Child Labour In The Industrial Revolution

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Child labour has been prevalent in societies throughout most of human history however it reached new heights during the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain and United States of America during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain in 1780 and it took several decades for it to spread into other western countries including the United States of America. Before the period of Industrial Revolution, the Agrarian societies in U.S.A depended on farming for their survival. Farming required a large labour force in order to function because most of the processes were carried out manually. Thus children in the Agrarian society were usually employed in their family farms to help out their families…show more content…
For the wealthy Victorian children there was an over-whelming feeling of boredom and the constant need to be polite and decent . They had little to no communication with their parents and grew up under the guidance of their nannies who were responsible for their education, entertainment, etc. The poor children, on the other hand, were exposed to child labour. They did menial jobs to support their families for example they worked in the mines or the factories, they were street sweepers, clothing and hat makers, etc. They even did extreme jobs like prostitution to earn a small amount of money for their families. The working conditions were dreadful as safety wasn’t a priority. The chimney sweeps would come out of chimneys covered in soot, their arms and legs would be bleeding due to crawling under small spaces but no one bothered about it. Occupational deaths were not uncommon for Victorian children. Nonetheless, Great Britain was the first country to impose laws against child labour in the nineteenth century which were then followed by the US. (Price,…show more content…
This led to threatening campaigns that were started by the reformers in order to “preserve” the child-hood of the young employees. The campaigns culminated in the passing of the Factory Acts which reduced the exploitation of children at the work places. (Trattner, 1970) As described by Howard P Chudacoff, in his book “Children at Play: An American History” , during the nineteenth century, there was a major turnover in the concept of child-hood. The Victorian middle and upper class emphasized on the importance of a family life and sanctity for a child. Throughout Europe, schooling was made compulsory for children which resulted in the removal of children from their jobs. Factories produced plastic dolls and others toys for the entertainment of children, etc. Childhood was described as a period of fun and happiness. (Chudacoff,
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