“the Horrifying Effects of Child Labor During the Industrial Revolution Era”

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The world has had many great accomplishments but what people often fail to think about are the consequences of these great accomplishments. When the Industrial Revolution came to Britain, there was a high demand for labor to work in the various mills and mines because of the demand for production. Chimneysweepers also became common during this time. Because of this, families fled from their rural farms to industrialized cities in search of work. Children were often the workers of choice because they were easily controlled, they were small and able to get into smaller places and because they were easily forced to work long and grueling hours. The Industrial Revolution was responsible for advancements in technology because production was faster using these machines than by hand. All of this should have been a positive experience, however because of child labor it turned into a very negative era. The Industrial Revolution was responsible for damaging children in a lot of ways including their overall health, lack of education and the way they were brutally mistreated and abused. There is nothing more shameful in British history than the despicable treatment of the nation’s working children during this time. Children were treated as animals, often beaten, starved and overworked. Entire generations of young people lost their precious childhood, because they were forced to work in these conditions. Many pieces of literature show us examples of the mistreatment and abuse, overall health and lack of education these children endured. There are several examples of authors portraying their lives through their own literature because they too lived as children during this era and often endured the same harsh treatment. The result of their hard work created enormous amounts of suffering and sometimes death due to the greed of mill-owners, the sadistic cruelty of factory overseers and the consent of parents.

Health was one of the major damaging results from the treatment of these children during the Industrial Revolution. Children from the ages of five through eighteen were not physically or mentally matured yet and had no business working in these conditions. While working in the mills and as chimney sweepers children had to carry extremely heavy things, which often resulted in deformities to their bodies. “One of the most common punishments for being late was to tie a heavy weight to a child’s neck, and have them walk up and down the factory aisles” (Blizzard). The overseers did this to set an example for the rest of the children workers. Knees were another body part often affected by standing so long. “…the knees become so weak that they turn inward producing a deformity called ‘knock knees’” (Smith). So many children had such an extreme case of this deformity that they lost up to twelve inches off their height. Young girls often had pelvis problems from standing so long. Their pelvises became deformed and later in life when they were trying to have children, the physician would often end up having to take the baby’s life because the young women’s bodies were unable to accommodate the pressure. “Distortion does not prevent procreation, yet it most likely will produce deadly consequences, either to the mother or the child” (Blizzard). Because of this fear, many women chose not to have children. Children were required to work long hours, often up to nineteen hours per day, which was obviously not good for them. “I am now frequently in the habit of seeing cases in which this arch has given way. Long continued standing has also a very injurious effect upon the ankles” (Smith). Their bones were also very soft because of their young age and the bones would often bend in different directions. The arch of these children’s feet had to sustain their body weight, which often caused problems. Often the arches would collapse and the bones would not form properly. Repetition was common in these factories and many...
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