Child Labor Essay

1286 Words6 Pages
Children were made to work without pay and without their willingness; they were raped, beat, and sometimes killed if they did not work. The definition of child labor is the misuse of children in industries or businesses when it is consider illegal or inhumane. In the late 1900’s 18% of the American workers were under the age of 16. It didn’t matter their age the adults pushed them to their very limits. They had children at the age of 4 working long hard hours. They had the children working so young because they had really small hands and bodies unlike the adults with full grown bodies. Women and children were the ones to support their families because they were way tinier and able to do more than a man was able to in a factory. The ages ranged anywhere from 4 years to 21 and over. The starting age percentage back then was 49.9% and it is now 3.9%. Children 10-13 was 27.9% and is now 25.3%, 14-17 was 10.3% and is now 22.1%, 18-20 was 4.1% and is now 11.8%. These children would work up to 12 hours a day and had little to no breaks. They believed that they didn’t need breaks or that they weren’t doing as good as they were supposed to be doing so they gave those that got them minimal breaks. Some of the jobs they had to do were in dangerous places in the factories. They were in areas where there were toxic fumes and the machinery they had to run all of it was very dangerous and caused many injuries and deaths. The machinery ran so quickly that fingers, legs, and arms could have very easily gotten caught in them. The machines could have caused way more serious injuries if not treated could have infections set in or it could have caused deaths from serious blood loss. The environments that these children were in had fumes and toxins e... ... middle of paper ... ...ent during this period. But the gaps that remained, particularly in the southern states, led to the decision to work for a federal child labor law. Congress passed such laws in 1916 and 1918, but the Supreme Court ended up declaring them unconstitutional. Congress did eventually pass such an amendment in 1924, but the conservative political climate of the 1920s, together with opposition from some church groups and farming organizations that feared the possible increase of federal power in areas related to children, prevented many states from ratifying it. They passed an act called the National Industrial Recovery Act to reduce the use of child labor. They also passed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which in turn for the first time set national minimum wage and maximum hour standards for workers in interstate commerce, also placed limitations on child labor.

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