Victor Considerant and the Failure of La Reunion
RONDEL V. DAVIDSON*
W HILE TRAVELING FROM DALLAS, TEXAS, TO FORT WORTH VIA THE
Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike, one crosses about 1,2oo acres of
land on the outskirts of West Dallas which once accommodated an ex-
periment to fulfill one of the nineteenth century's most noble dreams-
the dream that man could establish social, economic, and political jus-
tice through some type of communal association. Today the area is
bounded on the north by the Trinity River, on the south by the Old
Fort Worth Highway, on the east by Hampton Road, and on the west
by Westmoreland Avenue. Perhaps ironically, this territory now har-
bors an industrial park with all its pollution and a black ghetto com-
plete with a de facto-segregated high school and a government housing
Over one hundred years ago Victor-Prosper Considerant (18o8-
189) ,1 a leading French socialist and political figure, attempted to
found a utopian community on the soil of northeastern Texas based
upon the central ideas of another French socialist, Frangois-Marie-
Charles Fourier (1772-1837) .2 From all appearances, Considerant was
the ideal person to organize such an endeavor. A former engineer in the
* Mr. Davidson is an associate professor of history at Pan American University. All trans-
lations in this article are the work of the author.
1 It must be noted that Victor Considerant's surname does not have an acute over the e.
Because French rules indicate that an accent should appear over the e, numerous American
historians have inadvertently placed one there. Since Considerant had difficulty in his own
lifetime getting some of his contemporaries to omit the acute, the error is understandable.
This article, however, will utilize the correct spelling, Considerant and not Consid6rant.
2 The Fourierist movement, founded upon the ideas of Charles Fourier, became one of
the leading socialistic movements in western Europe during the period from 1837 to 1849.
Brilliant, but eccentric and reclusive, Fourier advocated a form of utopian socialism based
upon communal type experiments which he called phalansteries. Because of the tedious,
ambiguous, and often preposterous nature of his writings, Fourier's ideas did not take hold
during his lifetime. Frenchmen could not comprehend his detailed philosophical discus-
sions regarding cosmology, and many were repelled by some of his fantastic ideas, such as
the advocacy of free love and his famous prophecy that the sea would turn into lemonade.
The popularity of Fourierism during the thirteen years following his death can be attrib-
uted largely to the leadership of Victor Considerant and his followers in the Fourierist
school. For the most useful account of Fourier's ideas in English see Frank E. Manuel, The
Prophets of Paris (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1962), 195-248. For a more comprehensive
account in French see Hubert Bourgin, Fourier, Contribution a l'etude du socialisme frarr
Gais (Paris, 19go5).
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/. Accessed November 23, 2014.