Child Labor After the American Civil War

699 Words3 Pages
In the late 1700's and early 1800's, power-driven machines began to replace hand labor for the production of nearly all manufactured items. Factories began to pop up everywhere, first in England and then the United States was soon to follow in their footsteps. There were numerous factories and to meet the needs of the owners of these factories they had to get creative and find people of all walks of life to put to work. Sadly, their solution to the in demand workers was putting children, sometimes as young as three years old, to work. Operating the machines did not require adult strength, and children would work for much less than adults would. By the mid-1800's, child labor was a major problem. Child labor became a major problem shortly after the Civil War had been drawn to a close. This era of industrial growth completely changed American society, it created a new class of wealthy entrepreneurs and a very comfortable middle class. This group of workers was made up of millions of new immigrants and many families that had migrated from other areas with high hopes of job security. Rural families relocated to the cities to find work, with a dream of a better life for themselves and their children. However, most were shocked when they arrived and discovered that the truth was not at all what it seemed to be. The only jobs that were readily available required long hours and offered very little pay. In most situations, every able family member was needed to work to simply keep
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