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Old 12-15-2015, 12:01 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
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Childhood as we think of it now is a pretty recent idea. My great grandmother was married at thirteen, a mother at fifteen, an idea that sounds abhorrent to many today but was commonly accepted a hundred years ago. I'm sure there are many commonly held beliefs we have now that will be thought of as horribly uncouth by future 'more civilized' generations.
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:31 PM
 
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Child development wasn't a "thing" then. We didn't have a clue about how humans develop and it was accepted that children were simply smaller adults, with all of the cognitive abilities as an adult.


And the same can be said for things that still go on today - we've evolved, but there are still some things that some of the population wonders why others haven't caught on to yet. Every time I visit Wal Mart I cringe at the parenting...screaming at kids, slapping a baby's hand...smoking with your kid in the car...
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Florida
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Youre looking backwards through todays eyes and judging, that never works. Rather consider the times BEFORE this era and how children didnt go to school, they lived on their parents farms and helped farm the land. Farmers had kids to help them work the land, farmers prayed to the gods for sons to help them. Over time society changed and children started going to school during the winter. Then school became a year round affair but the kids still helped around the house/farm/family business. They worked to help keep the family going. That slowly over time went away and now kids spend some 20 odd years in school before they ever "lift a finger" per se. Todays structure is actually rather odd.
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Old 12-15-2015, 01:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguydownsouth View Post
Youre looking backwards through todays eyes and judging, that never works.
Again, looking backwards reveals that even in the middle of the 19th century people recognized the evils of child labor as it existed at the time, which is why the movements in nascent industrial countries began enacting laws restricting child labor. When we look back history reveals that in the 19th century these same nations recognized a growing need for children to be in school rather than at work. Yes, the nation has evolved it has evolved because of the growing mechanization of work and the ever increasing need for a highly educated populous, not the belief that children need to be "coddled."

But if it makes folks feel better, here, today, in the U.S. those dreaded anchor babies are working in our agricultural fields at ages as young as eight, because child labor laws designed to allow children to work on the ever disappearing family farm allows them to do so on our modern day industrial farms.
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Old 12-15-2015, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Ohio
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Originally Posted by mariez149 View Post
Were people back then just plain sick in the head?
No, they weren't.

However, people today are incredibly ignorant about the process of Industrialization.

The process of Industrialization requires an extraordinary amount of labor, so much so, that children are needed to work.

The alternative would be for the US and other industrialized States to remain as 3rd World States.

Even today, as developing- and emerging-States industrialize, they are using or have used child labor.
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Old 12-15-2015, 02:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
Childhood as we think of it now is a pretty recent idea. My great grandmother was married at thirteen, a mother at fifteen, an idea that sounds abhorrent to many today but was commonly accepted a hundred years ago. I'm sure there are many commonly held beliefs we have now that will be thought of as horribly uncouth by future 'more civilized' generations.
Exactly. "Child Labor" was the norm to SURVIVE and support kids with NO Birth Control available.

Life was NOT all "Little House on the Prairie" or "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" where the children were allowed to school and play.

In The Appalachin Mountains of Eastern Kentucky, My Great Aunt was born in 1888. SHe was married at 13 to a 16 year old husband, mother at 14, bore 14 children, NEVER learned to read or write. Land was joined at two parcels for them {arranged} to farm, he also worked the coal. He learned to 3rd grade level. She was taught basic "cyphering" {basic addition/subtraction we call it}, so she knew a few numbers to home canned {in Mason Jars} and baked goods and to make change at the store so as to NOT get cheated{very SMALL change-pennies- by today's standard...a DOLLAR was a TREASURE}.

My grandmother was the youngest of 21 children, and bore 11 of her own. She was put to work in the tobacco fields at 5, but WAS allowed to school to 6th grade, so she'd have a "better life". She and my grandfather kept a MULE for transportation! They kept a COW for milk/butter/cheese, a PIG for fattening and LARD {animal FAT}, and CHICKENS for eggs {and the occasional chicken dinner}.They grew a large one half acre garden for food to sustain them in winter and heated the drafty single wall 3 room house with coal also. To have the three rooms was a JOY..the kitchen {coal stove} was on the back porch! To complete the scene...an OUTHOUSE was a regular in the area until the 1970s!!! And water was drawn in a bucket from the dugout well.

