The Industrial Revolution and After

  • W. A. C. Stewart


ROBERT OWEN ’S life (1771 –1858) covers the traditionally accepted time-span of the Industrial Revolution, and he accepted the existence and implications of industrial change. He was born fourteen years before his future father-in-law David Dale set up one of the first cotton-spinning mills in the British Isles at New Lanark, and died seven years after the Great Exhibition had proclaimed Britain’s world industrial supremacy. Although Owen was aware of the attractions of the preindustrial pastoral society,2 he did not look back upon it with nostalgia but accepted the new industrial system as the one in which his life had to be lived. ‘He was the first British writer who grasped the meaning of the Industrial Revolution,’ wrote Max Beer in his introduction to Owen’s autobiography,3 and he was impressed by the possibilities for production of the new industrialism, and how its new sources of wealth might be used for the benefit of the people.4 He realized that the character of the working class was being formed chiefly by circumstances arising from trade, manufactures, and commerce,5 and could only be transformed by a change in society, a process in which education would play a crucial part.


Industrial Revolution Corporal Punishment Language Teaching Sunday School Rational School 
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© W. A. C. Stewart 1972

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  • W. A. C. Stewart

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