who is Robert Owen in terms of history?
- CanProfLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Robert Owen, the son of a saddler and ironmonger from Newtown in Wales, was born on 14th May, 1771. Robert was an intelligent boy who did very well at his local school, but at the age of ten, his father sent him to work in a large drapers in Stamford, Lincolnshire. After spending three years in Stamford, Robert moved to a drapers in London. This job lasted until 1787 and now aged sixteen, Robert found work at a large wholesale and retail drapery business in Manchester.
It was while Owen was working in Manchester that he heard about the success Richard Arkwright was having with his textile factory in Cromford. Richard was quick to see the potential of this way of manufacturing cloth and although he was only nineteen years old, borrowed £100 and set up a business as a manufacturer of spinning mules with John Jones, an engineer. In 1792 the partnership with Jones came to an end and Owen found work as a manager of Peter Drinkwater's large spinning factory in Manchester.
As manager of Drinkwater's factory, Owen met a lot of businessmen involved in the textile industry. This included David Dale, the owner of Chorton Twist Company in New Lanark, Scotland, the largest cotton-spinning business in Britain. The two men became close friends and in 1799 Robert married Dale's daughter, Caroline.
With the financial support of several businessmen from Manchester, Owen purchased Dale's four textile factories in New Lanark for £60,000. Under Owen's control, the Chorton Twist Company expanded rapidly. However, Robert Owen was not only concerned with making money, he was also interested in creating a new type of community at New Lanark. Owen believed that a person's character is formed by the effects of their environment. Owen was convinced that if he created the right environment, he could produce rational, good and humane people. Owen argued that people were naturally good but they were corrupted by the harsh way they were treated. For example, Owen was a strong opponent of physical punishment in schools and factories and immediately banned its use in New Lanark.
David Dale had originally built a large number of houses close to his factories in New Lanark. By the time Owen arrived, over 2,000 people lived in New Lanark village. One of the first decisions took when he became owner of New Lanark was to order the building of a school. Owen was convinced that education was crucially important in developing the type of person he wanted.
When Owen arrived at New Lanark children from as young as five were working for thirteen hours a day in the textile mills. He stopped employing children under ten and reduced their labour to ten hours a day. The young children went to the nursery and infant schools that Owen had built. Older children worked in the factory but also had to attend his secondary school for part of the day.
Owen's partners were concerned that these reforms would reduce profits. Unable to convince them of the wisdom of these reforms, Owen decided to borrow money from Archibald Campbell, a local banker, in order to buy their share of the business. Later, Owen sold shares in the business to men who agreed with the way he ran his factory.
Robert Owen hoped that the way he treated children at his New Lanark would encourage other factory owners to follow his example. It was therefore important for him to publicize his activities. He wrote several books including The Formation of Character (1813) and A New View of Society (1814). In 1815 Robert Owen sent detailed proposals to Parliament about his ideas on factory reform. This resulted in Owen appearing before Robert Peel and his House of Commons committee in April, 1816.
Robert Owen toured the country making speeches on his experiments at New Lanark. He also publishing his speeches as pamphlets and sent free copies to influential people in Britain. In one two month period he spent £4,000 publicizing his activities. In his speeches, Owen argued that he was creating a "new moral world, a world from which the bitterness of divisive sectarian religion would be banished". His criticisms of the Church of England upset many people, including reformers such as William Wilberforce and William Cobbett.
Disappointed with the response he received in Britain, Owen decided in 1825 to establish a new community in America based on the socialist ideas that he had developed over the years. Owen purchased an area of Indiana for £30,000 and called the community he established there, New Harmony. One of Owen's sons, Robert Dale Owen became the leader of the new community in America.
By 1827 Owen had lost interest in his New Lanark textile mills and decided to sell the business. His four sons and one of his daughters, Jane, moved to New Harmony and made it their permanent home but Owen decided to stay in England where he spent the rest of his life helping different reform groups. This included supporting organisations attempting to obtain factory reform, adult suffrage and the development of successful trade unions. He expressed his views in his journals, The Crisis and The New Moral World.
Owen also played an important role in establishing the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union in 1834 and the Association of All Classes and All Nations in 1835. Owen also attempted to form a new community at East Tytherly in Hampshire. However, like New Harmony in America, this experiment came to an end after disputes between members of the community. Although disillusioned with the failure of these communities and most of his political campaigns, Robert Owen continued to work for his "new moral order" until his death on 17th November, 1858.
- 1 decade ago
Robert Owen (May 14, 1771 – November 17, 1858) was a Welsh socialist and social reformer. He is considered the father of the cooperative movement.
Owen's socialistic philosophy was derived from three fundamental pillars of his thought. First, he believed that no one was "responsible for his will and his own actions" because "his whole character is formed independently of himself." Owen firmly believed that people were the product of their environment, which fueled his support for education and labor reform. His views made Owen a pioneer in the promotion of investment in human capital. Owen's second pillar was his opposition to religion. Owen felt that all religions were "based on the same absurd imagination" which he said made mankind "a weak, imbecile animal; a furious bigot and fanatic; or a miserable hypocrite." [However, he did embrace spiritualism towards the end of his life (O'Hara, 2006, p.75).] His third pillar said that he disliked the factory system, and supported the cottage system
 Works by Owen
1813. A New View Of Society, Essays on the Formation of Human Character. London.
1815. Observations on the Effect of the Manufacturing System. 2nd edn, London.
1817. Report to the Committee for the Relief of the Manufacturing Poor. In The Life of Robert Owen written by Himself, 2 vols, London, 1857-8.
1818. Two memorials behalf of the working classes. In The Life of Robert Owen written by Himself, 2 vols, London, 1857-8.
1819. An Address to the Master Manufacturers of Great Britain. Bolton.
1821. Report to the County of Lanark of a Plan for relieving Public Distress. Glasgow: Glasgow University Press.
1823. An Explanation of the Cause of Distress which pervades ihe civilized parts of the world. London.
1830. Was one of the founders of the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union (GNCTU)
1832. An Address to All Classes in the State. London.
1849. The Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race. London.
Robert Owen wrote numerous works about his system. Of these, the most highly regarded are:
the New View of Society
the Report communicated to the Committee on the Poor Law
the Book of the New Moral World
Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race
The Robert Owen Collection, that includes papers and letters as well as copies of pamphlets and books by him and about him is deposited with the National Co-operative Archive, UK .
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Sorry I just looked it up and he is a utopian socialist. I suggest you look him up on the computer.Heaps of information on him.
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- Anonymous5 years ago