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Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society:: National GalleryLondon, Great Britain. It is tempting to assume that the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century was a disaster for children.
Yet even in the British case this was a very partial reflection of reality. The young factory operative or the slum child was the exception rather than the rule during the nineteenth century. In the first place, industrialization was a slow and protracted process that affected different regions of Europe in a number of ways.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, a core of western European nations began to industrialize, with Britain leading the way, followed by Switzerland, Belgium, France and Germany. This left a huge periphery of backward regions which had barely begun the process.
Similarly, the massive urbanization characteristic of modern society only began in earnest around the middle of the nineteenth century in most of Europe, the exceptionally precocious British case apart.
Even within the more developed western "core," important regional differences were much in evidence. This meant that in Britain, and more so in continental Europe, small islands of modern industry were surrounded by a large sea of "pre-industrial" forms.
Second, industrialization brought benefits as well as misery to the people of Europe, though how this panned out for individuals depended on such influences as class, gender, and region.
If the factories and sweatshops blighted the existence of some young people, the wealth they created would eventually release many others from the need to work at all.
Mass immigration to the towns may have swamped basic facilities such as housing and schools for a while, but in the long term urban civilization proved favorable to medical, educational, and cultural advances.
In short, any account of the impact of industrialization on children in Europe must take account of continuity as well as change, of material and cultural advance as well as poverty, and, bearing in mind the massive social inequalities persisting through the period, of winners as well as losers.
Work, Play, and Education People in the West now take it for granted that the children should be free from adult responsibilities—notably the need to earn a living—so that they can develop a healthy body, complete their education, and have time for PLAY.
However, this type of "long" childhood, quarantined from much of what goes on in the world, is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Until mass schooling began to make an impact during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most young people in Europe gradually moved into the world of adults at an early stage in their lives.
This latter approach was not without its advantages, avoiding the more modern tendency to infantilize the young.
It certainly involved a very different balance in everyday life between time spent at work and time passed on the school benches. Children in preindustrial Europe gradually drifted into work from around the age of seven or eight. Much of their labor was casual and undemanding, for they were not strong enough to take on most of the tasks required on a farm or in a workshop.
It was only when they reached their teens that they began the more serious business of an apprenticeship in a trade or work beside adults. In the meantime, they often occupied themselves with simple but time-consuming jobs, such as caring for younger siblings or running errands, which released adults for more productive labor.
Girls in particular looked after younger children for their mothers or earned a few pence minding a baby for another family.
On the farms children helped by picking stones from fields, scaring birds from crops, minding pigs and sheep, and similar work appropriate to their size and experience.
In the towns they might start work in some of the lighter trades, such as making clothes, manufacturing nails, or doing deliveries. Many also tried their luck on the streets, sweeping crossings for pedestrians, performing tricks, or cleaning shoes. Some of this work required long, lonely hours out in the fields or TABLE 1 on the streets, not to mention facing rain, mist, and cold winds during the winter.
Tiennon, hero of the peasant novel The Life of a Simple Manrecalled time hanging heavily as he watched his flock in the Bourbonnais region of France during the early nineteenth century: Sometimes fear and sadness overtook me, and I started to cry, to cry without reason, for hours on end.
A sudden rustling in the woods, the scampering of a mouse in the grass, the unfamiliar shriek of a bird, that was enough during these hours of anxiety to make me burst into tears.
At the same time, it was often possible to lighten the load by combining work with play.Revolution and the growth of industrial society, – Developments in 19th-century Europe are bounded by two great events.
The French Revolution broke out in , and its effects reverberated throughout much of Europe for many decades. World War I began in Its inception resulted from many trends in European society, culture, and diplomacy during the late 19th century. The Arrival of Widespread Industrialization in Western Europe During the Eighteenth Century.
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Start studying APWH Chapter Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Search. England in the eighteenth century, that resulted from the use of steam engines, the mechanization of manufacturing in Britain had a more fluid society than the west of Europe during the majority of the 18th century.
The Arrival of Widespread Industrialization in Western Europe During the Eighteenth Century PAGES WORDS 3, View Full Essay. More essays like this: 18th century, industrialization, western europe, modern factory system.
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