Russia’s Factory Children
State, Society, and Law, 1800–1917
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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This study was first undertaken at Auburn University. I am grateful to all members of the Auburn University History Department, who helped me enter the profession and gave me intellectual support and stimulus. I carried out preliminary research on the topic of child labor in Moscow and St. Petersburg with the help of generous travel grants...
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The passage from Nekrasov’s poem captures the harsh realities of child labor in nineteenth-century Russian factories.¹ Child industrial labor outraged many great writers of the era, including Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.² A late nineteenthcentury observer wrote that in order “to see the conditions of children in...
1. Origins of Child Industrial Labor
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Child labor in Russia was hardly a product of late nineteenth-century industrialization. Children’s engagement in productive activities had existed well before modernized factories began to appear in Russia’s primarily rural landscape. From time immemorial, children had worked in agriculture, as well as in cottage industries and all other types of...
2. Children in Industry: Demographic and Social Context [Includes Image Plates]
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Great changes occurred in the Russian economy during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. By 1850, a new capitalist mode of production had begun to challenge traditional manufacturing systems. Manorial and state factories showed signs of continued decline,¹ whereas free market enterprise began to expand rapidly.² The largest children’s...
3. Public Debates and Legislative Efforts
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As noted earlier (see chapter 1), during the early nineteenth century, most state officials perceived child labor as a normal practice essential for the upbringing and education of children. Prominent statesmen and public figures, such as N. S. Mordvinov and P. S. Nakhimov, viewed child labor as morally justified and useful. During the...
4. Factory Children: Politics, Education, and the State
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The long public discussion of the 1860s and 1870s about child labor in industry finally yielded the 1882 law, the first decisive act to restrict the industrial employment of children. The following years and decades witnessed the introduction of labor protection and welfare legislation concerning all industrial workers. Starting with the 1882 law, the...
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Child labor in imperial Russia has been an obscure page in the nation’s history. Historians have usually failed to note the considerable number of children in the country’s industrial workforce and, consequently, the surprisingly large role they played in Russia’s industrialization. Youngsters had been involved in productive work long...
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Page Count: 228
Illustrations: 6 b&w illustrations
Publication Year: 2009