Richard Oastler on the Industrial Revolution of England

Author: Richard Oastler was born in England in 1789. He became well known for his work to improve the working conditions of the lower class (especially children). Oastler struggled at different points in his life to keep his property, he found that he was not able to make enough money to pay his rent despite working.
Context: In 1830 Richard Oastler wrote a document known as “Yorkshire Slavery”, he was writing during the midst of the Industrial Revolution of England. As farmers moved from the countryside into the cities of England there was a sudden boom in cheap labor resources. This boom allowed entrepreneurs to pay people almost nothing to work in factories which had no workers rights priorities at all. In order for a family to survive off of the wages offered at these factories most of the time the entire family had to work; “the entire family” included the children.
Language: Oastler wrote “Yorkshire Slavery” in order to help the people of England realize that they should not have to endure the horrors that they did in the factories for the amount of money they were making. The language in his piece is persuasive and explanatory, and the prose are simple enough for the common man.
Audience: Oastler was writing for the working class in England at the time, he kept his writing clear and persuasive for his audience.
Intent: The intent of this piece appears to foremost be education. He wants to educate the people of England of the problems in their labor system. Secondly, Oastler appears to want to persuade people that the conditions that they are living in are not the conditions that they must live in. If they take action things can, in fact, change. He actually became part of the change when a movement he helped run lead to the “Ten Hours Act”.
Message: Oastler’s message is quite clear, the working class of England is suffering under unfair circumstances. Possibly the most powerful part of his message is that the children of England are being trampled the worst in the new industrial system. They are being taken advantage of and cannot defend their rights on their own. He also makes a point of how child labor is ripping apart the families of England and it is not healthy for the country. Oastler’s message is that it is time for change.
Why did Oastler bother? Oastler appears to believe that there could be change to the industrial system of his time. He saw first hand the affects that it had on the families and children who had been been subjected to the terrors of the factories. Their stories appear to have inspired him to take action for change.

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