The Impact Of The Factory Act Of 1832

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The Factory Act of 1833 was the first major legislation restricting the use of child labour in British textile factories. There had been previous reforms starting in 1803, however these attempts did not achieve much success. The Factory Act was the first act to introduce a ten hour work day for children under thirteen. More importantly, it created a system of inspectors to enforce the regulations. This was a significant reform that majorly affected the policies of textile factories. These reforms were very restricting, and inevitably caused many negative reactions from people in the textile industries. Nassau W. Senior was struck with one such negative reaction. Senior was a lawyer specializing in economy and society. He was inspired to write …show more content…
This was a time of major change for Great Britain. The industrial revolution was just coming to an end, and slavery had just been abolished in 1833. Human rights issues were being addressed thoroughly in the government. Human right change then went to the child laborers. In the letters Senior was writing, he attempted to encourage the President of the Board of Trade to not allow any more reform in the legislature regarding child labour. Seniors letters use arguments and evidence that focus on the cotton industry. His initial letter attempts to explain and justify the long work days in the cotton factories. The proceeding letter outlines the negative impacts the Factory Act has already had on the cotton industry. In his final letter, Senior has encountered rumours that more stringent legislature is to be passed. He argues as to why this is a bad idea, and then outlines the consequences of further reform. When studying the legislative reform restricting child labor, an opposing argument uncommon to see. However these arguments were probably quite prevalent in the 1830s. It is important to examine this side of the argument to fully understand society’s views of child labor, and how this change in human rights policy affected …show more content…
However, he fails to entertain arguments of an opposing view. His arguments are well constructed, with satisfactory support. In his first letter, Senior uses his obvious knowledge of the cotton manufacturing business to provide evidence for his argument against further reform to the Factory Act. He also makes an acceptable argument for the easiness of work in cotton factories, using his own experiences for support. In the second letter, Senior is outlining the detriments to the system cotton manufacturers are currently using with children only working 8 hours. After he speaks to these drawbacks, Senior mentions, somewhat in passing, the positive aspects of an 8 hour work day. Senior thinks that the only thing to gain from this is that children “are better educated and have less fatigue”. Senior continues on to admit that “as to the value of this gain, however, as far as education is concerned, I am sceptical.” Senior is a well of information when it concerns his argument, however, his letters lack content of the views opposing his. This imbalance of information adds to the bias of his

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