A competitive model of the labor market for children has been used to examine the factors that influenced the demand for children by employers and the supply of children from families. A Revival of the Pessimist View: Child Labor and the Industrial Revolution. Research in Economic History 18 (1998): 53-82. Whatever the reason for the increase in supply, scholars agree that since mandatory schooling laws were not passed until 1876, even well-intentioned parents had few alternatives. Children who were helpers in the family business received training in a trade and their work directly increased the productivity of the family and hence the familys income. The term child labor generally refers to children who work to produce a good or a service which can be sold for money in the marketplace regardless of whether or not they are paid for their work. Using data from an early British Parliamentary Report (1819[HL.24]CX), Freuenberger, Mather and Nardinelli concluded that children formed a substantial part of the labor force in the textile mills (1984, 1087). London: E. J. Hobsbaum, 1969. The University of Iowa.History of Child Labor in the United States. See below. A picture was painted of the dark satanic mill where children as young as five and six years old worked for twelve to sixteen hours a day, six days a week without recess for meals in hot, stuffy, poorly lit, overcrowded factories to earn as little as four shillings per week. The Cornish Miner: An Account of His Life Above and Underground From Early Times. Most students have praised the Factory Acts for leading to the decline of child labor, thereby improving the welfare of children. Children and youth also comprised a relatively large proportion of the work forces in coal and metal mines in Britain. For terms and use, please refer to our Terms and Conditions 1980 Economic History Association In the 105 mines that employed child labor, children comprised from as little as 2% to as much as 50% of the work force with a mean of 20% (Lemon, 1838). Finally, others claim that it was the advances in technology and the new heavier and more complicated machinery, which required the strength of skilled adult males, that lead to the decline in child labor in Great Britain. He was just 13 years old. Education underwent reforms, too.
Nardinelli, Clark. ), Industrial Revolution Child Labor - Questions and Key (8 Pages), Industrial Revolution Child Labor - PowerPoint with Cloze Notes (64 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution in the USA - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (74 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Impacts - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (62 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Causes - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (44 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Working Conditions - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (36 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Why Britain Was First - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (54 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Living Conditions - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (30 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Inventions and Inventors - PowerPoint with Notes Copy, where the Industrial Revolution first began, Britain was the first country to industrialize, https://www.historycrunch.com/child-labor-in-the-industrial-revolution.html#/. This item is part of a JSTOR Collection. They argue children had a comparative advantage with the machines that were small and built low to the ground as well as in the narrow underground tunnels of coal and metal mines. 1849XXII Mines and Collieries, Mining Districts. The Philosophy of Manufactures. Booth calculated there were still 58,900 boys and 82,600 girls under 15 employed in textiles and dyeing in 1881. Photo: Lewis Hine. From 1902 to 1915, child labor committees emphasized reform through state legislatures. Children were ideal employees because they could be paid less, were often of smaller stature so could attend to more minute tasks and were less likely to organize and strike against their pitiable working conditions. Sometimes children workers were orphans who had little choice but to work for food. Educational materials containing more information on Child Labor in U.S. History and Causes of Child Labor, including Workshop MaterialsCore Workshop on Child Labor and K-12 Teachers Materials, are available through this web site. App. These two seemingly contradictory claims can be reconciled because the labor market for child labor was not a national market. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. Before the Civil War, women and children played a critical role in American manufacturing, though it was still a relatively small part of the economy. By then, American children worked in large numbers in mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, home industries, and as newsboys, messengers, bootblacks, and peddlers. Although the debate over whether children were exploited during the British Industrial Revolution continues today [see Nardinelli (1988) and Tuttle (1998)], Parliament passed several child labor laws after hearing the evidence collected. R. Com. Britain passed one of the first child labor laws in 1833. Webb, Sidney and Webb, Beatrice. In effect, the employment of children under sixteen years of age was prohibited in manufacturing and mining. Ure (1835) and Clapham (1926) argued that the work was easy for children and helped them make a necessary contribution to their familys income. The Statistics of the Copper Mines of Cornwall. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society I (1838): 65-84. XLIX (1886): 314-436. House of Commons Papers (British Parliamentary Papers): A General View of the Rural Economy of England, 1538-1840. The Experience of Labour in Eighteenth Century English Industry. Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1800. .
