Separatist in Ideology  not in Economics

The Shakers beliefs and values centered on separating themselves from the outside world and its influences. They focused on leading simplistic lives filled with hard labor and worship, attempting to recreate the idea of a Heaven on earth. The Shakers attempted to accomplish this ideal through their values, their separated community, and their rules of materialism/Millennial Laws.

The Shakers identified themselves as Separatists because these wished to live outside from other worldy influences and so they enacted rules for all communities on how to govern interactions with the outside world and trade that occurred. While the Shakers were separatist in their ideology and their physical location outside of major cities and towns, they could not survive as a separate unit without the support of trade. The Shakers were mostly self-sufficient, they farmed for their own food, built structures like the Stone Barn to ease their labor, and make a wide variety of products such as baskets, brooms, furniture or medicines. The Shakers still relied on the source of income from the trading they did with local cities, such as Hancock with Pittsfield, and they used this income to help buy products they could not produce themselves, as well as assist the poor and pay taxes.

While the Shakers could not fully support themselves without the assistance of trading, they are a separatist group based on how their religion shaped their interactions, or lack thereof, with outside forces. The Shakers believed in non-conformity to other worldly influences and so they needed to separate themselves away from the society that produced so much sin and desire. This separation allowed them to focus on their religion and their connections with each other, fostering a unique dynamic of equality in the time period of the 1800-1930s that they were most active. This need for separation allowed the Shakers the chance to create more opportunities and freedoms for themselves, especially women, that they would be persecuted for in regular society.