Hard Work, Weak Pay
The Industrial Revolution
Impacts in Great Britain
Factories used many dangerous machines and factory owners often did not have safety guards to look out for the workers. Workers constantly put their lives in danger when they worked. The lack of windows and large space led to many health hazards, including cancer and many diseases. Children had to do work that adults could not do due to their size. The children were used as a cheap workforce by factory owners.
With the low pay workers received, many workers could barely afford to buy food to eat. In an attempt to benefit the economy to raise wages, many people began to support a Laissez-Faire government. A Laissez-Faire government restricts the government from interacting with the economy in any way. It was not until many people started to reform and many different acts were passed and unions were formed that caused wages to increase after 1830.
Many work and labor acts were passed to reduce work hours, increase wages, and create safer working environments. The 1833 Factory Act set a minimum age for working children to reduce child labor. Children ages 9 - 13 cannot work more than 9 hours a day and children ages 13 -18 cannot work more than 12 hours a day. The Cotton Factories Regulation Act of 1819 regulated work hours and working conditions on children in the cotton industry. This act was much weaker than the 1833 Factory Act, therefore similar acts (such as the 1833 Factory Act) were later passed to enforce the Cotton Factories Regulation Act of 1819.
Impacts on the World
America followed in Great Britain's footsteps and used children as a cheap labor force in many American factories. Workers in America also demanded the same work benefits the British workers were fighting for. The American Federation of Labor was formed 1886 and many of their activists fought for higher wages and better working conditions. After many acts were passed in America, people began to have more stable economies and the population increased due to families having more money.
America and Great Britain, two major industrialized countries, had an increase in wealth and power compared to other countries in the world. This was due to their ability to mass produce many finished goods and successfully trade them to other countries. America and Great Britain gained economic superiority over non-industrialized countries. Non-industrialized nations like Africa, Asia, and Latin America had a decrease in wealth and power in the world.
Many reforms movements occurred in America. These reforms were inspired by the labor reforms in Great Britain. In France, Charles Faurier was the leader of the Socialist movement. In the Socialist movement, the government controls certain parts of the economy. Karl Marx, leader of the Marxist movement, believed that war between social classes, temporary dictatorship, and a classless society will benefit the people economically and politically.