Child labor was a cruel and unfair way of using children in unnecessary situations. It was debated for a countless number of years whether child labor was a social problem or a political problem. Children were responsible for completing very dangerous, rigorous, and demanding jobs. Most jobs for the children were completed in factories, farms, and coal mines. Subsequently, the working conditions for the children were not healthy, and it led to life threatening situations. Many would get seriously injured or killed. Some worked until exhaustion and fell asleep on the job, and would experience harsh consequences. Generally speaking, child labor drastically changed the way owners ran their businesses during the Industrial Revolution. The ruthless ways of child labor were never changed for the better until different Acts and Laws were put into place. People were concerned with the social and physical wellbeing of working children in Britain during the Industrial Revolution.
Some children had to work really long hours, “Typical day at the mines starts at 7:00 A.M. and ends around 6:00 P.M.: ‘I get my dinner at 12 o’clock, which is a dry muffin, and sometimes butter on, but have no time allowed to stop to eat it, I eat it while I am thrusting the load….’”. Because of the long hours the children had to work they finally enacted laws to protect child labor. “Factory Act of 1833 outlawed the employment of children under the age of nine in textile mills.” These laws helped over time but people still snuck into factories and worked. Sometimes the children had no choice but to work their families were poor and needed money to survive.
Government regulations had a big impact on the daily life of child labourers during the industrial revolution in many ways, such as Children were often forced to work in difficult conditions for long hours. They received little pay and were harshly disciplined. There were no restrictions on the age of workers or number of hours that could be worked.
The use of children sped up production and made the pool of employees much larger. The benefit of child labor for the workers being able to have more people in the factory. The disadvantage was the fact that children are young and should be spending their time learning and playing opposed to operating machines for 16 hours and never attending school (Document 1). Some communities made child labor an option and enforced education at the same time. These communities were known as working societies. They focused on making nice conditions for children that worked. They took good care of kids and paid them in exchange for work. Safety was a big concern so death rates were very low (Document 5). However, not all companies treated their kids well. Some factories abused child labor, allowing kids as young as three years old to help out (Document 9). Politicians are managers claimed that the kids were just fine and even benefited from working. “I have visited many factories, and I never saw a single instance of corporal chastisement inflicted on a child. They seemed to be always cheerful and alert” (Document 4). Child labor was a debatable topic during the Industrial Revolution because many people depended on it but many other people wanted it to stop because it was
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.
During the industrial revolution in Britain, the usage of child labourers dramatically increased as it became a cheap and easy form of labour. This lead to the continued abuse of many children in textile factories. In 1833, the Factory Act of 1833 was put forth which dictated that no children under the age of nine would work. Children ages nine to thirteen wouldn’t work more than nine hours a day and children ages thirteen to eighteen wouldn’t work more than twelve hours a day. In addition it introduced the circulation of four factory inspectors who were to enforce the new legislation. They were to certify whether children had received their compulsory education of two hours each day and report conditions to the government. This act brought forth attention and sparked debates from the public which made stronger note of the working conditions for children.
“C: What time did you begin work at the factory? B: When I was six years old” (Testimony on Child Labor in Britain) Children started doing strenuous work at such young ages. Children would often be mentally or physically tormented in life because
This is no place for a child, but day in and day out the youngsters of industrial cities would tend to cotton making machines because their little fingers could easily change the spools of cotton. With no safety measures and children sticking their fingers into rapidly spinning machines, injuries were bound to happen. If you got injured, you would most likely get fired, and there was nothing that you could do about it. From 5 in the morning (till) 9 at night (Document 7), this is how long then six year old Elizabeth Bentley would work at a textile factory, children would have no say in when they would work and for how long the could work. One day it may be a ten hour shift and the next a sixteen hour shift. Child Labor Laws limiting the hours that children could work did not come until later in the Industrial Revolution. (Note that this child is not in school. It was not uncommon for children to be working instead of learning at school. The lack of Child Labor Laws was not just bad the children, but also for society. Without properly educated children, there would be a lack of educated people in the world (Document
Children were working to have an income to help support their families during this era. They worked in factories, coal mines, and on farms. The factories that they worked in often worked the children as vigorously as the adults. They were not allowed breaks and worked over 69 hours per week (Source 3). “The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong, the Factory Boy” by Frances Milton Trollope, illustrated these conditions. A child’s death from working was the most common way to die in this century (Source 1).
Throughout the American Industrial Revolution, child labor in industries such as textiles, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, laboring, street work, and domestic work was endemic in the United States. Several factors, including mechanization, urbanization, industrialization, poverty, labor shortages, and lack of regulation were the primary causes for this increase in child labor. Children, as young as three years old, worked from sunrise to sunset in factories, mines, fields, and mills where conditions were excruciating. The arduous work resulted in myriad deleterious effects, namely, afflictive injuries, pitiful deaths, and bleak futures. In order to curtail the abusive conditions, numerous people championed the rights of child laborers and ultimately achieved their concordant goal of gaining federal regulation of minimum employment ages, permissible types of jobs, and duration of work hours for youths.
Children aged from six years old in the industrial revolution worked hard hours for very little. The children usually worked up to 19 hours a day, with a one-hour break. Not only were these children subject to long hours, but also, they were in horrible conditions. Large, heavy, and dangerous equipment was very common for children to be using or working near. Many accidents happened killing or injuring children on the job. Children were only paid only a fraction of what an adult would get, and sometimes factory owners would pay them
During the Industrial Revolution, children as young as six years old sometimes worked instead of going to school. They were not paid very much. The conditions were dangerous. Children were breathing dirty air and often worked on dangerous machines.
During the Industrial Revolution and in the Romantic Period, child labor was very common for most of the children that lived during that time. Many of the families were very poor and needed all the extra money that they could get. Children were sent to work in various workplaces such as factories, mines, and even mills. The children received little or no pay from their jobs. The workplaces required extremely long work hours usually from sun up to sun down with very few breaks in between. Most children also received very harsh treatment if they slacked off of their work. The owners of the companies gave little or no attention to the children. They wanted the production to be made each day no matter how hard it was on them.
The Revolution also affected children. When coal became necessary to fuel steam engines, many people were needed to work in coal mines. Children were hires to go into narrow passageways and pick coal. Boys and girls were put to work doing dangerous things that children should not be expected to do. Children also worked in factories. Their small hands came in handy to retrieve broken threads in machines, however many children lost fingers while doing this.
The steel industry was also revolutionized through the use of the steam engine. Steel, smelted from iron, was beaten, rolled or shaped on steam-powered machines. This steel became very cheap, and was able to be used for the railroad tracks, and also used later on in construction. (Gordon). Without the steal to be shaped so fast by the steam engines, countries couldn't have expanded its trade and travel the way it did. It is also said that, "The water works and, in many cases, the canals could not exist without steam-power, for their very existence depended upon the regular raising of large quantities of water to high levels. Steam was the only power that made this possible." (The Penetration of the Industry by steam power) Without the steam engine, these factories, mills, agricultural advances, and other industries could not have been revolutionized in the way they were.