Period 3

The Problem(s)

  • Workers had little choice for jobs.
  • Children worked to survive.
  • Workers did not have holidays or vacations.
  • Workers did not have sick days they had to go to work even if they were sick.
  • If a worker was injured from working he or she would have to pay the doctor bills and also the hospital bills; if he or she died, the business owner hired a new worker.
  • Poor working conditions, many buildings were filled with diseases that got the children sick.
  • Dangerous machinery- children would loose body parts because of the unsafe machinery that they had to tend to.
  • The government didn't support labor unions.

The Solution(s)

  • In 1916, Congress passed the Keating-Owen Act which, for 30 days, prohibited interstate transportation of goods that were produced by companies who employed children under 14 or violated the standards set for 14-16 year old workers. This act tried to discourage child labor.
  • The AFL (American Federation of Labor) was created to represent many workers in different trades. The trade unions were separated by trade and the AFL was a big organization that coordinated large events. The AFL tried to get higher wages, better working conditions and more.
  • Many people and organizations held strikes to stop child labor, help get better working conditions, higher wages, and much more. Unfortunately, these strikes didn’t always work, some actually hurt the cause!
  • Labor Unions were given more recognition and support.

The Images

external image full.jpgOverseers would sometimes say that the child working in the factory had just "come there on their own" or "visting a sibling or family member". external image driver.jpg This young boy is a miner. He works from 7am to 5:30 pm daily. external image furman.jpg This young child works in a factory and says that he wants to learn, but he can't because he works all the time.

The Primary Sources

  • “For many years I have followed the procession of child workers winding through a thousand industrial communities from the canneries of Maine to the fields of Texas. I have heard their tragic stories, watched their cramped lives, and seen their fruitless struggles in the industrial game where the odds are all against them.” – Lewis Hine
  • "Section 1. The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age.
Section 2. The power of the several States is unimpaired by this article except that the operation of state laws shall be suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to legislation enacted by this Congress."- Child Labor Amendment (1924)

The Citations

ABC Clio, American Federation of Labor. from ABC Clio Web site:
ABC Clio, Child Labor Amendment (1924). from ABC Clio Web site:

ABC Clio, Lewis Hine. from ABC Clio Web site:

Green Sheet

The History Place, (1998). Child Labor in America 1908-1912 Photographs of Lewis W. Hine. from The History Place Web site: