All Throughout the Industrial Revolution

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Category: Child Labor
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All throughout the Industrial Revolution children often worked full-time jobs in order to help support their families. Children as young as five years old and up to around fifteen years old would work would family members and perform many types of jobs in hazardous and harmful factories. Working in factories would have young children lose limbs or even their lives. According to the article Child Labor Violence in America “Children workers faced severe dangers to their physical health” (1). Many employers would take advantage of the children working and give them jobs that were meant for the role of an adult job.

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They would even prefer children working then adults since children were more useful laborers.

Since children were little they would have the ability to fit in any space in the business such as the chimney sweeps, the mills, miners, in between machines and all sort of the places in the factory. Children were also easier to manage, control and were allowed to be paid less than adults. They would work for 12-14 hours almost every single day and only eat during break time. In the text, Child Labor in the Early Twentieth Century it states “Many of these jobs were required children to work many hours even before sunrise.” (277) The jobs they would be given were to run the large machines, chimney sweeps, newsies (selling newspaper), farming, salesmen, the mills, factories and the most difficult one of all breaking coal mines.

When it came to cold mines many kids would lie about their age in order to secure a job in breaker and were known as “Breaker Boys.” They would typically work from 7:00 am and work ten hours a day and get paid 5-7 cents an hour just by separating coal by hand. Since many kids couldn’t afford gloves their fingers would be unprotected meaning their fingers would be bloody from the sharp slate. In the article it states Child Labor in the Early Twentieth Century “Once a man, twice a boy” (278) was the start of many miners careers were by being breaker boys. Once they went to mine work eventually they would’ve been sent back because of a medical condition called black lungs which would be from the coal dust they would breathe in while working. The average of how long someone has lived throughout the career of a miner was 32 years old. The job was considered too dangerous where insurance companies wouldn’t provide any coverage, having injured workers to not receive medical care and families not receive any financial compensation when a loved one would die.

Before the federal government passed labor laws , in 1914 majority of states had changed the minimum age for child labor at twelve or fourteen with the maximum hours of a work a day would be ten hours. Once and for all finally came labor reform, it wasn’t till the nineteenth century when reformers and labor organizations decided to help improve and put an end to child labor. In 1904 , the National Child Labor Committee ( NCLC ) was established and had fought for federal child labor reform. The NCLC had progressive reformers such as Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, Edward T. Devine, and Lillian Wald. This organization took massive action towards the reform they would hire a photographer, Lewis Hine, who take photographs of young children working in factories ,machines, and vivid pictures of child labor. In the text it mentions “Exhibitions of photographs of children employed in all sorts of economic pursuits, including those considered among the most dangerous and grueling, proved equally successful in pricking the public’s conscience.” (Baughman 1) Other reformers such as Jacob Riis who wrote “The Children of the Tenements” (1903) , George Creel with the help of Ben Lindsey wrote “Children In Bondage.” (1913) All these stories help expose and show the nation the conditions poor children experienced and dealt with while working.

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All throughout the Industrial Revolution. (2019, Jan 06). Retrieved from