In 1800, most Americans (94%) worked and lived on farms. After the Civil War, many left the farms to work in factories but the pay was low for men and even lower for women and children (a situation similar to what has been happening in China for the last few decades–this evolutionary transition happened in the US first. Now it is repeating itself in other countries.).
If life was so harsh in the cities and factories, these migrants could have stayed on the farms and I’m sure most would have if life had been better on the farm, but it wasn’t. For a migration of this size to take place means those people were desperate. That many people do not walk away from a good thing to be treated as if they were slaves.
Legally, children as young as age three worked in US factories (this is illegal in China…
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