During the Progressive Era child labor was a problem that needed to be addressed. Child labor involved young kids working instead of going to school. The average age of child labor was four to sixteen years old. Many of these kids did not go to school at all. Studies have shown that one-fifth to one-sixth of all children were employed on a full-time basis. Child labor was an important economic factor. One reason for child labor was poverty. Poor children and their families relied on children working in order to improve their chances of attaining basic necessities. Kids worked all day for a low income. Kids usually worked in mine’s, mills, factories, sweatshops, and selling newspapers. In another photo by Lewis Hine there is a young child selling newspapers. This child is on a sidewalk leaning against a light pole. This picture has to do with the problem because this child is young and is not in school. He has a sad face on like he was scared and tired. Child labor is also bad psychosocial because long hours of work on a regular basis can harm children’s social and educational development. (Child labor b, Child labor c)
Kids who worked all day in mines, factories, and sweatshops had many health issues. Miners had rapid skeletal growth, smaller sizes, greater risks of hearing loss, and lower heat tolerance. One quarter of working children’s’ injuries or illnesses occurred while working in unsafe conditions. In the picture by Lewis Hine there is a five year yr old shrimp picker. This child is dirty, bare footed, and is holding two buckets with some shrimp. This child was also wearing ripped clothes. This child can have many health issues due to being dirty and bare foot. There were many hazards of agriculture. These included working with machinery and sharp tools, lack of clean water, facilities and toilets, and work beginning at a very early age. Children who worked in sweatshops usually had injuries because sweatshops were unsafe and crowed places. Children have more of a chance of getting injured then an adult because they are less experienced. (Child labor b, Health issues)
Marry Harris (Mother) Jones got interested in child labor when became a full-time trade-union organizer. She thought that it was wrong. She went to Kensington, Pennsylvania in 1903 were seventy-five thousand textile workers were on strike. Out of all these ten thousand of them were little children. Mother Jones got upset that there were kids missing hands, thumbs, fingers and no one cared or did anything about it. She gathered hundreds of children at Independence Park and started a march. This march known as “March of the Mill Children” was organized to try to end child labor. Newspapers wouldn’t publish what was happening in the mills because the mill owners had stock in the papers. This march was from Pennsylvania to New York City. This march helped the nation to see the crime of child labor. Thousands of children were sent out of the mills and many were not allowed in until they were fourteen. (Jones)
The National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) was formed in 1904 to try to persuade congress to end child labor. One of its members, Jane Adams, reported that there were over two million children under the age of sixteen in paid employment in the United States. She explained that there were five hundred and eighty thousand children between the ages of ten and fourteen who can’t read or write. The NCLC employed Lewis Hine as there lead investigator and photographer. Hine traveled the country taking pictures of children working in factories, mines, sweatshops, and mills. (Child labor c)
The Keating Owen Act was the first law passed by congress. It forbid the transportation among states of products of factories employing children under the age of fourteen, or mines employing children under the age of sixteen and a maximum workday of eight hours, prohibition of night work for workers under the age of sixteen and a documentary proof of age. The Supreme Court ruled that the Keating Owen Act was unconstitutional because congressional power to regulate interstate commerce did not extend to the conditions of child labor. (Labor)
There weren’t many laws against child labor and the laws we had were not enforced. There were age limit laws and safety laws that no one pays attention to.