Child Labor In The United States
Inventions and introductions of machinery were aimed at improving the production rates of any goods as well as simplifying the work load from the workers, as compared to manual labor. However, the simplification factor only seemed to go to the owners of the factories and not the workers working there. Child labor peaked during the Industrialization period, especially in the European countries and also the US.
Declining economic conditions and rising cost of living forced the families to push their children to work in the various industries and the factories, in spite of the meager wages and food provided there. This condition worsened so much that by the end of the year 1890, it was found that almost 19 percent of the total population of children in the US, within the age of 10 to 15 years, were employed somewhere or the other.
Child labor would not have been much of an issue if the working conditions and the jobs assigned to the children were appropriate. The growing children were forced to do dangerous works like cleaning the machines, oiling them, picking up loose raw materials from underneath them while the machines were in motion. They also inhaled lot of toxic gases and fumes at their workplace, which developed various diseases and disorders in their bodies. They were also made to work for inhuman time periods of about 14 to 16 hours at a stretch. All these made them miss schooling when they should have.
With the establishment of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938 that some laws and regulations began to govern the serious problem of child labor in America.
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