Essay on Child Labor

Submitted By Bayla-Sebel
Words: 797
Pages: 4

Social Issue: Child Labor

http://eh.net/encyclopedia/child-labor-during-the-british-industrial-revolution/
Children worked before industrial rev.  helped around house
The term “child labor” generally refers to children who work to produce a good or a service which can be sold for money in the marketplace regardless of whether or not they are paid for their work
Started in rural textile mills
Long hours, strict discipline, harsh punishment, unhealthy working conditions, low wages, and inflexible work hours
After the invention and adoption of Watt’s steam engine, mills no longer had to locate near water and rely on apprenticed orphans – hundreds of factory towns and villages developed in Lancashire, Manchester, Yorkshire and Cheshire. The factory owners began to hire children from poor and working-class families to work in these factories preparing and spinning cotton, flax, wool and silk
Textiles:
- British Parliamentary Report 1819  concluded that “children formed a substantial part of the labor force” in the textile mills (1984, 1087), 4.5% of the cotton workers were under 10, 54.5% were under the age of 19 – confirmation that the employment of children and youths was pervasive in cotton textile factories
-Trend continued
- In 1833: The employment of youths between the age of 13 and 18 was higher than for younger children, comprising roughly 23 to 57% of the work forces in cotton, wool, flax, and silk mills
- British Census, in 1841
The three most common occupations of boys were Agricultural Labourer 196,640, Domestic Servant 90,464 and Cotton Manufacture 44,833; and boys under 20 employed
346,079 girls were Domestic Servants; 62,131 were employed in Cotton Manufacture and 22,174 were Dress-makers
Mining:
- Used child labor underground while more children were found on the surface of metal mines “dressing the ores” (a process of separating the ore from the dirt and rock)
- 1851 children and youth (under 20) comprised 30% of the total population of coal miners in Great Britain
- Mining Act of 1842: prohibited girls and women from working in mines, fewer children worked in mines
Children were a cheap source of labor that allowed them to stay competitive
Children were ideal factory workers because they were obedient, submissive, likely to respond to punishment and unlikely to form unions
Machines had reduced many procedures to simple one-step tasks, unskilled workers could replace skilled workers
Nimble fingers, small stature and suppleness of children were especially suited to the new machinery and work situations
Children had a comparative advantage with the machines that were small and built low to the ground as well as in the narrow underground tunnels of coal and metal mine
Overall increased the demand for child labor by creating work situations where they could be very productive
Table 1: Child Employment, 1851-1881
Industry & Age Cohort
1851
1861
1871
1881
Mining
Males under 15
37,300
45,100
43,100
30,400
Females under 15
1,400
500
900
500
Males 15-20
50,100
65,300
74,900
87,300
Females over 15
5,400
4,900
5,300
5,700
Total under 15 as
% of work force
13%
12%
10%
6%
Textiles and Dyeing
Males under 15
93,800
80,700
78,500
58,900
Females under 15
147,700
115,700
119,800
82,600
Males 15-20
92,600
92,600
90,500
93,200
Females over 15
780,900
739,300
729,700
699,900
Total under 15 as
% of work force
15%
19%
14%
11%

http://wathatcher.iweb.bsu.edu/childlabor/

Childhood is a sacred time in any individual’s life. During this time, you are able to live a stress free life and just learn the basics, such as right from wrong. Sending children to work disrupts this period of development greatly. Child labor rates having been rising quickly right along side of industrialization, and quite…