US I Tour

Focuses on the following Mass. Social Studies frameworks:
(General History: 6, 7, 8, 9)
(US I.11, US I.12, US I.27, US I.28 A + D, US I.30, US I.32, )
Primary source: Alexis de Tocqueville,Democracy in America, Volume I(1835) and Volume II (1839) see Tocqueville itinerary (shaker meeting);
See also Economics Tour for other visiting options.

Vocabulary/concepts to know ahead of time

  • Intended/unintended consequences
  • Historical context (celibacy, spiritualism, millenialism)
  • Theocracy
  • Oligarchy
  • Early 19th Century American Transportation system
  • Horace Mann
  • Second Great Awakening

Overview of the Shakers in the early 19th Century:

The emphasis of the Massachusetts US I frameworks is on the major social, economic, political, and religious changes of the early 19th century. Several of these changes can be observed during a visit to the Shaker Village. Each of the buildings below will provide students with a glimpse into 19th century life. The Laundry & Machine Shop will highlight the rise of mechanization and the textile industry in New England. The Trustees Office contains exhibits that will demonstrate the importance of trade and the Transportation Revolution of the 19th century. 

Places to visit on the tour

Laundry/Machine Shop
Things for students to keep in mind in the Laundry & Machine Shop:

  • What types of machines do you see in this building? How do they demonstrate the technological improvements of the 19th century?
  • Why is the Laundry & Machine Shop located where it is?
  • What was the role of men and women in this place? Is it similar or different from gender roles in the outside world at this time?


Trustees’ Office & Store
Things for students to consider:

  • This shop was the Shakers’ link to the outside world. Why do you think it was located where it was?
  • Look at a map of Hancock Shaker Village. Why do you think this part of the Village was located where it was?


Things for students to consider:

  • Where do the Shakers fit into the spectrum of Protestant denominations?
  • What did their worship look like?
  • What did observers such as Tocqueville and Dickens say about these services?
  • How were the Shakers impacted by the Second Great Awakening?


Brick Dwelling
Things for students to consider:

  • What type of government did the Shakers have?


Things for students to consider:

  • How is this classroom different from theirs?
  • What things did Horace Mann stand for? Is there evidence of this in this classroom and in the Shaker educational system?