Michael Sadler wrote this text. Sadler was the chair of a committee in the House of Commons (Reilley, 1992, p.130). During the early years of the nineteenth century, the effects of the industrial revolution were evident and far-reaching. Europe was experiencing a wave of change and transformation. During this period, Europe was undergoing a metamorphosis through urbanization. In England, factory workers experienced inhumane working conditions and undue oppression from owners of means of production (Reilly, 1992, p.130).
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The indiscriminate oppression of workers created a fertile ground for change and transformation. The need for change prompted Sadler to table a bill in parliament aimed at addressing the plight of minors working in the cloth manufacturing industry. The bill came before a committee of parliament, where Sadler sat in the position of chair. The committee listened and evaluated the evidence brought before it and drafted a list of actions and recommendations regarding the situation. The committees report set the stage for a raft of changes through the Factory Act of 1833. The report regulated working hours and established mechanisms for compliance.
This text is a stark revelation of the conditions encountered by children working in the textile mills. The text is a clear depiction of the inhumane and awful treatment accorded to minors during the era of the industrial revolution. Children spent long working hours with little or no time for rest and rejuvenation. According to Crabtree, working in the textile mills was strenuous and dehumanizing (Reilley, 1992, p.132). He described how they worked for long hours without time for rest.
When business was good, they worked for long hours and did more work for unfair compensation. The children would wake early in the morning and head to the mills. At the mill, there was no room for breakfast. They worked until evening, with one hour of rest at noon. The children received beatings from supervisors at the mills. The beatings aimed at keeping the children active in their work (Reilley, 1992, p.132). However, the beatings had severe effects on the health of children. Many experienced a general state of ill health and malfunction of body systems. For instance, Crabtree had stunted growth, a situation that he attributed to his working in the mills.
He also suffered a lack of appetite. According to him, his appetite failed due to long and strenuous working hours. Whenever they carried packed food to the mills, it spoilt through contamination by wool (Reilley, 1992, p.133). According to the text, parents had a role to play in the issue. They forced children to work in the mills for monetary gain. The conditions in the mills were severe and cruel to the children, considering their age and inexperience at work. The amount of work was not commensurate with the pay they received (Reilley, 1992, p.133). This was the height of exploitation and unfair treatment against children.
This text is very relevant to the issue of industrialization and imperialism. It depicts the unfairness and outright exploitation in the context of industrialization. The text emphasizes on irregular practices by employers whose sole motivation is profiting from underpaid labor. This text depicts the downside of industrialization and working conditions of workers during the industrial revolution. Through this passage, we gain a deeper understanding of challenges that characterized the industrial revolution. The text highlights the delicate and fragile relationship between workers and owners of means of production as they struggle to assert their agenda in the world of business.
Reilley, K. (1992). The Sadler Report of the House of Commons: Readings in World Civilizations. Newyork: St Martin’s Press.