Work, Children! Work! No Matter What!

872 words - 3 pages

Work, Children! Work! No Matter What!The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain during the 1700s. By the early 1800s it began to spread to other parts of Europe and North America. Industrialization had become broad in Western Europe and the Northeastern United States by the mid-1800s. Power-driven machines replaced handwork and many workers were needed. Factories developed as the best way of bringing machines and workers together ("Industrial Revolution"). Many stories have been written about the children of the Industrial Revolution. The novel Lyddie, written by Katherine Patterson, has many true facts that show what conditions really were like for children who worked in the factories in the United States.During the Industrial Revolution, poor families strived on their children's earnings. When parents worked in the factories the children were sent to work alongside them. If the parents didn't work in the factories the companies would give the money straight to the parents, not the deserving children (Clark). "Another problem for children was the popular opinion that gainful employment of children of the 'lower orders' actually benefited poor families and the community at large" (Hine).The children earned lower wages for unskilled jobs than adults would so they were often hired (Clark). "There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profit only to employers. The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits fromLerner 2their work." (qtd. Clark). The companies owned towns with houses where the workers usually lived. Lyddie and all of the other workers she knew lived in boarding houses owned by the companies. The only times they were in the boarding houses was to eat and sleep. At the end of the day the girls could visit each other's boardinghouses (Patterson Page 21). In these villages were stores with overpriced goods (Hine). No matter how much the workers thought they were making, they still gave almost all of their money back to the factories by paying rent and buying from the stores.Children never had the chance to prepare themselves for the future. Child labor took away pretty much any chance of an education (Clark) "Child labor condemned them [children] to a future of illiteracy, poverty, and continuing misery." Parents didn't realize how bad sending their children to work in a factory was. It deprived them of food and sleep (Clark).If children had the chance to live a normal life they couldn't because of their health problems. Children developed diseases related to their work environment. Lyddie works in a textile mill where the air quality is terrible (Patterson). Tuberculosis and bronchitis was common for those who worked in coal mines or cotton mills (Clark). Her friend Betsy gets very sick and starts to cough up blood so she has to go home (Patterson Page 112). Many children were underweight due to...

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