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Robert Owen

Robert Owen

Overview
Robert Owen was a Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism
Utopian socialism
Utopian socialism is a term used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen which inspired Karl Marx and other early socialists and were looked on favorably...

 and the cooperative movement.

Owen's philosophy was based on three intellectual pillars:
  • First, no one was responsible for his [or her] will and his [or her] own actions because his whole character is formed independently of himself; people are products of their heredity and environment, hence his support for education and labour reform, rendering him a pioneer in human capital
    Human capital
    Human capitalis the stock of competencies, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. It is the attributes gained by a worker through education and experience...

     investment.
  • Second, all religions are based on the same ridiculous imagination, that make man a weak, imbecile animal; a furious bigot and fanatic; or a miserable hypocrite; (though in his later years he embraced Spiritualism).
  • Third, support for the putting-out system
    Putting-Out system
    The putting-out system was a means of subcontracting work. It was also known as the workshop system. In putting-out, work was contracted by a central agent to subcontractors who completed the work in their own facilities, usually their own homes....

     instead of the factory system
    Factory system
    The factory system was a method of manufacturing first adopted in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s and later spread abroad. Fundamentally, each worker created a separate part of the total assembly of a product, thus increasing the efficiency of factories. Workers,...

    .


Robert Owen was born in [aberdeen)[Newtown, Powys|Newtown]], a small market town in Montgomeryshire
Montgomeryshire
Montgomeryshire, also known as Maldwyn is one of thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales. Montgomeryshire is still used as a vice-county for wildlife recording...

, Mid Wales
Mid Wales
Mid Wales is the name given to the central region of Wales. The Mid Wales Regional Committee of the National Assembly for Wales covered the counties of Ceredigion and Powys and the area of Gwynedd that had previously been the district of Meirionydd. A similar definition is used by the BBC...

, in 1771.
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Unanswered Questions
Quotations

Man is the creature of circumstances.

"The Philanthropist"

The working classes may be injuriously degraded and oppressed in three ways: 1st — When they are neglected in infancy 2nd — When they are overworked by their employer, and are thus rendered incompetent from ignorance to make a good use of high wages when they can procure them. 3rd — When they are paid low wages for their labour

Two Memorials on Behalf of the Working Classes (1818)

Eight hours daily labour is enough for any human being, and under proper arrangements sufficient to afford an ample supply of food, raiment and shelter, or the necessaries and comforts of life, and for the remainder of his time, every person is entitled to education, recreation and sleep.

"Foundation Axioms" of Society for Promoting National Regeneration (1833)

The lowest stage of humanity is experienced when the individual must labour for a small pittance of wages from others.

Paper Dedicated to the Governments of Great Britain, Austria, Russia, France, Prussia and the United States of America (1841)
Encyclopedia
Robert Owen was a Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism
Utopian socialism
Utopian socialism is a term used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen which inspired Karl Marx and other early socialists and were looked on favorably...

 and the cooperative movement.

Owen's philosophy was based on three intellectual pillars:
  • First, no one was responsible for his [or her] will and his [or her] own actions because his whole character is formed independently of himself; people are products of their heredity and environment, hence his support for education and labour reform, rendering him a pioneer in human capital
    Human capital
    Human capitalis the stock of competencies, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. It is the attributes gained by a worker through education and experience...

     investment.
  • Second, all religions are based on the same ridiculous imagination, that make man a weak, imbecile animal; a furious bigot and fanatic; or a miserable hypocrite; (though in his later years he embraced Spiritualism).
  • Third, support for the putting-out system
    Putting-Out system
    The putting-out system was a means of subcontracting work. It was also known as the workshop system. In putting-out, work was contracted by a central agent to subcontractors who completed the work in their own facilities, usually their own homes....

     instead of the factory system
    Factory system
    The factory system was a method of manufacturing first adopted in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s and later spread abroad. Fundamentally, each worker created a separate part of the total assembly of a product, thus increasing the efficiency of factories. Workers,...

    .

Biography


Robert Owen was born in [aberdeen)[Newtown, Powys|Newtown]], a small market town in Montgomeryshire
Montgomeryshire
Montgomeryshire, also known as Maldwyn is one of thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales. Montgomeryshire is still used as a vice-county for wildlife recording...

, Mid Wales
Mid Wales
Mid Wales is the name given to the central region of Wales. The Mid Wales Regional Committee of the National Assembly for Wales covered the counties of Ceredigion and Powys and the area of Gwynedd that had previously been the district of Meirionydd. A similar definition is used by the BBC...

