Progressive Era And Working Conditions Essay

1020 words - 4 pages

Cities grew in the late 1800s and early 1900s. As specialized industries like steel and meat packing improved, jobs also increased in the cities. These factories work lured former farmers, immigrants, and American workers moved into the cities. These people lived in tenements and ghettos and were unable to earn an authentic living due to unreasonable wage cut. Progressivism is an umbrella label for a wide range of economic, political, social, and moral reforms. The early twentieth century acted as the Progressive Era, when Americans find solutions to resolve problems that were engendered by industrialization. Predicated on the documents, Progressive Era were effective because of child labor, working conditions, and women's suffrage.
Factories were utilizing children to do the hard work. They employed children as young as five or six to work as many as twenty hours a day. According to Document C, children worked in factories to build up muscles and having good intellect in working rather than getting an education. They became a different person rather than conventional children. There were additionally health issues due to child labor: rapid skeletal growth, greater risk of hearing loss, higher chemical absorption rates, and developing ability to assess risks. Progressive Era reformers believed that child labor was detrimental to children and to society. They believed that children should be protected from harmful environments, so they would become healthy and productive adults. In 1912, Congress created the Children’s Bureau to benefit children. The Keating-Owen Act was passed in 1916 to freed children from child labor only in industries that engaged in interstate commerce. However, it was declared unconstitutional since Congress could not regulate local labor conditions. Woodrow Wilson won the election of 1912 and signed into law “Tax on Employment of Child Labor” in 1916. This law placed a ten percent tax on net profits of businesses that employed children under age fourteen or made them work more than eight hours a day. Even though this law was declared unconstitutional later, number of working children between ages ten and fifteen declined by almost fifty percent. On the other hand, there was still some opposition against child labor. As it stated in Document G, a father brought a suit to “enjoin the enforcement of the act of Congress intended to prevent interstate commerce in the products of child labor.” He wanted his sons (one under age of fourteen and the other at the age of fifteen) to continue working in a cotton mill at Charlotte to fortify the family. Nevertheless, Children’s Bureau and National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) worked to end child labor.
During the Progressive Era, large business owners demanded long hours for very little pay. These workers typically worked seven days a week, twelve hours each day, some enduring 24 straight hours of intense labor. After looking closely at Document B, Neill-Reynolds,...

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