In the early American Colonies children were not worth much. In 1641, the General Court of Massachusetts passed the stubborn child law, which stated that if children disobeyed their parents, their lives would have been ended. The Court based its law from the Book of Deuteronomy (21:18-21) of the Old Testament.
Loosely stated, this law says that if a man has a stubborn or rebellious son, 16 or older, and would not obey his father, the parents could take him to court and testify against the son, and such a son's life should end. As recently as 1842, five year olds were made to work 16 hour days in coal mines. Cruelty to animals became a punishable offense in England 60 years earlier than did cruelty to children. In 1874 New York, in order to have a child removed from being abused by her family, animal abuse charges had to be invoked. Little Mary Ellen Wilson was being horribly abused and neglected by her parents, and when the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Crue