The Market Revolution, Industrialization, and New Technologies

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What are the short-term and long-term effects of child labor during the Industrial Revolution?

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One short-term benefit of child labor in the Industrial Revolution was that goods could be mass-produced even faster with this new labor pool. Industrialists justified not paying children as much by arguing that children were not supposed to be the breadwinners of the household, but they could contribute. Also, children's small hands could better manipulate some of the finer machine parts, and their smaller bodies could get into smaller mines. Industrialists who were willing to use child laborers also had a ready pool of labor should the adults try to organize for better wages, keeping wages low for everyone, which benefitted employers.

There were many drawbacks to child labor as well. Children often did not go to school or they were forced to quit at an early age in order to get jobs. This led to education only being available for upper-class children, thus creating a wealth gap in the United States that would last until well after the period of child labor. Children were also more...

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