Child labor was a big issue during the industrial revolution. Children were forced to work long hours, with little pay, harsh punishments, almost no sleep, and their meals were a piece of bread and some water. Here is part of an interview with Matthew Crabtree, a young man who tells the story of his job at the age of 8.
Question: At what age did you first go to work in a factory?
Question: Will you state the hours of labor?
Answer: From six in the morning to eight at night.
Question: Will you state the effect that those long hours had upon the state of your health?
Answer: I was very much fatigued at night when I left my work; so much so, that I sometimes could have slept as I walked, if I had not stumbled and started awake again; and so sick that I could not eat, and what I did eat, I vomited.
Question: State the condition of the children towards the latter part of the day.
Answer: Towards the close of the day, when they come to be more fatigued, they cannot keep up very well and they are beaten to spur them on.
Question: What were you beaten with?
Answer: A strap.
Question: Anything else?
Answer: Yes, a stick sometimes: and there is a kind of roller, which runs on the top of the machine.
Children were performing jobs mostly in factories, mines, and textile plants when they should have been in school. Education was and still is an important part of a child’s life. As you grow older, it’s harder to adapt to new things. While you are still a child, you are able to learn essential information for when you grow up. Children should not be forced to perform difficult, and sometimes life threatening jobs, they should be in school and be educated. This will not happen under capitalism.
The working conditions in general were horrible as well, not just for the children. Along with working ridiculous hours, their work sites were unsanitary. Large corporations and businesses did not properly dispose of their refuse (garbage) so it often made its way into the Thames River. Sewage, as in most cities, was washed out into the streets where it found its way to the rivers with terrible results. In the first half of the 18th century, England experienced a series of recurring epidemics of cholera and typhoid. This was caused by increasing amounts