What was more of import in specifying Robert Owen ‘s positions on society: enlightened thoughts or his practical experience as an employer?The celebrated homo and societal rights candidate, Robert Owen, remains an puzzling figure in the history of the Industrial Revolution. Owen, the 6th kid of a comfortable working category household, began developing from the age of 10 as a draper. Traveling to Manchester after his apprenticeship in 1787, nevertheless, brought Owen to the bosom of the English Industrial Revolution.
Get downing a calling in industrial endeavor, Owen rapidly achieved success as the proprietor and director of the celebrated New Lanark whirling mill in Scotland. It is clear from Owen’s enthusiastic runs for worker rights and instruction that he was deeply affected by his direct engagement in industry and which prompted him to get down his run to better working conditions. Owen was more than an idealistic man of affairs ; his thoughts were informed by Enlightenment and Scottish Enlightenment thought, and as a member of the Literary and Philosophical Society in Manchester he was a critical portion of the progressive thoughts which defined the group. It is impossible to find the extent to which Owen’s societal theories were born out of his practical experience within industry and direct contact with the working-class, or whether they were the consequence of his exposure to Enlightenment ideals. Both were every bit influential in determining Owen’s life-long dedication to societal activism.Owen’s A New View of Society, printed in 1816, makes obvious his passion for instruction as the key to widespread societal alteration. Believing strongly in the consequence of environment upon single wellbeing, he focuses on issues such as instruction, sanitation, and worker safety. As John Locke stated in his 1693 Some Ideas Refering Education, “I think I may state that, of all the work forces we meet with, nine parts of 10s are what they are, good or evil, utile or non, by their instruction.
‘T is that which makes the great difference in mankind” . [ 1 ] Owen, excessively, believed that instruction was the key to the promotion of the human race. Clearly a truster in the formative effects of nature instead than raising, Owen reasoned that improved fortunes would hold a positive consequence on moral wellbeing and therefore was non merely the agencies to single success, but to societal promotion every bit good. His educational theory, hence, was born out of Enlightenment ideals.New Lanark, established in 1785 by David Dale, began as a vision of enlightened industry. Dale provided attention for the immature kids of workers, and ensured they were given equal nutrient and vesture. [ 2 ] When Owen jointed New Lanark, he was go oning in a societal witting theoretical account provided by Dale ; nevertheless he spent his first 12 old ages remodelling and overhauling the mill and raising the quality of life of the workers and their households.
New Lanark rapidly became the theoretical account of a modern workers’ community and authors, politicians and business communities visited the mill to see the theoretical account community in pattern. Owen reversed the criterion of labor which had come to stand for the dark side of the Industrial Revolution. By shortening the on the job twenty-four hours, overhauling the mill and places of the workers, supplying attention and instruction for kids, Owen enacted his ain doctrines of societal public assistance within the operable context of the mechanized construction of the industrialized universe.Robert Owen believed really strongly that it was the duty of the employer for the wellbeing and attention of their employees. Using his ain New Lanark factory as an illustration, he enacted extremist alterations for his clip such as cut downing the hours of work for kids, criminalizing physical penalty, and promoting his workers to go to school. Although his mill was successful, Owen came to gain that even a painstaking employer would alleviate the rhythm of societal ailments instead than work outing them. He says,As employer and maestro maker in Lancashire and Lanarkshire, I had done all I could to buoy up the immoralities of those whom I employed ; yet with all I could make under our most irrational system for making wealth, organizing character, and carry oning all human personal businesss, I could merely to a limited extent alleviate the misery of their conditions, while I knew that society, even at this period, possessed the most ample agencies to educate, employ, topographic point, and govern, the whole population of the British Empire, so as to do all into fully-formed, extremely intelligent, united, and for good comfortable and happy work forces and adult females, superior in all physical and mental qualities ( Owen, 1858 ) .Education is clearly an of import constituent of the humanitarianism which emerged from the Enlightenment.