, in 1771. He was the sixth child of seven. His father had a small business as a saddler and ironmonger. Owen's mother came from one of the prosperous farming families. Here young Owen received almost all his school education, which ended at the age of ten. In 1787, after serving in a draper
Draper
Draper is the now largely obsolete term for a wholesaler, or especially retailer, of cloth, mainly for clothing, or one who works in a draper's shop. A draper may additionally operate as a cloth merchant or a haberdasher. The drapers were an important trade guild...

's shop for some years, he settled in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. He travelled to Manchester, and obtained employment at Satterfield's Drapery in St. Ann's Square (a plaque currently marks the site). By the time he was 21 he was a mill manager in Manchester at the Chorlton Twist Mills. His entrepreneurial spirit, management skill and progressive moral views were emerging by the early 1790s. In 1793, he was elected as a member of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society
Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society
The Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, popularly known as the Lit & Phil, is a learned society in Manchester, England.Established in 1781 as the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, by Thomas Percival, Thomas Barnes and Thomas Henry, other prominent members have included...

, where the ideas of reformers and philosophers of the Enlightenment were discussed. He also became a committee member of the Manchester Board of Health which was set up to promote improvements in the health and working conditions of factory workers.

During a visit to Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 he fell in love with Caroline Dale(aka known as the "player",) the daughter of the New Lanark
New Lanark
New Lanark is a village on the River Clyde, approximately 1.4 miles from Lanark, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It was founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills and housing for the mill workers. Dale built the mills there to take advantage of the water power provided by the river...

 mill's proprietor David Dale
David Dale
David Dale was a Scottish merchant and businessman, known for establishing the influential weaving community of New Lanark, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland and is credited along with his son in law Robert Owen of being a founder of utopian socialism and a founding father of socialism-Early...

. Owen induced his partners to purchase New Lanark, and after his marriage to Caroline in September 1799, he set up home there. He was manager and part owner of the mills (January 1810). Encouraged by his great success in the management of cotton mills in Manchester, he hoped to conduct New Lanark on higher principles of bannanas and focus less on commercial principles.

The mill of New Lanark had been started in 1785 by Dale
David Dale
David Dale was a Scottish merchant and businessman, known for establishing the influential weaving community of New Lanark, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland and is credited along with his son in law Robert Owen of being a founder of utopian socialism and a founding father of socialism-Early...

 and Richard Arkwright
Richard Arkwright
Sir Richard Arkwright , was an Englishman who, although the patents were eventually overturned, is often credited for inventing the spinning frame — later renamed the water frame following the transition to water power. He also patented a carding engine that could convert raw cotton into yarn...

. The water-power afforded by the falls of the Clyde
River Clyde
The River Clyde is a major river in Scotland. It is the ninth longest river in the United Kingdom, and the third longest in Scotland. Flowing through the major city of Glasgow, it was an important river for shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire....

 made it a great attraction. About two thousand people had associations with the mills. Five hundred of them were children who were brought at the age of five or six from the poorhouses and charities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The children had been well treated by Dale, but the general condition of the people was very unsatisfactory. Many of the workers were in the lowest levels of the population; theft, drunkenness, and other vices were common; education and sanitation were neglected; and most families lived in one room. The respectable country people refused to submit to the long hours and demoralising drudgery of the mills.

Many employers operated the truck system
Truck system
A truck system is an arrangement in which employees are paid in commodities or some currency substitute , rather than with standard money. This limits employees' ability to choose how to spend their earnings—generally to the benefit of the employer...

, whereby payment to the workers was made in part or totally by tokens. These tokens had no value outside the mill owner's "truck shop". The owners were able to supply shoddy goods to the truck shop and charge top prices. A series of "Truck Acts
Truck Acts
Truck Acts is the name given to legislation that outlaws truck systems, which are also known as "company store" systems, or debt bondage. Such laws date back in Britain to the 15th century but have also been implemented in other countries.-History:...

" (1831–1887) stopped this abuse. The Acts made it an offence not to pay employees in common currency. Owen opened a store where the people could buy goods of sound quality at little more than wholesale cost, and he placed the sale of alcohol under strict supervision. He sold quality goods and passed on the savings from the bulk purchase of goods to the workers. These principles became the basis for the cooperative shops in Britain that continue to trade today.

