150 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
Southwest Texas and New Mexico, they are solid contributions to the growing
literature on the subject.
Lamar University WALTER F. BELL
Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Soczalzsm. By Jonathan Beecher.
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Pp. xvi+584. Preface, intro-
duction, abbreviations, notes, bibliography, index, illustrations. ISBN 0-520-
02297-0. $65.oo, cloth.)
With true academic skill and insight Jonathan Beecher presents Victor
Considerant, the man, the dreamer, the activist, and the prolific journalist in a
complex reading package. This is no easy read even for the skilled veteran. The
detailed documentation with the very specific inclusion of personal and profes-
sional quotes, articles, and essays offers much information as well as the flavor of
the social and political climate of 1840s France. With widespread poverty, the
growing working class, and a general questioning of governmental affairs both
locally and abroad a deep social awakening was under way en masse. The Fourist
romantic utopian theory and thought were the fresh ideas to the scene.
Considerant, Ecole Polytechnique-educated and trained, was deeply moved and
drew lifelong inspiration from these pre-socialist ideas.
Considerant brought the Fourist theory he believed to be scientific and math-
ematically based to a much larger audience and a broader perspective. Through
speeches, lectures, brochures, essays, and numerous publication productions
Considerant paved a new way of printed forum for journalists and writers to
openly engage and to address social issues, concerns, and events. His journalistic
style, method, and freedom in voice are deeply rooted to the publication field
and market today.
Considerant also brought the Fourist utopian ideals of community-style living
to Texas. He believed the wide-open space of the yet-undeveloped land to be the
ideal scene for a colony. Despite his pleas for patience and without
Considerant's consent, 2,436 acres at Reunion, Texas, were purchased as the
site-to-be. Reunion was truly an isolated area, miles from Dallas and any trading
routes. All of the materials and the supplies had to be imported and the lack of a
reliable water source was a serious costly factor to the struggling colony. And
Considerant's withdrawing style laced with disgust and general resentment of
responsibility simply added more fuel for the doomed colony and contributed
directly to the following lack of support for the Uvalde Canyon site and further
development of the Texas Fourist movement.
A detailed, chronicled timetable chart of events as well as noted publications
for reference ease would have greatly enhanced this thoroughly researched pro-
file as presented. Beecher's efforts and final results are absolutely commendable.
The wealth and the scope of information and the details presented are astound-
ing. The individual chapter layout and formula design of background, data,
events, the disastrous Texas events and subsequent return to France illustrates
Considerant as a man with a vision and a passion, yet unable to lead.
The inclusion of the cartoon depiction of Considerant with a newly grown tail
complete with eye according to the Fourist theory in whole ill-fated perspective
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed October 20, 2014.