Introduction/Thesis: The Amish community (a breakaway group of the Mennonites) evolved from the dispute of infant baptism. The original name given to these groups of people were called Anabaptist. In the time of Reformation, the Anabaptists held beliefs that were in conflict with the Old Church. Anabaptists believed that baptism should be reserved for consenting adults. Anabaptists urged a return to New Testament Christianity with a rather literal interpretation of Scripture, a congregational organization, an austere life style, simplicity and minimal contact with the state (O’Neil, 1997). The Bible seems especially relevant to a communal, largely agricultural society that rejects many modern conveniences (O’Neil, 1997). The Amish migrated from place to place to avoid persecution; taking with them farming practices. Agriculture sustained their community in each area they settled. Therefore, they were still persecuted and forced to flee their countries of origin to North America, the newly forming United States of America and Canada. Amish migrations, which entailed large families, religious faith, agricultural technologies, and roles and norms, became "portable communities” (Goreham, 2002). Common themes emerge from these narratives: "protecting Amish ties, maintaining an intertwined kinship network, finding suitable land for diverse agriculture, meeting pioneer needs for wood and running water, avoiding flat wetlands, and developing commercial potential" (Cosgel, 1993). The Amish society’s economic organization, resistance to social change, and beliefs and values has allowed them to resist the social problems of the modern world and thrive as a community.
I. Economic Organization
A. "Amish businesses . . . are growing, prospering, and thriving" (Kraybill and Nolt, p. 222).
1. Most Amish work on Amish farms or for Amish employers in small, family-oriented businesses. They attempt to avoid working for or with outsiders (O’Neil,...