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Child Labor in the U.S. and Britain during the Industrial Revolution Parallels and Contrasts.

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Presentation on theme: "Child Labor in the U.S. and Britain during the Industrial Revolution Parallels and Contrasts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Child Labor in the U.S. and Britain during the Industrial Revolution Parallels and Contrasts

2 In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, child labor was used throughout the world, particularly in industrializing countries. Britain was the first country to be industrialized. Child labor there was primarily used in the textile industry. The U.S. borrowed many ideas from the British during the Industrial Revolution.

3 In Britain, the first rural textile mills were built, and children were a major part of the workforce. Manchester and Lancashire were the first towns to establish a factory system. Britain USA

4 Britain USA In the U.S., Samuel Slater opened the first mill in Pawtucket, RI Samuel Slater, a British immigrant, is considered the “Father of American Industrial Revolution,” because he built the first water powered textile mill in the U.S.. He modeled his factory system on the British system Old%20slater%20mill.jpg

5 Britain USA In Britain, 51.2% of children under the age of eighteen worked in the textile mills and 20% of children under the age of thirteen Photographed by Lewis Hine:

6 Britain USA In the U.S., in 1830, 55 % of mill workers in Rhode Island were children The Lowell mills employed mostly young women with an average age of fifteen to eighteen

7 Britain USA In the U.S., people started to question child labor, but laws were not established until much later bp.blogspot.com/.../ Child+Labor+Coal+Mines.jpg

8 Britain USA In Britain: 1.Until the Factory Act of 1833, the factory owners decided how long the children had to work. 2.The Act prohibited the employment of children under nine in all textile mills powered by steam and water. 3.It also limited the working hours to nine hours per day and mandated schooling “Parliament passed five Labour Laws between 1802 and 1833, but was shrewd enough not to vote a penny for their carrying out...” (Karl Marx) 2009

9 Britain USA In the U.S., the first state child labor law was established in Massachusetts Children in Massachusetts under the age of fifteen had to attend school for three months Photographed by Lewis Hine: and-doffer-in-cotton-mill.jpg

10 Britain USA In the U.S., states began limiting children to a ten- hour workday but the laws were not always enforced! 2009

11 Britain USA The British Factory Acts were applied to all trades The Acts prohibited the employment of children under ten, and children aged ten to fourteen could only be employed half days. 2009

12 Britain USA In the U.S., the American Federation of Labor recommended banning factory employment for children under fifteen years of age but not banning it altogether. The AFL also recommended a law limiting women and children to a maximum eight-hour workday

13 Britain USA In the U.S. the National Labor Law Committee forms, and child labor law reform begins Child working as a spinner. Photographed by Lewis Hine: about/Pages/History.aspx

14 Britain USA In the U.S., a new federal child labor law sets a minimum age for employment but it was declared unconstitutional after just two years. Photograph by Lewis Hine: online-history.org/ Wc2.htm

15 Economy?Free Choice?Skill for Trade? Domestic work same as factory work? “They [factory reformers] believed that families could not give up the wages of children.... Observers believed that textile factories could not run without child labor” (Clark Nardinelli, Historian, 1990). “No one, not parents, employers, or government should be able to coerce children into or prohibit them from entering work situations. Children old enough to be supporting themselves are old enough to make their own decisions” (Wendy McElroy, Feminist, 2001). Critics argue that children who work in the factories learn valuable skills such as a trade and endurance. “The work was often more difficult because [of] pressure... and the oppressive conditions of the factories.... Tasks were harder and required concentration and strength.... Children were [watched] by an overseer which created fear” (Carolyn Tuttle, Historian, 1999). Opinions of Child Labor Britain USA In the U.S., minimum ages of employment and hours for children laborers are regulated by federal law

16 Factory Conditions for Children in Britain and the U.S. in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries Factory owners preferred using children for some tasks because of their small size. It was more profitable for factory owners to employ children than skilled adults. British factory owners profited by purchasing orphans who worked for very low wages. Lack of sleep and an averaged eighteen-hour work day in Britain and in the U.S. contributed to mistakes and injuries. Some children in Britain and in the U.S. were mentally and physically abused by their supervisors, and their safety was neglected by factory owners who cared more about profit than well-being.

17 Britain USA Child labor still exists today Do you know any children who work? Do you think there is any difference between child labor today and during the Industrial Revolution? labor_395.jpg ve-thru jpg

18 Works Cited Cruickshank, Marjorie. Children and Industry. Manchester: Manchester University Press, Marx, Karl. Das Kapital. Vol. I. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, Nardinelli, Clark. Child Labor and the Industrial Revolution. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, "Were Children Exploited During the Industrial Revolution?" Research in Economic History 2 (1988): Rule, John. The Experience of Labour in Eighteenth Century English Industry. New York: St. Martin's Press, Tuttle, Carolyn. "A Revival of the Pessimist View: Child Labor and the IndustrialRevolution." Research in Economic History 18 (1998):


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