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Evidence about Factory Conditions - From what William Cobbett wrote.

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Evidence about Factory Conditions 1) From what William Cobbett wrote about the conditions in factories, it makes the factories seem almost like some hell on earth. The tone he uses makes him sound angry and hateful, putting across an extremely strong opinion. The language he uses makes it seem as though factory work is slavery, and the words and metaphor he uses make the workers sound like tortured prisoners. For instance, the phrase "these creatures are kept, 14 hours a day, locked up summer and winter in a heat of 84 degrees" makes the workers sound like they are some sort of mutation, and brings your attention to the fact they are treated like animals, or so his language puts across. The way he describes them as being "locked up" makes them sound as though they are kept like prisoners, and telling us how they worked in a heat of "84 degrees" begins to build up an impression of a burning, hot, sweaty, hell-like place. He also says, "Can any man refrain from cursing a system that produces such cruelty and slavery?" The tone of voice he uses makes him sound angry, and completely against factories. It also gives the impression that factory workers are treated like slaves, something England was campaigning very much against during this period. He also tells us the factories system produces "cruelty". ...read more.


3) As Robert Owen was a factory owner, who would have wanted to give a good impression of himself and the conditions in his factory, this source might not be reliable. He would have wanted to make his factory sound excellent, and make himself sound even better, so he may have biased the source so it presented such an image. His audience would also have been educated people, so he would have wanted to give a good impression so that he was thought highly of. However, Owen would have been alive at the time, meaning he would have known what the conditions were like. He would be the one controlling the conditions in his factory and the treatment of his workforce, so he would know all the rules, wages, shifts and procedures inside his factory very well. Also, it is very likely Owen would have actually been inside his factory, meaning he would have also seen the conditions for himself. He also tells us that, when the cotton supplies failed for four months, he "paid full wages for only keeping the machinery in full and working condition". He would have known whether this had actually happened, as he controlled the wages and conditions, so his evidence would be first hand, rather than hearing it from someone else. As this is an autobiography, however, and not some document giving evidence to authorities, Owen would not have had that large a reason to bias his source. ...read more.


The language children used wouldn't have been that elaborate, so the authorities might be able to tell if a child had been told what to say by the language they were using. Also, some children's views on the conditions may not have been that strong, as it have been the only conditions they had ever known, and therefore appear fairly normal to them. The tone that a child spoke in wouldn't necessarily give many clues about whether their source was bias or not, although if they had been told what to say, the tone they speak in may not quite match up with what they are saying. This could also tell us that the source is bias. With evidence where there could be bias, it is difficult to reach a final conclusion, as the evidence could be telling us the wrong things, or things that have been altered. This means the conclusion we come to may be inaccurate. However, sources from the time are more likely to be accurate than sources written today, as modern historians wouldn't have been there to see what happened, and their information could also be based on sources from the time. Overall, there are many arguments about how sources from children could be unreliable, but it could be difficult to tell which are and which aren't. Unreliable evidence can also draw us to a misled and inaccurate conclusion. ...read more.

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