Child Labor in the Industrial Revolution

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Cotton mill, 19th century Pages: 4 (1484 words) Published: June 1, 2013
What were the economic, social, and political effects of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain in the 19th Century?  
The Industrial Revolution transformed Great Britain into the export capital of the world, however, the social, economic, and political effects of child labor in textile mills in the 19th century as a result of the Industrial Revolution were detrimental to Great Britain. Child labor caused an unsafe environment for the children, it lowered wages and stole jobs from adults, and caused many failed attempts from the government to try to control it. Child labor in textile mills was very demanding for the young workers.  The average child worked about 14 to 16 hours a day, from Monday to Saturday.  On Sunday, which was usually a worker’s only day off, some children were forced to return to the mill and clean the machines.  Boys and girls had different jobs, although both were demanding and dangerous.  A boy worked as a scavenger, meaning he crawled under the whirling machines to retrieve any dropped cotton.  His hair, clothing, or body could become tangled and caught in the machine resulting in severe injury or death.  A girl’s job was a piecer, she would repair broken thread.  In 1841, a study showed that one child walked an average of 30 miles a day from just walking around the mill doing his or her job.   James Myles, a young mill boy wrote, “The factory owners were in charge of feeding their workers, and this was not a priority to them.  Workers were often forced to eat while working, and dust and dirt contaminated their food.  The workers ate oat cakes for breakfast and dinner.  They were rarely given anything else.  Although the food was often unfit for consumption, the workers ate it due to severe hunger.”  The excessive labor mixed with the dark working conditions and lack of food caused the children to become sluggish.  This was unacceptable to the men in charge and often resulted in unfair punishment to the children. ...
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