The pedagogue, in Owen’s model the employer, had an duty to supply an environment which would nurture both mental and physical development in a kid. Championed as the ‘steam engine of his new moral world’ , instruction became a rallying call for many societal militants of the period.The targeting of instruction was far from random ; Owen based his vision of societal reform through instruction on the thought that a solid system of instruction would change the moral cloth of the working category, and filtrate up into good administration. He challenges his readers to:[ … ] enter any one of the schools … and bespeak the maestro to demo the skills of the kids. These are called out, and he asks them theological inquiries to which work forces of the most profound eruditeness can non do a rational answer ; the kids, nevertheless, readily answer as they had been antecedently instructed ; for memory, in this jeer of acquisition, is all that is required. Thus the kid whose natural module of comparing thoughts, or whose rational powers, shall be the soonest destroyed, if at the same clip, he possess a memory to retain incongruousnesss without connexion, will go what is termed the first bookman in the category ; and three-quarterss of the clip which ought to be devoted to the skill of utile direction will be truly occupied in destructing the mental power of the kids.
[ 3 ]Owen applies doctrine to his observation, implementing instruction for all kid laborers and kids of workers excessively immature to work. Education, far from being an tool given to the working category to open chances of promotion, was viewed as a tool of moral order. It was merely through instruction that kids would be taught moral righteousness ; therefore instruction was an ethical tool. Owen’s dedication to instruction is admirable, but his logical thinking is clouded by his idealism.
Owen was non merely a man of affairs concerned with his workers’ public assistance ; his vision of societal alteration was much broader. InA New View of Society( 1816 ) Own calls for societal alteration across a spectrum, utilizing his ain concern of New Lanark as illustration. Although New Lanark proved a socially witting endeavor could be financially successful, Owen’s doctrines were more socialist than capitalist. In 1824 Owen ventured beyond concern to establish New Harmony, Indiana, which was what he called a Community of Equality. His communitarian rules were finally unsustainable, but his theoretical account for modern industry remains an inspiration for modern militants and business communities likewise.
Convinced that his Utopian visions were non merely feasible but necessary, Owen credited his background in concern at New Lanark for the practicality of his theoretical accounts. He describes how his ideals are inspired by observation:[ I ] t must be apparent to those who have been in the pattern of detecting kids with attending, that much of good or evil is taught to or acquired by a kid at a really early period of its life ; that much of pique or temperament is right or falsely formed before he attains his 2nd twelvemonth ; and that many lasting feelings are made at the expiration of the first 12 or even 6 months of his being. [ 4 ]Critics have noted, nevertheless, that the fiscal records at New Lanark reveal Owen to a typical enterpriser, more hard-headed man of affairs than righteous altruist. Although he claims that his doctrines are derived from direct experience in the Millss, Owen’s socialist vision of equal societies do non co-occur with his capitalist actions.
After the failure of his communes in America, Owen returned to Britain to go on to run for societal public assistance reform through similar avenues such as trade brotherhoods and co-ops. Owen’s philosophies become progressively idealistic, mentioning to his pet cause of instruction as the ‘New Moral World’ . Although Owen protested that his involvement in instruction was born out of his direct experience in concern, he clearly shapes his run as a moral revolution.
Robert Owen was a adult male undeniably dedicated to runing for societal public assistance reform during the Industrial Revolution. It is impossible, nevertheless, to find whether it was his personal experience in the industry which finally shaped his doctrines, or whether it was his inspiration from Enlightenment theoreticians. What is clear is that Owens became profoundly affected by his engagement with New Lanark in peculiar, and his direct experience in the concern and every twenty-four hours experience of mill work tempered his idealism.Plants CitedOwen, R.A new position of society, or essays on the rule of the human character and the application of the rule of pattern.
London: Cadell & A ; Davies, 1813.– –The life of Robert Owen: written by himself. vol. 1. London, Effingham Wilson, 1858.Stewart, W.
A.C. ; McCann, W.P. 1967.
The educational pioneers.vol. 1.1750–1880. London, Macmillan1