Work, Children! Work! No Matter What!
The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain during the 1700s. By the early 1800s it began to spread to other parts of Europe and North America. Industrialization had become broad in Western Europe and the Northeastern United States by the mid-1800s. Power-driven machines replaced handwork and many workers were needed. Factories developed as the best way of bringing machines and workers together ("Industrial Revolution"). Many stories have been written about the children of the Industrial Revolution. The novel Lyddie, written by Katherine Patterson, has many true facts that show what conditions really were like for children who worked in the factories in the United States.
During the Industrial Revolution, poor families strived on their children's earnings. When parents worked in the factories the children were sent to work alongside them. If the parents didn't work in the factories the companies would give the money straight to the parents, not the deserving children (Clark).
"Another problem for children was the popular opinion that gainful employment of children of the 'lower orders' actually benefited poor families and the community at large" (Hine).
The children earned lower wages for unskilled jobs than adults would so they were often hired (Clark). "There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profit only to employers. The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from
their work." (qtd. Clark). The companies owned towns with houses where the workers usually lived. Lyddie and all of the other workers she knew lived in boarding houses owned by the companies. The only times they were in the boarding houses was to eat and sleep. At the end of the day the girls could visit each other's...