Child Labor in the 1800's

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Child Labor in America

Throughout the 1700’s and the early 1800’s child labor was a major issue in American society. Children have always worked for family businesses whether it was an agricultural farming situation or working out of a family business in some type of workplace. This was usually seen in families of middle or lower class because extra help was needed to support the family. Child labor dramatically changed when America went through the Industrial Revolution. When America’s industrial revolution came into play, it opened a new world to child labor. Children were now needed to work in factories, mills, and mines. These were not ordinary jobs for young children, these jobs required much time, effort, and hard work. “American children worked in large numbers in mines, glass factories, textile, agriculture, canneries, home industries, and as newsboys, messengers, bootblacks, and peddlers” ( This had a significant impact on society and in the production in America. Throughout this time, this caused terminal effects on the children who were put to work in these extreme conditions.

First, it was common to see children working along side a parent or gaurdian in an agricultural setting. The young boy’s would help their fathers in farming the land and keeping livestock. They would also help in different kinds of workshops depending on what the family business consisted of. Young females would often help their mothers around the house with the cooking, cleaning, sewing and other “feminine” jobs. Often young girls would be sent to an upper class home to clean and cook for someone else to help support their families. “Parents sent out children as young as 6 to contribute to the family income” (“Child Labor in America”). Without children working to help maintain a regular income for their families, they would just fall deeper into poverty.

When America moved into their industrial revolution, work began to change for the...
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