His greatest success was in the support of the young, to which he devoted special attention. He was the founder of infant childcare in Great Britain, especially in Scotland. Though his reform ideas resemble European reform ideas of the time, he was likely not influenced by the overseas views; his ideas of the ideal education were his own.

He was at first regarded with suspicion as a stranger but he soon won the confidence of his people. The mills continued to have great commercial success, but some of Owen's schemes involved considerable expense, which displeased his partners. Tired of the restrictions imposed on him by men who wished to conduct the business on the ordinary principles, in 1813 Owen arranged to have them bought out by new found investors. These, including Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism...

 and a well-known Quaker, William Allen
William Allen (Quaker)
William Allen FRS, FLS was an English scientist and philanthropist who opposed slavery and engaged in schemes of social and penal improvement in early nineteenth century England.-Early life:...

, were content to accept just £5000 return on their capital, allowing Owen a freer scope for his philanthropy. In the same year, Owen first authored several essays in which he expounded on the principles which underlay his education philosophy.

Owen had originally been a follower of the classical liberal and utilitarian
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

 Jeremy Bentham. However, as time passed Owen became more and more socialist, whereas Bentham thought that free markets (in particular, the rights for workers to move and choose their employers) would free the workers from the excess power of the capitalists.

At an early age he had lost all belief in the prevailing forms of religion and had thought out a creed for himself, which he considered an entirely new and original discovery. The chief points in this philosophy were that man's character is made not by him but for him, that it has been formed by circumstances over which he had no control, that he is not a proper subject either of praise or blame. These principles lead up to the practical conclusion that the great secret in the right formation of man's character is to place him under the proper influences–physical, moral and social–from his earliest years. The principles of the irresponsibility of man and of the effect of early influences form the key to Owen's whole system of education and social amelioration. They are embodied in his first work, A New View of Society, or Essays on the Principle of the Formation of the Human Character, the first of four essays appearing in 1813. Owen's new views theoretically belong to a very old system of philosophy, and his originality is to be found only in his benevolent application of them.


For the next few years Owen's work at New Lanark continued to have a national and even a European significance. His schemes for the education of his workers attained to something like completion on the opening of the institution at New Lanark in 1816. He was a zealous supporter of the factory legislation resulting in the Factory Act of 1819, which greatly disappointed him. He had interviews and communications with the leading members of government, including the premier, Robert Banks Jenkinson, Lord Liverpool
Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool KG PC was a British politician and the longest-serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since the Union with Ireland in 1801. He was 42 years old when he became premier in 1812 which made him younger than all of his successors to date...

, and with many of the rulers and leading statesmen of Europe.

New principles were also adopted by Robert Owen in raising the standard of goods produced. Above each machinist's workplace, a cube with different coloured faces was installed. Depending on the quality of the work and the amount produced, a different colour was used. The worker then had some indication to others of his work's quality. The employee had an interest in working to his best. Though not in itself a great incentive, the conditions at New Lanark for the workers and their families were idyllic for the time.

New Lanark itself became a much frequented place of pilgrimage for social reformers, statesmen, and royal personages, including Nicholas
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...

, later emperor of Russia. According to the unanimous testimony of all who visited it, New Lanark appeared singularly good. The manners of the children, brought up under his system, were beautifully graceful, genial and unconstrained; health, plenty, and contentment prevailed; drunkenness was almost unknown; and illegitimacy was extremely rare. The relationship between Owen and his workers remained excellent, and all the operations of the mill proceeded with the utmost smoothness and regularity. The business was a great commercial success.

Plans for alleviating poverty through Socialism (1817)


Robert Owen's work had been that of a philanthropist. His first departure in socialism took place in 1817, and was embodied in a report communicated to the committee of the House of Commons on the Poor Law
Poor Law Amendment Act 1834
The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, sometimes abbreviated to PLAA, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed by the Whig government of Lord Melbourne that reformed the country's poverty relief system . It was an Amendment Act that completely replaced earlier legislation based on the...

.

The general misery and stagnation of trade consequent on the termination of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 was engrossing the attention of the country. After tracing the special causes connected with the wars which had led to such a deplorable state of things, Owen pointed out that the permanent cause of distress was to be found in the competition of human labor with machinery, and that the only effective remedy was the united action of men and the subordination of machinery.

