In short, the definition of an ideal society is "Utopia." A Utopian society is defined as an imaginary society free from poverty and suffering. It is the topic of a book written by Sir Thomas Moore in 1516.
While the idea of a Utopian society may seem like a foreign concept, in fact there were a number of Utopian societies in America during the 18th and 19th centuries, including the Shakers, who founded approximately 20 different settlements. While each group might have had some vast differences, all of them shared the common vision of a Utopian society. These groups all wanted to establish a new social pattern based on the ideal society and were attempting to embody that vision in physical form.
Some of these groups were secular, while others were more religious. Some of the religious groups that broke away to form Utopian societies were the Shakers, the Rappites, the Amana Colonies, the Oneida community and Brook Farm.
By the 20th century, most of these groups began to subside. One of the primary reasons was because their way of life had to be altered significantly due to the country's economic, industrial and scientific progress. These utopian communities simply could not compete with the evolution of society and survive.