Children During The Gilded Age Essay

Children During The Gilded Age Essay

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The period immediately following the American Civil War is a period often associated with industrialization and sweeping reforms. It is also a period where millions of immigrants made their way to the United States in search for a better life. However, after being pushed to accept poor living conditions and low wages, some families, both domestic and immigrant, were forced to send their children into the workforce just to be able to have enough income to survive. With the presence of children becoming increasingly common in the workforce during this time, things began to decline as far as the conditions they were forced to work in, as well as the rights that they were allowed as workers. Children during the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era faced harsh working conditions, minimal workers rights, and a lack of education all in the interests of their families. Attempts were made on behalf of reformists to get legislation passed improving the conditions for children in the workforce, but none were truly successful until the 1930s. But until that time when legislation was passed, children were huge in the workforce in order to ensure their family’s survival.
Since children spent either most or all of their time at work, little to no time was left in order for them to receive any sort of education. Although receiving and education from a public school system was seen as a good way to incorporate immigrant children into America, most immigrants were only capable of attending school only part time. With such an influx in uneducated workers, certain companies began to take the education of their workers into their own hands. Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) formed the Sociological Department in 1901 in order to improve the lives of their ...


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...n laws, massive inflows of inexpensive immigrant labor, and technological innovations such as the widespread use of telephones instead of messenger boys.” In the year 1870, 739,164 children between the ages of 10 and 15 were employed in the United falling just short of 20 percent of the workforce. Thirty years later in the 1900 census, two million children were working in mills, mines, fields, factories, stores, and on city streets across the United States. Because of such a large portion of the workforce was the initial formation of “the child-saving movement” began and gathered national momentum. As of 1890, only 21 states had enact any sort of legislation regarding child labor including minimum age one is able to work, the amount of time that a child needs to attend school to be able to become employed, or the number of hours that children are able to work.

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