Topic: Child Labor

Connections to the NYS Social Studies Framework

Social Studies Practice: Comparison and Contextualization

Key Idea: 8.2c Increased urbanization and industrialization contributed to increasing conflicts over immigration, influenced changes in labor conditions, and led to political corruption

Reading Standard: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Compelling Question: How do social conditions determine the role of children?

Historical Context: Child labor became increasingly common through Victorian England, 1837-1901. As cities and factories grew, the demand for laborers fueled the need for child labor. Children were forced to work in filthy and unsafe working conditions. In nineteenth-century New York, child labor was very common in the form of indentured servitude. Legal documents, called indentures, bound a child to a master for a set period of time. These historical records give a detailed account of the conditions under which these child laborers worked. 


Courtesy: Schenectady County Historical Society

Document Analysis

Answer the questions on this document analysis form to analyze the Indenture. 

Read this article about The Children that Lived through the Industrial Revolution.

Compare and Contrast the experiences of Indentured Servants and children working in factories using this Venn Diagram. 

This lesson was created by educator Marissa Gordon through a grant from the Bender Family Foundation.