“Child labour was customary throughout the history of family agriculture” (Minge-Kalman). This statement is the theme behind both journals and how the exploitation of child labours increased the production in the factories. The comparison of the two articles chosen both touch on the same topic, however they view two different opinions. The first journal written by Wanda Minge-Kalman set more emphasis on the education movement that transpired from the Industrial Revolution.
Whereas the second, by Nicola Verdon touches more on the economics behind industrialism and the employment role that women and children held in technology and agriculture fields and their wages that they held in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Minge-Kalman approaches her topic with fantastic information, making it a smooth and very interesting read. Her arguments were clear and she touched on every aspect of early industrialism to later times. Early signs of child labour were seen during this revolution and children were exploited and forced into adulthood far too early. The treatment of children is discussed in great length.
The fact that it was believed to be fundamental for children to work in fields and factories, is such an unethical view for today’s standards. “Children were employed in the spinning wheels, hiring themselves out from about nine years of age” (Minge-Kalman). Children were leaving home at very young ages to work as servants in upper class homes. The paper notes that not only were children working at very early ages they were also left alone by their mothers for long periods of time and more than often, most infants were drugged to sleep the day away while her mother worked in the fields and factories.
The neglect left the infant mortality rate very high. The author also states that even through slow periods of work, children who left at home with their parents still suffered different ranges of neglect and were cared for with little affection. The main argument in this journal is to show how a new form of family production materialized from the nineteenth century as the compulsory education spilled from the child labour legislation. The paper moves on to describe the birth of a new attitude towards what was important for children how essential an education was and would be.
In the beginning of the industrial revolution , it was apparent to most that the ‘machines’ were going to take a lot of man-laboured jobs, but it was soon also discovered that these very machines would break down and need to be fixed. It is from that theory which began to make it essential for parents to send their children to school to learn such trades. The importance of bettering the future of all children soon caught on and was not discriminated by social class. Once school and higher education was made a priority, it sprouted from the teachings of industry trades to obedience and discipline which also lead to a decrease in youth crimes.
Although the need for education touched different social classes it was a unanimous decision among all to keep their children in school. “The concept of childhood changed so radically” (Minge-Kalman). On the business aspect of what occurred when women and children worked labour jobs and earned wages is the main topic behind Verdon’s article. “The accounts of women’s and children’s contributions to family incomes must be conditional on their occupational and regional identity” (Verdon). Economically structured, this article focuses on the land regions and job types according to what the labour was and what wages were earned.
While it still discusses the pay gross and jobs that were filled by women and children, it does not discuss the treatment of these groups of labourers or the conditions they worked under. The paper focuses on the villages and rural areas these women and children lived and worked from and profits made from season to season. The article concludes with examples of charts and statistics stating the contributions made by the family incomes according to the rural labour and 1834 poor law report.
In comparison both articles were full of informative knowledge, but as a historian I feel more inclined to research information based on feelings and treatment of humans of the past, therefore my favour was behind the child labour article. Bibliography Minge-Kalman, Wanda. “The Industrial Revolution and the European Family: The Institutionalization of ‘Childhood’ as a Market for Family Labor. ” Comparative Studies in Society and History (1978): 454-468. Verdon, Nicola. “The rural labour market in early nineteenth century: women’s and children’s employment, family income, and the 1834 Poor Law Report. ” Economic History Review (2002): 299-323.