideas expressed by him would have been either accepted or refuted; but such has not been the case.

Read Adin Ballou's Correspondence with Leo Tolstoy

"... a 'continuous performance' of vast entertainment ..."

The Hopedale Community


from the reminiscences of Sarah E. Bradbury

The members were men and women drawn together by a common interest in the great principles of liberal and practical Christianity at a time when church doctrines were narrow. In addition to the vital principles of ultimate salvation for all, temperance, non-resistance, etc. each one brought some fad of his own — a belief in Spiritualism, or the vegetable diet. Some were non-shavers, and all, I think, were non-smokers. The fads, which were almost as dear to the hearts of their owners as the principles, were often discussed in public, and the free play of the various natures, grave and gay, matter of fact and mischievously humorous, made these meetings a "continuous performance" of vast entertainment. The argument was earnest on either side, and usually closed by each with the same emphatic utterance, "So it seems to me and I cannot see it otherwise!" Neither party convinced the other, but the war of words afforded a certain relief to strenuous natures who, as good non-resistants could indulge in no other form of warfare.

The small band of vegetarians were firm in the faith and provided much amusement for those who had no scruples against a meat diet. A wag among the latter having discovered that Mr. Asaph Spaulding, one of the most voluble defenders of vegetarianism had fallen from grace by partaking of codfish charged him with it in open meeting. Mr. Spaulding being for once at a loss for words his wife came to the rescue, exclaiming, "Asaph wanted a codfish and I got him one."

To shave or not to shave was a burning question. I remember a non-shaver who, having worked his fiery way to the climax exclaimed, "I have not shaved for five years, and I will never shave again!" Instantly the quiet voice of Mr. Swasey answered, "You may get shaved though."