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history of child labour

This article discusses the use of child labor in the United States, concentrating on the period after the Civil War through the rise of the child labor reform movement. The chieftain was given a tour of the modern city of New York. I go at 4 and sometimes half past 3 in the morning and come out at 5…I never go to sleep. 38 Wood, “Emancipating the child laborer,” p. 69. I have to work without a light and I’m scared. The last and most comprehensive of which was the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. Here is how you know. In some areas…. In rural areas, children as young as five or six joined women in 'agricultural gangs' that worked in fields often a long way from their homes. He observed the comfortable masses gathered in amusement at the circus and the poor huddled in tenements. It is not possible for a man who has been working on a farm, who is an adult—after the age of 21 years, for instance—to become a skilled employee in a cotton mill. Even children too young to work were viewed as an investment in the future productive capacity for the mill. Farming allowed self-sufficiency, whereas manufacturing caused a reliance on others and created an economic hierarchy. Listen to illustrator Joel Millerchip discussing the passage of Great Britain's 1833 Factory Act, an event he was commissioned by Parliament to commemorate with a banner in 2015. This practice helped fulfill the Jeffersonian ideal of the yeoman farmer.22 Child labor also served the Hamiltonian commercial vision of America, by providing increased labor to support industry.23 In accordance with this vision, Alexander Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury, noted in a 1791 report on manufacturing that children “who would otherwise be idle” could become a source of cheap labor.24, Around the same time, the influential Niles’ Register (a national newsweekly magazine) noted that factory work was not for able-bodied men, but rather “better done by little girls from six to twelve years old.”25 Industrialists viewed progress as having machines so simple to operate that a child could do it.”26 This labor was perceived as beneficial not only to the child but also to the public as a whole. During the rest of the time, the boy sat in dark idleness next to the door.63 Although less monotonous, the job of the breaker boys was likely more dangerous. 99 Lumpkin and Douglas, Child workers in America, p. 60. However, in the period immediately following the Civil War, “free labor” was not always clear when recently freed slave children and some immigrant youths were considered. This changed with industrialisation. This pact ensured that planters remained in control of the rural black labor supply.70 Some early historians believed that the altruistic motive of helping the white children avoid idleness was the mill owner’s primary purpose in operating the mills. Usually the boys started as doffers and sweepers while the girls were spinners.84 Doffers replaced the full bobbins filled by spinners with empty ones and often had hours of free time in between their required tasks at the mill.85 These tasks were usually seen as children’s work, whereas other heavier work, such as oiling machinery, was seen as “men’s work.” In the mill, as in most other factory industrial settings at the time, work appropriate for children was clearly differentiated from work seen as appropriate for adults.86 Although mill supervisors oversaw the children who performed these child-appropriate tasks, they were often reluctant to discipline the children. 21 Ruth Wallis Herndon and John E. Murphy, “A proper instructive education: raising children in pauper apprenticeship,” in Ruth Wallis Herndon and John E. Murphy, eds., Children bound to labor: the pauper apprentice system in early America (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2009), p. 4. 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