Hard at Work in Factories and Mines: The Economics of Child Labor during the British Industrial Revolution

By Carolyn Tuttle | Go to book overview

2
The Availability of Child Labor

Children had worked during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Parents wanted their children to work for a number of reasons. For many working- class families it was a matter of survival. The children's contribution to the family income provided more food and more coal for the fireplace. For most families it was a necessary step in their child's development. Parents knew their children needed to obtain training in a craft or trade if they were to become independent, self-sufficient adults. For others, it was what society sanctioned. Society believed that the poor and working class must adopt a strict work ethic to climb their way out of poverty and, therefore, a busy child was a "good" child.1 By the end of the eighteenth century, however, and well into the nineteenth century the nature of child labor changed. Children were no longer merely auxiliary workers in a family enterprise; they were essential primary workers in manufactories and mines. Children who had traditionally accompanied their parents to work, now went off to work as independent wage earners. Although children had always worked, the number of children working outside the home seemed to increase dramatically during the period of industrialization. Child labor, moreover, had become a major contributor to the work forces of many textile factories, coal, copper and tin mines. The early rural textile mills imported child labor in the form of parish apprentices. Factories, once located in urban centers, continued to employ a high proportion of children and youths, mostly from families (called "free labor"). The coal mines employed miners' children underground and on the surface while the copper, tin and lead mines used youths mainly on the surface. Why were so many children and youths working in the textile factories and mines during Britain's Industrial Revolution? What sorts of explanations has the literature given for the plethora of children and youths who became independent wage earners?

The literature has offered many different explanations for the increase in the employment of children during the British Industrial Revolution. Historians have identified poverty, greed, parental abuse, large-scale operations, technological innovation and profit maximization as leading culprits for the increase in child labor.

-43-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Hard at Work in Factories and Mines: The Economics of Child Labor during the British Industrial Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 310

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.