Robert Owen

May 14, 1771 - Nov 17, 1858

Robert Owen was a Welsh textile manufacturer, philanthropist and social reformer, and a founder of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. He worked to improve his factory's working conditions, promoted experimental socialistic communities, and sought a more collective approach to child rearing, including government control of education. He gained wealth in the early 1800s as an investor, then manager of a textile mill at New Lanark, Scotland. He had trained as a draper in Stamford, Lincolnshire and worked in London before relocating aged 18 to Manchester and textile manufacturing. In 1824, he moved to America and invested most of his fortune in an experimental socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana, as a preliminary model for his Utopian society. It lasted about two years; other Owenite Utopian communities likewise failed. In 1828, Owen returned to London, where he continued to champion the working class, lead the development of cooperatives and the trade union movement, and support child labour legislation and free co-educational schools.
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“Man is the creature of circumstances.”

Robert Owen
May 14, 1771 - Nov 17, 1858
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