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Why was there child labor in the 1800's

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Slavery was not abolished until the late 1800's - even though the U.S. was freed in 1776. [Plantations]

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Partly because families were larger and everyone needed to help to support them.

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If you consider the entire world still today many children work in industries like fireworks The problem was at it's zenith during the 18th and 19th century but now Governments have improved conditions drastically.

In USA prior to the CIVIL WAR large no of slaves worked in cotton plantations so cbrewer6 is right.

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Cbrewer-this has nothing to do with slavery. Children in families worked on farms because most people lived in rural areas, hence not enough adults living nearby to help with livestock, crops, etc.

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