Child Labor

Fair Labor Standards Act

Fair Labor Standards Act

Child labor in one form or another has existed in America from our beginning. As the country was mostly agricultural, much of the work involved a family’s farm, or in the case of slaves, on plantations. With the advent of industrialization that began to change. In the early part of the 20th century when the numbers of child laborers peaked, state laws varied but there was a growing resistance to children being employed in the often hazardous work. Reform movements grew and labor standards were

Letter from manager of a department store in New Orleans c1913

Letter from manager of a department store in New Orleans c1913

improved. It also didn’t hurt that child labor reforms were related to the increasing prominence of labor unions. Eventually organizations like the National Consumers Union (est.1899) and the National Child Labor Committee (est. 1904) were established to reform child labor laws.

This culminated in the most sweeping federal law touching on child labor rules with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (Pub.L. 75-718) (FLSA, ch. 676, 52 Stat. 1060, June 25, 1938, 29 U.S.C. ch.8).

The Department of Labor is responsible for overseeing the compliance with the FLSA and also keeps statistics. More statistics/reports can be seen by going to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Prints & Photgraphs division has images taken by Lewis Hine (1874-1940) an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), documenting the working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1924. The collection consists of more than 5,100 photographic prints and 355 glass negatives along with the NCLC records.

Special thanks to our guest author today, Business Reference Specialist Ellen Terrell.

3 Comments

  1. akanksha singh
    June 25, 2010 at 10:38 am

    i truely agree wid ur viewpoint…..and i m quite sure it exists even today…n i want 2 eradicate this practice completely from this world…..

  2. C. Rich
    June 25, 2010 at 11:11 am

    This topic is fascinating and one of the most frequently viewed in the themed teacher resources area of our Teaching with Primary Sources site. http://www.eiu.edu/~eiutps/childhood.php
    The Library’s digitized primary sources, especially the photos, are wonderful tools to help educators engage students in this topic and make it “real”.

  3. treuemax
    July 1, 2010 at 4:45 am

    i truely agree wid ur viewpoint…..and i m quite sure it exists even today…n i want 2 eradicate this practice completely from this world…..

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