In the 19th century, at least 80% of the population was working class, to be middle class you had to have at least one servant. In this century, the factory system replaced the system where people were working in their own homes or small workshops. This industry caused children to work a lot more than before. However, this was seasonal and therefore, they also had more time to play. Also women started to work more, for example in the factories.
The first law that actually worked to stop child labour banned children under 9 years old from working in factories. It also said that children between the age of 9 and 13 could not work for more than 12 hours a day or 48 hours a week, children from 13 to 18 were not allowed to work for more than 69 hours a week and nobody under 18 was allowed to work at night. Also, children between 9 and 13 had to be given two hours of education a day.
Until halfway through the century the law only applied to textile factories, but later this was extended to all factories. In the late 19th century, workers became organized and formed unions. Factory owners usually favoured children and women because they would follow orders and not speak up for themselves where men would. A reason that so many people started working in factories was because the population of Europe had increased with more than 100% over the last century.
In the 19th century, there was a law in Europe, the Compulsory Education Law. They thought that the basis of moral raising should be in logic, reason and moral intuition instead of religion. This law replaced children from the workplace into schools. Schools became tax supported, teachers more educated and children could now go to public schools. In the 19th century the attitude towards children changed even more to what we think nowadays. The role of family was considered even more important than before. The childhood was now seen as a time of fun and happiness. Girls got dolls, as a preparation to take care of children of their own later and boys got other toys and they did outdoor activities so that they developed character and would become a good healthy citizen later. However, it was still common that children worked in the beginning of the century.
Families were a lot larger than nowadays, 10 children was very normal in the working class. The life expectancy of people was also a lot lower, under 50 years. The change can also be seen in the emergence of the new genre and goal of children’s literature. Instead of wanting to be didactic and teach a moral lesson, authors now wrote more humorous books that were more in tune with the child’s imagination.
Christianity was still the most common religion in Europe in the 19th century. It was influenced by the French Revolution, that had just ended at the end of the 18th century, and by the Industrial Revolution, which was still fully going on until 1840. In the early 19th century the Catholic church could be...