Just thought I'd post one of my dd12's essays to get some feedback. I think she's doing well, but her work hasn't ever been evaluated by anyone but me. Any suggestions or observations welcome. Thanks!
(I did not include her footnotes/works cited because the formatting was wonky on here. They are in the original and used correctly.)
Children of the Industrial Revolution: The Hardest Workers of Their Time
It is a fine morning. The air is warm, the sun is shining, and everything is full of life. It is a perfect day for playing. But where are the children? They are inside of the factories, where they have been working since before dawn. They are toiling tirelessly for money to buy their next meal.
Around 1650, the Industrial Revolution began. It started in England and gradually spread out, until it covered almost all of America and Europe. During this time, new machines were invented and factories became a common sight. As more machines were invented, more workers were needed in factories, and children were fit to do the job. Child laborers could be found in canneries, in coal mines, in textile mills, in glass factories, in cotton fields, in sugar beet fields, and on the streets of big cities. They could be found in England, in Germany, in France, in Belgium, and in America. "As soon as children were old enough to help, they worked alongside their parents." Lots of children worked for more than 12 hours a day. Many of them had mangled or missing appendages from being caught in the machinery. "Their faces are young, but they dress like grown workmen with their jackets and overalls... and they don’t smile," said author Michael Burgan, in regard to a photograph of breaker boys.
There were many reasons for children to work. Families needed money, mills needed small workers, and children could be paid lower wages. "[Glass] factory owners claimed that they couldn’t operate without the labor of young boys, that workers over sixteen were too slow and clumsy to perform the boys' work... [and] cannery owners claimed that all family members were needed, because produce was highly perishable and needed to be canned quickly." However, whether or not a child got a job was dependent on several conditions. If there was no work to be found, if the child's parents did not want him or her to work, or if the child's family was poor could all have an effect. For some jobs, such as coal mining, there was an age limit. However, many families were so desperate, they would lie about their children's ages and have them work dangerous jobs because they needed the money.
Some people thought that so many children endeavoring was wrong. The U.S government created the Federal Children's Bureau in 1912 to keep children from working in the factories, or at least create restrictions. Photographer Lewis Hine took many pictures of children working in factories, fields, and on the streets. He was determined to show people that the children were suffering. Laws were passed. Children had to go to school longer, limiting the time they could spend in the factories. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (U.S) limited the jobs younger children could work. However, progress in America was slow. In England, the Factory Act of 1833 had raised the ages at which children were allowed to work, and limited the hours that they could work. America was 100 years behind England and change was still a long ways away.
Child labor was not some new, horrifying occurrence. For as long as anyone could remember, children had worked. They had helped harvest their father's fields; they had trained under the watchful eye of a blacksmith, or tailor, or cobbler, or butcher, or whoever their mentor happened to be. What made children employed in factories so dangerous and detestable was that the factory owners did not care for the children's health. "'The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from their work,''' said photographer and Activist Lewis Hine. There was also lots of unprotected machinery that could easily rip off an arm, or leg, or even kill a small child.
During the Industrial Revolution, thousands of children were forced to work numerous hours inside factories for money. The jobs there was dangerous and possibly deadly. Because of this, people fought for laws to right these wrongs. These laws are still in place today.