Child Labor In The Hetmanate: Risks And Dangers Of Hireling

Keywords: Hetmanate, child labor, hireling, conflict, deviation


The peculiarities of child labor in the Hetmanate are studied in the paper. The main attention is paid to the relations between hirelings under age and masters. That time hiring implied a close «integration» of the hired persons into the employer's family. They often ate together and lived in a limited space of small dwellings, had common home life and rhythm of life. This fact is the basis for the statement that a young hireling could be taken as a «junior» relative. At the same time, the cramped conditions and constant cram of dwellers created incentives for additional strain and proneness to conflicts. In the sources of the Hetmanate, we find many legal cases with the participation of a child-hireling, in which he/she more often was an injured party. Thus, age discrimination was combined with the social status discrimination.

The origin of such discrimination was in relations of obedience and subordination. In the conditions of a patriarchal society, the power of the «elder» had the elements of fatherhood and covered «out-of-work» aspects as well, and the situation was aggravated by the close living together of hirelings and masters. In addition, the important component of the premodern society functioning was physical violence, through which hierarchical relations were also built up and maintained. Numerous court cases show that in such relations all that time bounds were often passed. Such deviations also had a gender feature: the main boys deviations were beatings, young hirelings-girls deviations were rapes. A common, and obviously widespread, problem for all was the refusal to pay. On the other hand, the masters also suffered from the typical children's deeds, such as arson, damage to property, loss of livestock, escape with clothes, etc. Indicating these points, we must take into account the fact that the sources of the early modern period obstinately palming off historians special and less important cases about ideal relations. However, we can learn about certain problems from slips in speaking and indirect evidences of gifts, purchase of clothes, some hirelings were remembered in wills, etc.

How to Cite
Serdiuk, I. (2018). Child Labor In The Hetmanate: Risks And Dangers Of Hireling. Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, 2(3 (23), 23-29. Retrieved from
History of Ukraine