Transitions from hand-powered to steam-powered, from boats to trains, and from the countryside to cities occurred (Montagna).
In England and the United States, these industrial advancements greatly impacted the lives of many children.
Children from lower-class families, however, generally joined the workforce.
The Industrial Revolution, generally defined as the time between 1760 to 1850, was the period in which Europe and the United States transitioned to a more industrial way of life.
Childhood did not have the special protective status that it has today, and most accepted the idea of a “cooperative family economy, in which all household members contributed to the material support of the family” (Mintz and Kellogg 88).
Jews and free blacks rejected this idea, however, sensing that education was the way to a better life.
Textiles were so profitable that the factories sometimes ran 24 hours a day, resulting in children as young as six years old working overnight shifts.
The work was exhausting and dangerous—one wrong move could easily crush a hand (Horn 21).
This novel attempts to raise awareness about the lives of London’s forgotten citizens (Priley).
Another prominent bildungsroman of the time was a series of two poems by William Blake, both entitled “The Chimney Sweeper.” Blake wrote them to draw attention to the harshness of child labor by depicting the life of a young chimney sweep. "So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep (Blake).