Industrial Revolution Dilemma

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The year is 1877 and Robert is living in Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution. Robert migrated from what is now present-day Slovakia to Great Britain to seek out a better life for himself and his family. Robert is a well-known activist who has spoken out against harsh working conditions in coal mines. Since the only work available for Robert is in a coal mine, he has toned down his activism and has “laid low” as he wants to keep his job. However, he has very strong sentiments against the harsh and unsafe working conditions in the mines. His brother died from working in a coal mine after the mine collapsed, crushing him below.

Robert has four children between the ages of four and eleven. His wife’s family migrated to Britain a few years before and two of her brothers work in coal mines as well. Prior to moving, Robert worked as a mechanic but received fewer wage than he would as a coal miner.

Robert and his wife purchased a tenement once they moved to Britain and they need to make monthly payments on the tenement. His wife has done some odd jobs like washing clothes and doing cooking and cleaning for wealthy families. However, she has become quite ill and cannot work while requiring expensive medicine to help with her illness. Some people have even died of this type of illness without having access to the medicine. She is often bedridden if she does not take the required dose of medicine. Robert barely makes enough money currently to support his family with food, clothing, shelter, and his wife’s medicine.

During work one day, a coworker of Robert approaches him and asks him to sign a document asking him to join a labor union to help push for better wages and working conditions in the mine. However, Robert has heard that the manager is strongly against labor unions and may fire anyone who signs the document. If the manager finds out who signed the document, there is a chance that they...
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