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Child labor during the Industrial Revolution

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Matthew Pawelko

on 7 November 2013

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Transcript of Child labor during the Industrial Revolution

For this presentation, I will be covering the background of child labor during the industrial revolution. I will also be asking and looking into three questions on the topic. Those three questions are, 1: Why was child labor used during this time? 2: What were the working conditions like and how did it effect the children? 3: What brought about the end of child labor in this time (18th and 19th century)?
Question 2: What were working conditions like, and how did it effect the children?
As it was mentioned earlier, the working conditions for these children in these factories was far from what could be seen as acceptable. For example in the cotton industry, the factories were very hot, and well packed places. Steam engines and machinery were all packed into these factories, and children fit the owners needs perfectly. They were small enough to fit between the machines, with open exposed moving parts, and work like that for 12+ hours a day. So with those conditions alone, plus the added exhaustion that took into effect, this made things extremely dangerous foe those kids.
Question 3: What brought about the end of the Child labor?
There were many things, or factors that played a role in stopping child labor. Many laws were passed by the English government that helped change the way factories were run. Also many adults were up in arms over the fact that their jobs were being with held and preformed by children. So all of these things combined brought an eventual end, or change in better terms, to the child labor of the industrial revolution.
Musical examples
Child labor during the Industrial Revolution
Basic info.
The industrial revolution was a time of expansion for the world. Of which occurred in between the 1700-1800's. During this time, many new technologies were being revealed, machines, many of which were developed to increase the productivity of factories. But with these new large machines came a new problem.
Info continued.
This problem was the need for workers to watch and operate this new machinery. Meaning more labor was needed for productivity to be at its maximum. This was such a problem because many of these factories were built in new industrialized cities or towns, and many people were still living in rural areas. Therefore the work force was a limited.
Info once more.
And poverty was another contributing factor. Many of the families were having extremely difficult times just managing to get by, therefore, with all of these factors, children entered the work force. Not only because more workers were needed, but also because families needed everyone to have an income just to be able to survive and thrive.
Final Information
This brought about child labor, ultimately the factory owners saw this need for work and abused it. More details on this and other points will be covered in this presentation, so sit back and enjoy!
More reasons.
Another reason was that kids were smaller than adults. meaning not only were more workers able to be put into the same amount of space, but they could also be 'crammed' into smaller work spaces more easily. This lead to many problems, such as very unsafe working conditions (which will be covered next).
Question 1: Why was Child Labor Used?
One of the main reasons was, children were cheap. They would work 12-14 hours, 6 days a week, and were lucky to be paid 4 shillings for it (which is equivalent to 96 cents US). Another reason was because the families in which these children where obtained from were very poor, barely making it by, so they were willing to give their kids to these factories in order to get any income possible. Meaning the owners could get away with over working the kids and paying them unfairly.
My Opinion
To be honest, it sickens me to know that kids, my age and younger, were used to such an extent that they were basically slaves. For example, the 'Parish Apprentice Children', which were kids put in orphanages by the government, weren't payed at all. The factory owners, who fed, housed, and watched the kids, felt that doing just that was enough compensation. So basically, they were getting away with free labor, and worse of all, it was kids ages 5+ doing the work that was very dangerous and harmful to say the least.
So all in all, child labor during the industrial revolution was directly used to benefit the factory owners, and the industrialists. The children were cheap, and you could fit more kids in a factory or tight work space than you could adults. Therefore you are getting a larger work force, at less cost and less space required for the work to take place. In my opinion I think that for these reasons alone, it was both morally and legally wrong to put these kids to work in the poor work conditions and with poor compensations given to the kids.
More examples
Another dangerous work place that these kids were placed into would be the coal mines. Normally, three kids would be sent into tunnels with a mine cart of sorts. One would be in front pulling, and two behind pushing. Now it should be mentioned that these tunnels were incredibly small, the children would have to hunch over to be able to fit in, and they would be put in the tunnels all day. This cramped, dark, dirty work place lead to many injuries and even many deaths.
How did this effect the children?
These poor working conditions, with the added pressure of having to fulfill quotas and the owners expectations, lead to many issues. The exposure to open machines in tight spaces, lead to many serious injuries or even death. And in the coal industry cave-ins, and events such as fires in the garment industries also lead to many deaths. The stress of working under these conditions and the added up to 16 hours of work a day, eventually lead to a push for change. And after a while, labor laws were finally put into place.
