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Curriculum - 11th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1877-1930 (Kansas_Benchmark 1) - Child labor laws (Indicator 4) - Arguments for enforcement of existing child labor laws

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Child labor

Child labor
Creator: The Club Member
Date: December 1907
This article, published in a women's club magazine, discusses the importance of the child labor laws in Kansas. These laws improved child welfare and worked alongside school truancy laws. The article also discusses the duties of industrial inspectors and the areas of the system that need improvement. Toward the end of the article, the unnamed author also cites statistics to place Kansas within a national context; Kansas was one of nine states that prohibited employment of children under the age of 14 in factories, stores, offices, hotels, laundries, theaters, bowling alleys, and bakeries.


Child labor and woman suffrage

Child labor and woman suffrage
Creator: The Club Member
Date: January 1907
This brief article in The Club Member describes the problem of child labor, arguing that in states where women had the right to vote "child labor and illiteracy have ceased to be problems." This information is taken from an article called "Treason of the Senate" by David Graham Phillips.


P. J. McBride to Arthur Capper

P. J. McBride to Arthur Capper
Creator: Kansas. Governor (1915-1919: Capper)
Date: December 12, 1917
This letter by P. J. McBride, Commissioner of Labor and Industry, informed the governor of Kansas about the enforcement of child labor laws in Sabetha, Nemaha County. Edith Enderton, an agent of the Department of Labor and Industry, had visited Sabetha in order to enforce compliance with the child labor law, and she found "a considerable number of children employed in violation" of this law. McBride specifically mentions a 10-year old boy, Teddy Grimm, who delivered groceries and sometimes worked 14 or 15 hours lifting heavy boxes and sacks of flour. While McBride acknowledges that Enderton may "have possibly been a little over-zealous in the application of the law where children are employed by their own parents"?which was not the case with Teddy Grimm?McBride agrees that young children should not be required to work outside the home.


P. J. McBride to Emma Grimm

P. J. McBride to Emma Grimm
Creator: Kansas. Governor (1929-1931 : Reed)
Date: December 12, 1917
In this letter P. J. McBride, the commissioner of labor and industry, responds to Emma Grimm's letter to Governor Arthur Capper dated November 27, 1917. Grimm had expressed her displeasure with the enforcement of the child labor law in her hometown of Sabetha, which had forced her 10-year old son Theodore to leave his job as a grocery delivery boy. McBride informed her that, because the Legislature passed this law, the governor could not make any exceptions. McBride also emphasized that "play and recreation" were an important element in children's development and that after schoolwork and household chores had been completed, children should have unstructured time to play. McBride refers to the 1917 amendment to the Industrial Welfare Act of 1915; this amendment prohibited work at night or for more than 8 hours daily or 48 hours weekly and required that school superintendents issue work permits to eligible students prior to the students' employment. Also, children could not be employed until they had completed elementary school.


P. J. McBride to Ralph Tennal

P. J. McBride to Ralph Tennal
Creator: Kansas. Governor (1915-1919: Capper)
Date: December 8, 1917
This letter was written in response to Ralph Tennal's earlier letter (dated December 2) to Gov. Arthur Capper, which had been referred to P. J. McBride, the Commissioner of Labor and Industry. In it, McBride responds to Tennal's concerns that the child labor law prevented children from learning the value of hard work. McBride politely states that the state legislature enacted this law, and thus complaints should be directed to the legislators. While he concurs with Tennal's assertion that children who are bored can get into mischief, McBride argues that "the solution to this problem is the proper control and direction of play and recreation of our children by parents and public welfare officials rather than by putting them at work in our industries." Consequently, child labor laws not only prevented abuses, but they also allowed children the free time deemed necessary for their development, as well as ensuring that these girls and boys receive a solid education. In closing, McBride encourages Tennal to rethink his position and help ensure compliance with these laws. Tennal had also written a letter about this issue on November 22, 1917.


P. J. McBride to Roy Hennigh

P. J. McBride to Roy Hennigh
Creator: Kansas. Governor (1915-1919: Capper)
Date: December 12, 1917
This letter was written in response to Roy Hennigh's earlier letter (dated November 21) to Gov. Arthur Capper, which had been referred to P. J. McBride, the Commissioner of Labor and Industry. In it, McBride responds to Hennigh's complaint that a welfare inspector prevented Hennigh from employing his two daughters in his grocery store. McBride referred him to the child labor law that "prohibited the employment of any child under 14 years of age in mercantile establishments." No one could make any exception to this law because, according to McBride, some of the worst cases of abuse had occurred at the hands of parents. This law did not affect children's work within the home, but it did mandate that children under 14 could not be assigned regular duties for a specific period of time in a place of business. McBride emphasized that "it is not the purpose of this department to split hairs," but that his inspectors were bound to ensure that the law was applied fairly and equally to all.


Part I: Child Labor in Sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics

Part I: Child Labor in Sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics
Creator: Kansas. Dept. of Labor and Industry
Date: January 1, 1891
Part I of this government report addresses the problem of child labor in Kansas, which appeared to be increasing. Most of the report focuses on existing child labor laws in Kansas, statistics about child employment (broken down by county, child's age, ethnic background, etc?), and the industries that employed children. The report also addresses school attendance and truancy laws (which would effectively curb the unlawful employment of children) and includes the results of interviews with school superintendents and questionnaires filed out by those known to employ children in their businesses. School superintendents were overwhelmingly in favor of compulsory education, and most employers believed that it was important for children to understand the value of hard work (although some did speak about the benefits of school).


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