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How child labourers toiled in America

Last updated on: June 4, 2012 14:39 IST

How child labourers toiled in America

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Child labour was rampant in America during  1876 to 1900. A large number of children worked in hazardous conditions in mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries and small industries during the industrial boom.

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Images, courtesy: Library of Congress




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How child labourers toiled in America

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Workdays would often be 10 to 14 hours with minimal breaks during the shift.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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From cleaning filth from the city's roads to doing more hazardous jobs like working in damp coal mines and glass-factory furnaces, these children risked their lives to make ends meet.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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In 1870, there were 750,000 workers under the age of 15, excluding children who worked for their families in businesses or on farms, according to the Library of Congress.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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By 1911, more than two million American children under the age of 16 were working – many of them 12 hours or more, six days a week.  

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How child labourers toiled in America

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The industrial growth transformed American society creating a wealthy group, leaving hundreds of people extremely poor.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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Large number of families migrated from rural areas to cities hoping for job security and prosperity.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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Many rural families migrated to cities in search of greener pastures.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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However, most of them were disappointed as the jobs demanded long hours and offered little pay.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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Every family member was required to work, even 3-year old kids.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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Workdays would often be 10 to 14 hours with minimal breaks during the shift.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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Many children were afflicted by chronic disease, due to long hours and exposure to hazardous materials.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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Most of the jobs demanded long hours and very little income.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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As a result of this, education was sidelined. Children could not afford to go to schools.

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How child labourers toiled in America

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Many labour unions and social reformers fought for legislations to prevent extreme child labour during that time and finally put an end to this practice.




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