How was the issue of child labor in factories perceived by different groups during the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain?
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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones
Child Labour & the British Industrial Revolution
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain, a Kingdom and naval power ruled by monarchs and nobles was a society divided by class. The Ruling Class - the landed, the nobles, the capitalists and the gentry lived a life so separate and exclusive from that of the lower masses - the peasants, the farmers, the servants, the ordinary workers (skilled and unskilled) and the slaves (from the African Slave Trade and Colonial Expansion). The Lower classes struggled to make ends meet and unskilled workers in cities and peasant farmers and farm labourers were greatly challenged at ensuring that all their children had clothes on their backs, houses to live in and food to eat. To maximise the probability of making a living children of the lower classes and the poor masses worked as soon as they could, helping their parents in whatever way they can in the farms, factories, markets, etc. By the time the 1800's ushered in and Britain went full throttle into the Industrial Revolution,leading the world in the utilisation and maximisation of the steam engine, factories for mass production of goods mainly for export burgeoned - each factory, from textile mills, to metalworks to shipyards recruited and hired people. The advent of the industrial revolution in farming also ensured that new machines cut down labour (i.e. threshers), hence farmers & farm labourers out of work brought their families with them and flocked to industrialising cities (i.e. London, Liverpool, Manchester). The migration from countryside to city was so bad that by the 19th century half of the British population has moved to London. This meant a great competition for resources and space. Space was at a premium and families often rented rooms instead of actual houses sharing small spaces with other families in already minute buildings in Victorian England. As a result, hygiene and health was affected as access to water (no running water in 2-up, 2 down cheaply built houses with only one pump shared by a row of houses built close to the factories) and deplorable living conditions for families and the children were the constant daily reality for some who were living in poverty. Rubbish were thrown in the streets, and because of space premium, even the cellars were full, utilised as living areas for families with 4-5 children (normal number of children per family in Victorian England). Narrow streets, ...
The solution is an extensive 1,781 essay that looks into the conditions of child laborers and the issue of child labor during the Industrial revolution. Social, economic and welfare conditions are expounded and discussed including the varied forms of work that children took on. Social reception and subsequent laws towards protection of children laborers is also included. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing. The solution lists references for expansion.