Child Labor and the Industrial Revolution

Thesis: Child Labor strengthened the Industrial Revolution by providing countless workers for cheap and strenuous labor.

Section 1: Dated Source

04610r

This primary source article was written in Pennsylvania and comments on new Child Labor laws created in order to regulate child labor and increase school attendance. Child labor was so heavily involved in the Industrial Revolution that new laws had to be made in order to set limits on this tremendous source of labor. This dated source helps support my thesis that child labor provided countless workers for cheap and strenuous labor; so much so that child labor laws were needed.

Section 2: Image, Words, Maps

00753r

This second primary source photograph was taken in Baltimore Maryland. You can see based on the photograph that his load of cans looks relatively heavy for a boy of his size and he is not wearing shoes. This photograph helps support my thesis that child labor helped strengthen the Industrial Revolution by providing countless workers for cheap and strenuous labor. This picture provides a perfect example of one of the countless child workers involved in cheap and strenuous labor during the Industrial Revolution.

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The last example of a primary source was this article that highlighted a speech given by Florence Kelly on child labor and women’s suffrage. The article highlights some of Kelly’s main points in her speech. Kelly shared the harsh realities of child labor like long hours, little pay and dangerous working conditions. I also managed to obtain the full speech told by Florence Kelly in Philadelphia during 1905. I used her speech as a historical text to analyze using Voyant tools.(Analysis of text here) The most frequently used words throughout her speech included “children”, “night” and “work”. These common words illustrate the theme and main topics of her speech. Based on these findings, this speech made by Florence Kelly supports my thesis that child labor strengthened the Industrial Revolution by providing child workers for cheap and strenuous work. Even though child labor helped the Industrial Revolution, this down not mean that child labor was the best solution for the Industrial Revolution. Florence Kelly’s speech highlighted the fact that child labor strengthened the Industrial Revolution but with many unintended and overlooked consequences.

w68_uk_industrial_rev

Although this map is of Great Britain, child labor was still a very commonly used practice in places other than the United States. This map supports my thesis by showing the major resources and products produced during this time period that were no doubt preformed by a majority of child laborers. Coal mines and cotton gins were popular places of work for children during this time period and it was the cheap and strenuous labor that they provided that strengthened the Industrial Revolution.

Section 3: Numbers, Social Media

This URL brings you to the Gapminder tool.Using the Gapminder tool, I wanted to focus on number of children per woman and income per person. If you look closely between 1800 and 1870, income increases in the United Kingdom while number of children stays the same. This could explain that during the Industrial Revolution, the more children you had to work, the more money the family could make. This tool helps support my thesis by highlighting the fact that an increase in child labor helped strengthen the Industrial revolution and the economy. The families with children during this time helped provide countless workers for cheap and strenuous labor.

This link provides a social media source on child labor during the Industrial Revolution. My last secondary source comes from a youtube video entitled Sound Smart: Child Labor in the Industrial Revolution published by the History Channel. In this video narrated by historian Yohuru Williams, discussed the benefit that employers saw in hiring child laborers during the Industrial Revolution. Williams explains how child labor did not see an end until the onset of the Great Depression so that adults could have adequate labor. This explanation supports my thesis that child labor strengthened the Industrial Revolution by providing countless workers for cheap and strenuous labor.

Citation:

  1. Time (a dated source): Hine, Lewis Wickes. “Newspaper Comments on New Child Labor Law in Penn. Location: Pennsylvania.”Accessed December 02, 2016. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/nclc.04610/.
  2. Images (a picture): Hine, Lewis Wickes. “One of the Small Boys in J. S. Farrand P[ac]king Co. and a Heavy Load. J. W. Magruder, Witness. Location: Baltimore, Maryland.” One of the Small Boys in J. S. Farrand P[ac]king Co. and a Heavy Load. J. W. Magruder, Witness. Location: Baltimore, Maryland. Accessed December 02, 2016. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/nclc.00753/.
  3. Words (voyant analysis of text): “Florence Kelley “Child Labor & Women’s Suffrage” Transcript.” Florence Kelley “Child Labor & Women’s Suffrage” Transcript. 2016. Accessed December 13, 2016. http://www.speeches-usa.com/Transcripts/florence_kelley-childlabor.html.                                      http://voyant-tools.org/?corpus=5fdfa14f9440558be06d35afc7434846
  4. Maps (GIS Map): “A Close up Map of Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution.” A Close up Map of Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution ~. Accessed December 02, 2016.                                     http://historyproject401.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-close-up-map-of-great-britain-during.html.
  5. Numbers (stats about topic): www.bit.ly/2h3WUMv
  6. Social Media (post about topic): Historychannel. YouTube. 2016. Accessed December 13, 2016.                                                                                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejc8oDOcN_o&list=PL-X0NrW_kj-26sFauzQRzzXUJzk8iUMsb.

 

 

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