Child Labor

Life in the 1800's by Brittany Hoover

Child Labor Jobs

The drafts took most of the healthy men for military service leaving jobs open for children to work. As early as the 1830s, many U.S. factories employed young children in industrial settings. In rural communities child labor on the farm was common, employment of children in mills and factories which did not cause much concern . Children were often preferred, because factory owners viewed them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. These jobs included factory work . Children as young as four and five could be seen on street corners calling for people to buy their papers. Children also worked in the ammunition factories.

Hours, Food, And Working Conditions

Work days typically ran from dawn to sunset, with longer hours in winter, resulting in a 68-72 hour workweek. Many families lived in company owned houses and were often paid with overpriced goods from the company store. They lived a life entirely dominated by their employers. Young children often endured some of the harshest conditions. Workdays would often be 10 to 14 hours with short breaks during the shift with little food to eat in between shifts. Factories employing children were often very dangerous places leading to injuries and even deaths.

Accidents That Occurred For Child Laborers

Children often worked long hours in dangerous conditions for little money and often accidents occurred. Children's hands and arms would get caught in the machinery and sometimes children would lose one or two fingers. -Fatigue played a big part which caused many accidents.

Punishments

Children often worked long hours in dangerous conditions for little money and often accidents occurred. Children's hands and arms would get caught in the machinery and sometimes children would lose one or two fingers. -Fatigue played a big part which caused many accidents.

Efforts To Improve/Stop Child Labor

Creating new regulations for children in the work place was not a popular endeavor. However, laws that would enforce a minimum working age, prohibit dangerous jobs and working conditions, and establishing maximum number of hours children could work eventually was passed by Congress. It took several years and many attempts but national laws were designed to improve working conditions and regulations for children in the workforce.


Women like Grace Abbott and Jane Addams made great strides in these reformations. Most noted was Lewis Hine for his work in establishing child labor laws. Grace Abbott met with some failures but eventually headed the Children's Bureau and led the campaign for a constitutional amendment limiting child labor. Jane Addams became aware of the working conditions for children when some children refused to take some candy that she offered them as she was receiving a Noble Peace Prize. Jane then worked towards establishing child labor laws. Lewis Hine founded the National Child Labor Committee and began a mission of "promoting the rights, awareness, dignity, well-being and education of children and youth as they relate to work and working."