Condemning the Innocent Written by: Ahan Shetty March 2, 1801 Life in our factories has recently been
very poor. Research has shown that the average child worker works 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. Is this how we treat our children? Machines are not always fenced off, and the children are being exposed to the many moving parts of the machine while they are working. Children are not supposed be exposed to such dangerous environments, but should be allowed to go out and play and have fun in school. Industries such as the cotton trade are particularly are hard for workers to endure long hours of labor. The nature of the work being done means that the workplace has to be very hot due to the steam engines. Children are very tired and are having a hard time maintaining the speed at which they work.
Since the children can’t work as fast, they are being beaten to make them work faster. Death rates are now rising as children are often employed to move between these dangerous machines as they are small enough to fit between tightly packed machinery. This is placing them in a great deal of danger and death rates are now increasing in the factories. Not all factories are as bad as the factories mentioned above. Factory owner such as Robert Owen and Titus salt are regarded as good employers in this respect. These kinds of people want to change the way factories operate. They have now granted better working conditions and fewer hours for their workers. We interviewed Mr. Robert Owen and asked him a few questions about his factory. “I do not treat my workers the way the other employers do, I treat them with respect and kindness. They need to rest properly in order to work well the next day, this is why I cut down the amount of hours my employees work. I also have given my workers better working conditions, the factories aren’t that hot and the machines are fenced so that the children are not exposed to the machines.”
We interviewed 3 kids from
different factories. We asked each one of them about the working conditions in the factory and about their lives. The 1st child we interviewed was a young boy named Mah Chad, (with his permission) and asked him a few questions about his life. “I barely get time to see my family, whenever I do get to see them, they’re either sick or too tired to talk to me, I get 1 break out of 19 hours of hard work. The factory is hot due to the machines .” The 2nd boy we interviewed was Jonathan Downe , he said “I work at Mr. Marshalls factory at Shrewsbury. If a child is drowsy and tired, the person in charge touches the child on the shoulder and says, "Come here". In a corner of the room there is a bucket with ice cold water water. He takes the boy by the legs and dips him into the bucket, and sends him back to work.”
The 3rd child was John Birley, he said “I was born in Hare Street, London, in the year 1805. My father died when I was two years old. My mother kept us both till I was about five years old, and then she got sick and was taken to the London Hospital. My sister and I were taken to the Bethnal Green Workhouse. My mother died about 2 months ago and we are now staying in the workhouse. We have good food, good beds and are given liberty two or three times a week. We are being taught to read and being treated respectfully and kindly.”
Only 1 out of the 3 kids interviewed is being taken care of properly, the other 2 are suffering the factories they work in. Our government needs to take action and pass laws to protect children. They need to pass on documents and acts preventing child labor, and forcing factory owners to change the atmosphere in the factories, so it is safe for an adult or a child to work in. Children these days have no life, all they are taught to do, is to work. Children work 19 hours a day with 1 break. Children need to go to school, so they can be educated. This will help the children in the future. The kids will grow up independent and won’t rely other as much as they do. They need to take control of their lives. Only we can stop child labor, we need to stand up…. NOW!
Sources : Sites http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/IRpunishments.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_life_during_the_industrial_revolution http://www.schoolshistory.org.uk/IndustrialRevolution/workingconditions.htm
Sources: Pictures http://kindreda.edublogs.org/files/2010/02/blog7.jpg http://formaementis.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/hughestown2.jpg http://www.hist.umn.edu/~sargent/1308/coal%20breaker%20boys.jpeg http://apworldhistorywiki.wikispaces.com/file/view/clothersfactory.gif/167938797/clothersfactory.gif