"The Walton's" was MORE REALISTIC than LHontP & Dr. Q was. Life was HARDER in the GREAT Depression!

But I wouldn't trade those roots for anything. I LOVED the taste of fresh churned sweet butter from the cow's milk fresh from the cow, and chicken deep fried in LARD. And picking fruits and veggies for dinner and for canning was kinda "fun" for me as a child when I visited down there, but I didn't HAVE to do it to survive!

My own father in the mid west was working at age 8, and worked until 65 from retirement from a fortune top 10 company through hard work, and the GI Bill after Army for college. He NEVER had a Christmas Tree before he married Mother. He got exactly 3 presents at Christmas...underwear, socks, and a "special gift", like a watch one year at age 12. He still has it.

Ah..welcome to the "good old days". Ain't they "grand"?
Thanks for this stroll down Amnesia lane...
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Old 12-15-2015, 02:45 PM
 
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Another perspective: in the past children were cheap labor for parents while today they are expensive education objects. Hence the drop in the birth rate where much richer parents today can afford much less children than their poor ancestors.
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Old 12-15-2015, 02:53 PM
 
2,634 posts, read 2,528,281 times
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Originally Posted by galaxyhi View Post
Exactly. "Child Labor" was the norm to SURVIVE and support kids with NO Birth Control available.

Life was NOT all "Little House on the Prairie" or "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" where the children were allowed to school and play.
I agree with everything except the birth control. In the US the birth rate dropped from near 8 to 3.5 children per woman from 1800 to 1900. This drastic change came about before modern birth control methods were developed or widely available. The main drop in the birth rate came before birth control 8 -> 3.5 and has since dropped only to 1.9ish.
The reason behind this is rather that children today are no longer cheap labor but a huge financial burden for education, potential health care costs etc., at least IMO.
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Old 12-15-2015, 04:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
Childhood as we think of it now is a pretty recent idea.
Only if your view is based upon class. The world of children labor, not unlike today, consisted of education, mastery in music, sports, poetry and the arts and perhaps tending to the marshal arts of the time, manual labor... not so much.

For the poor and working classes, child labor didn't include such things since the work activities of the poor consisted of being bound to trade apprenticeship, children working as coal sorters, weavers and steam engine mechanics, jobs that deformed and poisoned their bodies.

Quote:
My great grandmother was married at thirteen, a mother at fifteen, an idea that sounds abhorrent to many today but was commonly accepted a hundred years ago.
Your family's marriage history was an aberration even at the time. Married couples in the colonial era average 20 years of age and rose to 21 in the post Civil War era.
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Old 12-15-2015, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Carmichael, CA
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We routinely purchase products--today--made by children working in factories in other countries, and no one seems to mind. The factory in China that makes Apple products was nearly a slave-labor camp--employees, mostly all young late teens, early twenties--lived there, their salary was sent to their parents and only the increasing suicide rate caused the factory to make some minor changes. Does it influence anyone's plan to buy an iPhone? Not a bit.


There's a factory in southern California that makes microwave popcorn. It's been known for a good number of years that the artificial butter flavoring causes a fatal lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans--no problem--hire illegals and when they're too sick to work send them home to die. I've seen many news stories about the dying workers--has it slowed sales of microwave popcorn? Not a bit.


So we're still killing workers to get what we want--we're just waiting a few years later to do so. Does that make it better?


As far as marriage age, I've been doing genealogy for a long time--from all the family charts I've seen, there's been a huge range of marriage ages, so there may be a lot of factors involved. If you can't afford to feed all the kids, marrying them off younger may seem like a good solution for all involved. Some married very early after their parents died as a respectable way to get a new home, some very late because they were caring for an ill parent.
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