The Industrial Revolution’s factory system was an inadequate experience for laborers thanks to long, taxing working days and the lack of concern towards the personal hygiene of factory workers. The average workday for factory laborers was approximately ten hours, starting at six A.M. and ending at half past five P.M (A Working Day in a Manchester Cotton Mill 155). This was very demanding to factory workers when compared to today’s 9-to-5 workday, which is still considered tedious. Also, the punishments for not meeting the requirements for the workday were very harsh. For the act of being even momentarily late to work, workers were charged twopence, and some factories would even close the gates of the factory, which disallowed workers from going to their job if tardy (A Working Day in a Manchester Cotton Mill 154).
Large, heavy, and dangerous equipment was very common for children to be using or working near. Many accidents occurred in the factories, in some extreme cases children could die from working the machines, breathing in poisons gases or being abused by higher management. The treatment of children in factories was often unpleasant and cruel, and the children’s safety was generally ignored. Both boys and girls who worked in factories were subject to beatings and other harsh forms of pain. It wasn’t till the factory act of 1833 did things start to improve.
Factories were very poor health and safety wise, therefore the child 'slaves' didn't have suitable working conditions, severely affecting their health in short term and long term. Some children signed up for work and were excited to do so, as they didn't know that the factories were so unsafe and they would be overworked and open to exploitation. Dangerous factory machines would often cause injury which was severe if the user wasn't paying attention for a few seconds to their work. Fatalities in factories were also a common event. Some children - usually boys - worked as chimney sweeps.
What attempts were made to improve workers housing in the period 1850-1910? What particular features were considered important to raise living standards? Dreadful living conditions in the early 19th century showed that the life expectancy of the working people was extremely low even though there was growing wealth within trade and commerce. Very poor living and working conditions, a long working day, poor sanitation and little health provisions all contributed to this. With over 35,000 children some as young as 6 years of age sent to work in the cotton mills of which there was over 560.
In the end, there were roughly 10 million Africans shipped as cargo to the United States. The ships carried enslaved young adults, which were predominantly males outnumbering females two to one (Roark, Johnson, Cohen, Stage, Lawson, & Hartman). Younger adults ensured long years of slavery ahead of them, with more men than women for strenuous labor. During the voyage over the Atlantic it was common for 15% or more of the individuals on the slave ships died due to diseases and lack of food and drink. Smallpox and dysentery ran rampant through the ships and such close quarters made it nearly impossible to avoid contracting the diseases.
None of the machines have safety guards. Source B shows an inspection of a nail factory, 1864 where there is ‘sheer carelessness with safety and constant danger of losing a finger.’ Cotton dust got into your lungs and over time you develop a disease called emphysema. Children that crawled underneath the machines would of return with fingers missing or in some cases they would never return. The children were often mistreated and beaten by overseers, two handles of a pound weights screwed to their ears, three of four children were tied or hung on a cross-beam above the machinery, hanging by their hands, and they were often whipped by foot and a half long straps. Many children were tied up to a 28 pound weight to hang down their backs.
Working ten, eleven, even twelve hour days sowing continuously a product they will only receive cents for completing. A nightmare for most here in the United States is a daily routine for many growing up in less fortunate countries. Called sweatshops, these young boys and girls are forced to work in dangerous and unhealthy conditions not because they choose, but simply to survive. Places where recess is an abstract concept, children are denied an education and obligated to work tirelessly for only enough to survive. Out of sight and thus out of mind of many western consumers, these children have been ignored and their exploitation continues.
Many children in the United States between the late 19th century and early 20th century lived in abject poverty; mostly in tenement houses located in urban areas (Child Labor.). Children worked in horrible conditions such as: textile mills, coalmines, flourmills, machine shops, garment factories, tobacco factories, shoe factories, and carpet plants, in order to provide a source of income for their families. Lewis Hine, a New York City photographer, felt strongly about the abuse of children as workers and decided to investigative this for the National Child Labor Committee (Child Labor and Lewis Hine.). Hines used few words and extremely powerful images to educate the American public about the negative effects of child labor. Hine's images of working children stirred America's conscience and helped change the nation's labor laws.
The arrival of factories is opening many doors for women in the working world today. Factories are emerging, and women are dominating the labor forces, making up an outstanding one third of the workforce! Even though most of these women are unskilled laborers, they work quickly and productively yet are paid half or less than half of what men receive. If they are over the age of 14, they could, and most likely will, work 12 hour weekdays and up to 8 hours on Saturdays. Surrounded by dust and dirt, these women are working long hours, in crowded factories, with little food and overall unsuitable working conditions.
Even though advocates against child abuse work diligently every day to put an end to child abuse, it is tragic because child abuse can cause physical and emotional distress along with many other factors and child abuse can lead to developmental issues and detachment from others. In the book “A Child Called It”, Pelzer says he lived a normal and healthy life until his mother became an alcoholic, transformed into a monster, and began expressing her anger on her child at the age of four (Pelzer, 1995, Loc 1344). The physical injury or ill-treatment of a child under the age of eighteen by a person who is responsible for the child’s wellbeing under circumstances, which indicate that the child’s health or wellbeing is harmed or threatened thereby, is the definition of child physical abuse, defined by The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (Newton, 2001). Ethical theory is an idea that helps a person form personal standards to help them differentiate what is morally good or bad. Child abuse within any standard is morally wrong in the eyes of most people.