Although Robert Owen's vision of New Harmony as an advance in social reform was not realized, the town became a scientific center of national significance, especially in the natural sciences, most notably geology.
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Owen embraced socialism in 1817, a turning point in his life, and began making specific efforts to implement what he described as his "New View of Society."  Owen outlined his position in a report to the committee of the House of Commons regarding the country's poor laws . [ citation needed ] In addition, when misery and trade stagnation after the Napoleonic Wars were capturing the attention of the country, the British government invited Owen offer his advice on what could be done to alleviate the industrial concerns. Although Owen attributed the immediate causes of misery to the wars, he also argued that the underlying cause of distress was the competition of human labour with machinery and recommended the establishment of self-sufficient communities. 
The schoolroom for the infants’ instruction was furnished with paintings, chiefly of animals, with maps, and often supplied with natural objects from the gardens, fields and woods – the examination and explanation of which always excited their curiosity and created an animated conversation between the children and their instructors.