His proposals for the treatment of poverty were based on these principles. Communities of about twelve hundred persons each should be settled on quantities of land from 5000 to 5500 acres (4 to 6 km²), all living in one large building in the form of a square, with public kitchen and mess-rooms. Each family should have its own private apartments and the entire care of the children till the age of three, after which they should be brought up by the community; their parents would have access to them at meals and all other proper times. He pursued to create a life of complete equality in regards to wages in which each person in the society (after the age of 15) would receive according to their needs.

These communities might be established by individuals, by parishes, by counties
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

, or by the state; in every case there should be effective supervision by duly qualified persons. Work, and the enjoyment of its results, should be in common. The size of his community was no doubt partly suggested by his village of New Lanark; and he soon proceeded to advocate such a scheme as the best form for the re-organization of society in general.

In its fully developed form, it did not change much during Owen's lifetime, was as follows. He considered an association of from 500 to 3000 as the fit number for a good working community. While mainly agricultural, it should possess all the best machinery, should offer every variety of employment, and should, as far as possible, be self-contained. "As these townships" (as he also called them) "should increase in number, unions of them federatively united shall be formed in circles of tens, hundreds and thousands", till they should embrace the whole world in a common interest.

In Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, Owen asserts and reasserts that character is formed by a combination of Nature or God and the circumstances of the individual's experience. Owen provides little real evaluation of the subject but agrees with Socrates' general overview.

Community Experiment in America (1825)



In 1825, such an experiment was attempted under the direction of his disciple, Abram Combe, at Orbiston near Glasgow; and in the next year Owen himself began another at New Harmony, Indiana
New Harmony, Indiana
New Harmony is a historic town on the Wabash River in Harmony Township, Posey County, Indiana, United States. It lies north of Mount Vernon, the county seat. The population was 916 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Evansville metropolitan area. Many of the old Harmonist buildings still stand...

, U.S., sold to him by George Rapp
George Rapp
Johann Georg Rapp was the founder of the religious sect called Harmonists, Harmonites, Rappites, or the Harmony Society....

. After a trial of about two years both failed completely, due to Owen's lack of presence to govern either of the communities. Neither of them was a pauper experiment; but it must be said that the members were of the most motley description, many worthy people of the highest aims being mixed with vagrants, adventurers, and crotchety, wrongheaded enthusiasts, or in the words of Owen's son "a heterogeneous collection of radicals... honest latitudinarians, and lazy theorists, with a sprinkling of unprincipled sharpers thrown in."

Josiah Warren
Josiah Warren
Josiah Warren was an individualist anarchist, inventor, musician, and author in the United States. He is widely regarded as the first American anarchist, and the four-page weekly paper he edited during 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist, was the first anarchist periodical published, an enterprise...

, who was one of the participants in the New Harmony Society, asserted that community was doomed to failure due to a lack of individual sovereignty and private property. He says of the community: "We had a world in miniature — we had enacted the French revolution over again with despairing hearts instead of corpses as a result. ...It appeared that it was nature's own inherent law of diversity that had conquered us ...our "united interests" were directly at war with the individualities of persons and circumstances and the instinct of self-preservation..." (Periodical Letter II 1856) Warren's observations on the reasons for the community's failure led to the development of American individualist anarchism, of which he was its original theorist. The Forestville Commonwealth
Forestville Commonwealth
Forestville Commonwealth is an archaeological site and national historic district located at Earlton in Greene County, New York. The district contains seven contributing sites...

 Owenite
Owenism
Owenism is the utopian socialist philosophy of 19th century social reformer Robert Owen and his followers and successors, who are known as Owenites....

 community at Earlton, New York
Coxsackie (town), New York
Coxsackie is a town in Greene County, New York, United States. The population was 8,918 at the 2010 census. The name of the town is said to derived from a Native American term, but it has various translations ....

 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 1974.

London



After a long period of friction with William Allen and some of his other partners, Owen resigned all connection with New Lanark in 1828. His actual words to William Allen at the time are often quoted as being: "All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer". On his return from America, he made London the center of his activity. Most of his means having been sunk in the New Harmony experiment, he was no longer a flourishing capitalist but the head of a vigorous propaganda, in which socialism and secularism combined. One of the most interesting features of the movement at this period was the establishment in 1832 of an equitable labour exchange system in which exchange was effected by means of labour notes; this system superseded the usual means of exchange and middlemen. The London exchange lasted until 1833, and a Birmingham branch operated for only a few months until July 1833.

