Child Labor In America

by Christopher Paul on May 28, 2011


It’s probably hard for many of us to imagine how bad working conditions were less than 100 years ago. Before many of the reforming laws that prevented or regulated child labor, kids started working as soon as they could work a tool or pick a plant.

Nowadays, of course, child labor of that caliber is against the law. Statutes vary by state but you generally have to be at least 15 to get paid in an official way and there are strong limits to the times and hours one can work per day or week. If children have health coverage today (some do not), they are covered under their guardian’s plan. But in the early 1900’s there was no such thing and if a child was injured on the job, they could die or be forced to stop working – losing out on their pennies a day rate.

Take a look at these pictures and try to imagine what it was like for an 8 or 10 year old to work 12+ hours a day in the heat picking crops, a mine shoveling coal, or a cotton mill working dangerous looms. Try to imagine how hard it must have been and be thankful that the US has eliminated these working conditions. And try to remember that these conditions still exist in other parts of the world.

AMERICAN CHILD LABOUR C.1900-1937 – How To Be A Retronaut via @matthiasrascher

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