TIlE POLITICAL IDEAS OF THE UTOPIAN SOCIALISTS of commenting on fundamental questions concerning social organisation. He did so from the perspective of the moralist armed with insights into human nature and social justice, insights which, in this case, were derived from his practical experience among working-class men and women, his knowledge of the Bible and the teachings of Christianity, and his study of the works of other socialists and communists who had convinced him of the ethical virtues of their systems. Weitling's Christian millenarianism is particularly interesting, since he obviously absorbed it directly from his early experience in German working-class communities and fraternal societies. Millenarianism, far from being new, had well established roots in Germany going back to the Middle Ages. In Weitling's case, therefore, the absorption of millenarianism preceded his first serious encounter with the socialist thought of Saint-Simon, Owen, Fourier, and others. This meant that by the time he came to set out his own ideas in systematic form for the first time, in Mankind As It Is and As It Should Be (1838), he was already predisposed towards an interpretation of socialism in terms of a millenarian transformation. This places him in a rather different situation from, say, SaintSimon and Cabet, whose versions of socialism as a New Christian religion were developed at a much later stage in their authors' careers.