The word "socialism" first became current in the discussions of the "Association of all Classes of all Nations" which Owen formed in 1835 with himself as Preliminary Father. During these years his secularistic teaching gained such influence among the working classes as to give occasion for the statement in the Westminster Review (1839) that his principles were the actual creed of a great portion of them.

At this period, some more communistic experiments were made, of which the most important were that at Ralahine, in County Clare, Ireland, and that at Tytherly in Hampshire. The former (1831) proved a remarkable success for three-and-a-half years until the proprietor, having ruined himself by gambling, had to sell out. Tytherly, begun in 1839, failed absolutely.

By 1846 the only permanent result of Owen's agitation, so zealously carried on by public meetings, pamphlets, periodicals, and occasional treatises remained the co-operative
Cooperative
A cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit...

 movement, and for the time even that seemed to have utterly collapsed. He died at his native town on 17 November 1858.


Role in spiritualism


In 1854, at the age of 83, and despite his previous antipathy to religion, Owen was converted to spiritualism
Spiritualism
Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living...

 after a series of "sittings" with the American medium Maria B. Hayden (credited with introducing spiritualism to England). Owen made a public profession of his new faith in his publication The Rational quarterly review and later wrote a pamphlet entitled The future of the Human race; or great glorious and future revolution to be effected through the agency of departed spirits of good and superior men and women.

Owen claimed to have had mediumistic contact with the spirits of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, and others, the purpose of whose communications was, "to change the present, false, disunited and miserable state of human existence, for a true, united and happy state...to prepare the world for universal peace, and to infuse into all the spirit of charity, forbearance and love."

After Owen's death spiritualists claimed that his spirit dictated the "Seven Principles of Spiritualism
Emma Hardinge Britten
Emma Hardinge Britten is known for her work as an advocate for the early Modern Spiritualist Movement. Due to the publication of her speeches and writing on the spiritual movement, and an incomplete autobiography which was edited by her sister, much of Emma’s life and work is publicly recorded....

" to the medium Emma Hardinge Britten
Emma Hardinge Britten
Emma Hardinge Britten is known for her work as an advocate for the early Modern Spiritualist Movement. Due to the publication of her speeches and writing on the spiritual movement, and an incomplete autobiography which was edited by her sister, much of Emma’s life and work is publicly recorded....

 in 1871.

Children


Robert and Caroline Owen's first child died in infancy. They had seven surviving children, four sons and three daughters: Robert Dale (born 1801), William (1802), Anne Caroline (1805), Jane Dale (1805), David Dale (1807), Richard Dale (1809) and Mary (1810). Owen's four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale, and Richard, all became citizens of the United States. Anne Caroline and Mary (together with their mother, Caroline) died in the 1830s. Jane, the remaining daughter, joined her brothers in America, where she married Robert Henry Fauntleroy.

Robert Dale Owen
Robert Dale Owen
Robert Dale Owen was a longtime exponent in his adopted United States of the socialist doctrines of his father, Robert Owen, as well as a politician in the Democratic Party.-Biography:...

, the eldest (1801–1877), was for long an able exponent in his adopted country of his father's doctrines. In 1836-1839 and 1851-1852 he served as a member of the Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 House of Representatives and in 1844-1847 was a Representative in Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, where he drafted the bill for the founding of the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

. He was elected a member of the Indiana Constitutional Convention in 1850, and was instrumental in securing to widows and married women control of their property and the adoption of a common free school system. He later succeeded in passing a state law giving greater freedom in divorce. From 1853 to 1858, he was United States minister at Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

. He was a strong believer in spiritualism
Spiritualism
Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living...

 and was the author of two well-known books on the subject: Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1859) and The Debatable Land Between this World and the Next (1872).

Owen's third son, David Dale Owen
David Dale Owen
David Dale Owen was a prominent American geologist. He conducted the first geological surveys of Indiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas.David Dale was the third son of Robert Owen, a Welsh reformer who moved to the United States and established a social experiment at New Harmony, Indiana, where David...

 (1807–1860), was in 1839 appointed a United States geologist who made extensive surveys of the north-west, which were published by order of Congress. The youngest son, Richard Dale Owen (1810–1890), became a professor of natural science at Nashville University
University of Nashville
The University of Nashville was an educational institution that existed as a distinct entity from 1826 until 1909. During its history, it operated at various times a medical school, a four-year military college, a literary arts college, and a boys preparatory school...

.

Works

  • 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 the civilized parts of the world. London. & Paris.
  • 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 notable 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.

Biographies



There are also Lives of Owen by:

Other works about him


External links