Labor in Ewen Breaker of the Pennsylvania Coal Co.

In South Pittson, 1908, numerous young boys (pictured above) are working hard in awful conditions down in the mines. Their lungs are filled with heavy clouds of dust and treated terribly, as a man, similar to a slave-driver, stands over them and physically punishes the boys to threaten them stay obedient and work hard. They are not considered to be people here: only slaves.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon case for millions of children throughout the United States. Ever since the Industrial Revolution began and immigrants came to the United States, many children are being forced into child labor just so they can provide for their families in these troubling times. If they don’t work, their families will not survive. Orphaned children especially need to work in order to just stay alive, since they are all on their own and have no one to help them in their time of need.

For six days a week, these youngsters work anywhere from 12-19 hours per day in horrible conditions, sometimes even worse than an adult’s, all for extremely low pay or even nothing at all. Although at least 2 hours of school is required for children, they are rarely followed, since children need to work long hours. Since they can’t go to school, they don’t learn to read or write, which makes labor jobs their only jobs they can manage to get in the future.

Most businesses that hire children are mines, factories, and companies working in the street that provide miscellaneous jobs. The reason for companies to be hiring children to work for them is so they can pay them half of what they pay adults, and can force them to work longer hours, since there are currently no strict laws regulating child labor. There was no regard of safety for children either. The moment a child becomes injured, their wages are dropped and no compensation is offered to help them.

As citizens of the United States, we should stand to oppose this significant harm to our young generation of children. Ensuring children get an education, providing shelters to orphaned children, and limiting the age limit all can help fight against child labor. If we do not do anything, our children will continue to suffer under the horrible conditions of the workplace and will remain educationless, broke, and exhausted even into their adult years. It may take awhile to overthrow, but if it prevents anymore young children from losing their childhood, then it will be well worth the effort.