Many states increasing the number of years of schooling required to hold certain jobs, lengthened the school year, and began to more strictly enforced truancy laws. Child Labor and the Factory Acts. Journal of Economic History. Workshop MaterialsCore Workshop on Child Labor. 1834 (167)XX Factories, employment of children. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. well-being and health, 1836 Early trade unions propose state minimum age laws, Union members at the National Trades Union Convention make the first formal, public proposal recommending that states establish minimum ages for factory work, Massachusetts requires children under 15 working in factories to attend school at least 3 months/year, 1842 States begin limiting childrens work days, Massachusetts limits childrens work days to 10 hours; other states soon pass similar lawsbut most of these laws are not consistently enforced, 1876 Labor movement urges minimum age law, Working Mens Party proposes banning the employment of children under the age of 14, 1881 Newly formed AFL supports state minimum age laws, The first national convention of the American Federation of Labor passes a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment, Led by Samuel Gompers, the New York labor movement successfully sponsors legislation prohibiting cigar making in tenements, where thousands of young children work in the trade, 1892 Democrats adopt union recommendations, Democratic Party adopts platform plank based on union recommendations to ban factory employment for children under 15, 1904 National Child Labor Committee forms, Aggressive national campaign for federal child labor law reform begins, 1916 New federal law sanctions state violators, First federal child labor law prohibits movement of goods across state lines if minimum age laws are violated (law in effect only until 1918, when its declared unconstitutional, then revised, passed, and declared unconstitutional again), 1924 First attempt to gain federal regulation fails, Congress passes a constitutional amendment giving the federal government authority to regulate child labor, but too few states ratify it and it never takes effect, Walsh-Healey Act states U.S. government will not purchase goods made by underage children, 1937 Second attempt to gain federal regulation fails, Second attempt to ratify constitutional amendment giving federal government authority to regulate child labor falls just short of getting necessary votes, Sugar Act makes sugar beet growers ineligible for benefit payments if they violate state minimum age and hours of work standards, 1938 Federal regulation of child labor achieved in Fair Labor Standards Act, For the first time, minimum ages of employment and hours of work for children are regulated by federal law. The most common explanation for the increase in supply is poverty the family sent their children to work because they desperately needed the income.
Pittston, Pa. In what would be one of the deadliest labor-management conflicts in the nations read more, Today many Americans see Labor Day as time off from work, an opportunity to enjoy a barbecue with friends and family and a final moment of summertime relaxation before the busy fall season begins. It grew in size and prominence in the early days of the American labor movement from the mid-to-late-1800s and played a key role in the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. 1857-58XXXII Mines and Minerals. Several states established a minimum wage for labor and requirements for school attendancethough many of these laws were full of loopholes that were readily exploited by employers hungry for cheap labor. New York: St. Martins Press, 1981. Despite the First Factory Act of 1802 (which attempted to improve the conditions of parish apprentices), several mill owners were in the same situation as Sir Robert Peel and Samuel Greg who solved their labor shortage by employing parish apprentices. Many laws restricting child labor were passed as part of the progressive reform movement of this period. Commissioners rep. Jenkin, A. K. Hamilton. Given the role of child labor in the British Industrial Revolution, many economic historians have tried to explain why child labor became so prevalent. . The opponents of child labor sought a constitutional amendment authorizing federal child labor legislation and it passed in 1924, though states were not keen to ratify it; the conservative political climate of the 1920s, together with opposition from farm and church organizations fearing increased federal power over children, acted as roadblocks.
Although child labor has been significantly stalled in the United States, it lingers in certain areas of the economy like agriculture, where economically impoverished migrant workers are more difficult to regulate. As industrialization moved workers from farms and home workshops into urban areas and factory work, children were often preferred, because factory owners viewed them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. The Town Labourer, 1760-1832. Child Labor in U.S. History. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, recommended child labor as a means of preventing youthful idleness and vice. New York: Vintage Books, 1966. She calculated that children under 13 comprised roughly 10 to 20 % of the work forces in the cotton, wool, flax, and silk mills in 1833.