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Industrial Revolution: Relief And Reform

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During the Relief and Reform portion of the Industrial Revolution, some efforts were made to ease the worst conditions of the time. Many thought the condition of the poor deteriorated even through the wealth of the middle and upper classes increased during this period of time. Something needed to be done to decrease the economic distress and psychological hardships of the poor. So, in 1802, the English Factory Acts were written. These consisted of a series of rules and guidelines limiting the hours laborers could work in factories and mines. The acts were more focused on women and children. The acts also set a rule that children must attend school two hours each day, but the lawmakers didn't pay for the children to attend school. Finally, in 1874, a ten-hour work day for men was enforced. Then, in 1834, the New Poor Law made anyone receiving help or monies from the government live in a workhouse that compared well with a prison. Ultimately, the poor hated the workhouses and feared taking their families there at all. Although the English Factory Acts ultimately limited working hours for men, women, and children to physically reasonable, the acts neglected to pay for the children of the time to go to school for the two hours a day it required them to. The New Poor Law solved few problems for the poor other than making them fearful of the workhouses.

The Relief and Reform era brought about more humane and limited working hours for the poor, but many issues of the poor at the time remained unsolved.



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