Historical Context in The Chimney Sweeper
The Industrial Revolution and Child Labor: When Songs of Innocence and Experience was published in 1789, Britain was at the height of the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution is responsible for the advent of steam power, improved methods of transportation, increased use of iron in construction and machinery, the inventions of chemicals and machine tools, as well as countless other innovations. However, this burst of technological advancement was also the source of a great increase in child labor. Parents would sell their children for food. Workhouses would sell children, some as young as four years old, to be “pauper apprentices” who worked for room and board, not wages. The slave-like conditions and abuses caused many children to be gravely injured, even killed, on the job. Although politicians began to make strides against child labor abuses in the 1830s, the use of child labor remained prominent in Europe and the United States until the 20th century.
Historical Context Examples in The Chimney Sweeper:
The Chimney Sweeper🔒
"Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm: So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm...." See in text (The Chimney Sweeper)
"Could scarcely cry “'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!' So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep...." See in text (The Chimney Sweeper)
"When my mother died I was very young, And my father sold me while yet my tongue..." See in text (The Chimney Sweeper)