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Child Labor during the Industrial Revolution Essay

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Background Research Throughout history, children have always worked, either as apprentices or servants. However, child labor reached a whole new scale during the time period of the Industrial Revolution. Throughout the time frame of late 1800s-early 1900s, children worked long hours in dangerous factory conditions for very little wages. They were considered useful as laborers because their small stature allowed them to be cramped into smaller spaces, and they could be paid less for their services. Many worked to help support their families, and by doing so, they forwent their education. Numerous nineteenth century reformers and labor groups sought to restrict child labor and to improve working conditions. The Industrial Revolution was a…show more content…
The younger boys who worked at the mines were called breaker boys. They didn’t work in the mine itself, but sat on benches and picked out the bits of rock from the coal. “These children worked in the picking room, a crowded, high-ceilinged vault, crisscrossed with rickety catwalks and crooked stairs, lit only by a wall of grime-choked windows” (Levine, Marvin J. "Mines, Mills, and Canneries." Children for Hire: The Perils of Child Labor in the United States. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003. 21. Print.) Within factories, small children had to work fast at the machines, being very careful unless an unfortunate body part happens to get caught in the high-powered, dangerous machinery. For several long hours in rooms without fresh air, ventilation, and sometimes, no windows, the working conditions that the children suffered through were appalling. There are children who work in hazardous industries, risking accident and injury; there are others working in conditions that take a slower but definite toll on the children’s health (Basu, Kaushik, and Pham Hoang Van. "The Economics of Child Labor" The Economics of Child Labor (1998): 412-27. Print.). Many of the families that had children working had not much choice in allowing their kids to do so. One person or even two people working wouldn’t have been enough to support a whole family. Most of the children employed during this time period were working to provide income to their families. “As soon as a little
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