The working conditions in the factories and mines where the children were employed were closest to horrible than anything. Poor lit and ventilated work places, that were crammed full of workers and machines, lead to many problems for the workers. Many injuries were experienced and deaths occurred fairly regularly, however these things were never focused on by the owners for the workers were seen as unskilled, cheap, and easily replaced. But eventually enough was enough as changed
Video Examples
Source Page
I do not own any of the Audio, Visual, or informational parts of this presentation. All sources are credited here:
Information gathered from:
Images were gathered from google images.
Audio and visual clips were gathered from Youtube.com
Job with-holding
Many adults eventually pushed for child labor to be stopped simply because it effected their lives too. Many jobs in mines and factories were being taken from adults and given to children, all because the industrialists and the factory owners wanted to make the most profit. They could work kids longer and still pay them less. This angered adults because they needed the jobs to survive, therefore they pushed for a change in the way things were run.
Laws passed
Some of the laws that were passed in the 1800's that helped to change how the factories were run, were laws like the Cotton Factories Regulation Act of 1819. The first actual bill or law that was passed regarding the child labor. This law put in a minimum age of 9 years old, as well as that they could only work 12 hours a day. The Regulation of Child Labor Law of 1833 could also be mentioned because it created government inspectors that made sure all rules and laws were being up held. These were only a few of the many laws passed that aided in ending child labor.
My Perspective
All in all I'm sure it can be fully agreed on that this child labor was horrible. Long grueling days, in tight cramped spaces, confined to working in small areas around large exposed machinery. Not to mention the fact that if it weren't for greed and capitalism, this would not have been needed. These kids were put to work because they were cheap, easily replaced, desperate, and there was nobody stopping them. Which is completely wrong and it is good to know that eventually the government stepped in and created laws to stop them.
Beautiful Slave - Take No Glory
I see the message of the song being the story of a girl slave, and how rough her life was. It goes through how she loses the life she lived, and how her owners changed the person she was. She asks the question "Will anyone free me?" basically a cry for help. It tells of how the older ones are just taken away and how she just wants to be free. It serves to point out how the people seen or treated as slaves see life. And in the end it brings up the message that no matter who you are, Jesus loves all of us. In my point of view, it serves to say, no one should be treated as a lesser person, that everyone was created equal.
Lost - Avenged Sevenfold
This song is not directly related to slavery to as far as my knowledge, but I do believe that it can be related to the topic. From the first line, it states that although centuries have passed, things are still the same, much is the case in the world of slavery. And in the chorus is says that we've all been lost for most of this life, a line I think could be used for describing the lives of slaves because they are being forced to work, not really being able to live the lives they might have if it were not for being enslaved. The other line in the chorus that goes on saying about how most of us are not right following the steps of pride, could be directed at the slave owners.
Lost cont.
This is because I can see the word pride being replaced with greed. One of the most contributing factors of slavery. If the slave owners did not have so much greed to actually use slaves for cheap labor, we would not have the problem that we face even now in the modern world. For these reasons I think it can be seen how this song can be related to slavery, and all the problems that come from it.
Transatlantic slave trade:
Slavery: Past and Present
The transatlantic slave trade.
This video is a short documentary on the triangle of trade that took place in between the 1400's and 1800's. It goes into detail about how the slaves were treated on the ships that transported them as well as the plantations and such where they were put to work. It gives examples of when the slaves would rather jump overboard and off the ships (to their eventual deaths) rather than stick on the ships. And how in the plantations they would loose their names and be beaten into submission and obedience. It talks of how they would wear shackles that prevented them from moving and if they ran away from the plantations and were caught, they had to wear these collars that allowed them to work but kept them from running again. All in all, it paints a clear and brutal picture.
Slavery: Past and Present
This is also a short documentary that covers the time line of slavery, from the ancient times of Sparta and Greece, all the way to today's slave problems. It roughly goes over many of the major slavery times, such as the holocaust, when the Nazi's put millions of people to work and death, and today's issues with sexual exploitation and human trafficking. It as well paints a dark picture, showing how slavery has been around practically as long as man, whether it be in the past, with empires such as Sparta being run of the labor of slaves, to the triangle of trade, to the events of world war II, all the way to modern day. Slavery has been a problem for a long time, and it offers suggestions for how we could help in stopping it.
Full transcript