Child Labor During the Industrial Revolution
By James Klimek
Children working in a factory during the Industrial Revolution
Before the Industrial Revolution
Before the Industrial Revolution had started children had many different jobs they could do. Some children would work on the farm. Boys would be tending to different animals such as cattle while girls would be milking cows and looking after chickens. Children could also work in homes. If you worked in a home you were either a apprentice, a chimney sweep, a domestic servant or an assistant in the family business. Apprentices would live with their master and then would work with them and learn the trade. Once they hit the age of 21 they would open their own business.
A young boy helping out on his family's farm before the Industrial Revolution had started.
Jobs for Children
Once the Industrial Revolution started child labor changed. Most children got jobs factories and worked 12-14 hour days and got very little breaks. Children were popular to use during the Industrial Revolution because they were easy to control. Factory owners could pay them a very little amount of money or no money at all and the children couldn't do anything about it. Children were also used because they had very small bodies. This allowed them to fix broken machines or reach hard to reach places while keeping the other machines running which helped the shop owners make more money.
A group of young boys who were working in the coal mines during the Industrial Revolution
How Did Child Labor End?
Many people in Britain were frustrated with child labor. So Parliament passed the Factory Act of 1833. This act stated that no child that was under the age of 9 would be able to work in a factory. The act also regulated the number of hours a child could work. If a child was 9-13 years old they could work no more than 9 hours a day. If they were 13-18 years old they could only work 12 hours a day. The Education Act of 1870 made sure all British kids were introduced to school. This way kids started to go to school instead of going to factories and working. In the US the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed. This states that a child's job must be safe and must allow for them to get an education. This let most kids in the US get an education.
The Elementary Education Act of 1870
As a child my reaction to child labor during the Industrial Revolution is that it must have been terrible. Having to work in those conditions for so many hours a day must have been a very hard thing to do. I am grateful that there are laws that prevent child labor so I wouldn't have to go through this as well. I realize how lucky I am that I have the opportunity to go to school instead of working.
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Public - 9/13/16, 9:09 PM