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Curriculum - 11th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1877-1930 (Kansas_Benchmark 1) - Child labor laws (Indicator 4) - Arguments against child labor legislation

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A. A. Hamilton to Arthur Capper

A. A. Hamilton to Arthur Capper
Creator: Kansas. Governor (1915-1919: Capper)
Date: March 5, 1915
In this letter, A. A. Hamilton of Pittsburg, Crawford County, argues that Kansas does not need a child labor law. According to Hamilton, there should be limitations on the number of hours that children can work, but he does not see why able-bodied youth should be prevented from getting an after-school job. Attached to the letter is a clipping from the St. Louis Globe Democrat regarding child labor legislation. In 1915 the Industrial Welfare Act declared that minors could not be employed in any industry or occupation that may be detrimental to their welfare.


Emma Grimm to Arthur Capper

Emma Grimm to Arthur Capper
Creator: Kansas. Governor (1915-1919: Capper)
Date: November 27, 1917
Emma Grimm of Sabetha, Nemaha County, wrote this letter to Governor Arthur Capper regarding the child labor law that prohibits the employment of children under the age of 14 in any mercantile establishment. Grimm believes that if children do not learn the value of work at a young age, "then they get stubern and want there own way and that does not work good." Her son Theodore had recently been let go from his job as a grocery delivery boy, which apparently upset him greatly. Theodore was mentioned by name in a letter by another Sabetha citizen, Ralph Tennal, dated December 2, 1917, and in Commissioner P.J. McBride's letter, dated December 8, 1917.


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).


Ralph Tennal to Arthur Capper

Ralph Tennal to Arthur Capper
Creator: Tennal, Ralph
Date: November 22, 1917
Ralph Tennal, editor of the Sabetha Herald, wrote this letter to the governor complaining about a recent visit from an inspector who had ordered local merchants to comply with child labor laws. Tennal refers specifically to children who helped run their parents stores on weekends and after school. Tennal believes that "the orders strike me as being out of line with horse sense and out of line with the spirit of the government." He firmly believed that hard work would be of great value to these children. In 1917 the Industrial Welfare Act of 1915 was amended to include these restrictions on child labor: children could not work at night or for more than 8 hours daily or 48 hours weekly, school superintendents were responsible for issuing work permits, and children could not work until they had completed elementary school.


Ralph Tennal to Arthur Capper

Ralph Tennal to Arthur Capper
Creator: Tennal, Ralph
Date: December 2, 1917
Ralph Tennal, editor of the Sabetha Herald, wrote this letter to the governor in an attempt to convince Capper that child labor laws did more trouble than good. Tennal believes that these laws prevented children from being industrious and led to crime, because "everybody knows what Satan does to idle hands." Instead of having children run loose, they should find suitable employment on weekends and evenings that would give them "wholesome activities." According to Tennal, these child labor laws were doing more harm than good.


Roy Hennigh to Arthur Capper

Roy Hennigh to Arthur Capper
Creator: Hennigh, Roy
Date: November 21, 1917
Roy Hennigh, owner of a grocery store in Sabetha, Nemaha County, wrote this letter to the governor concerning a recent visit to his store by a female deputy factory inspector. According to Hennigh, this inspector informed him that his two teenage daughters could not work in his store on the weekends according to the child labor laws. Hennigh argues that he does not officially employ his children, or any other children, because "they help me just as anybody's children should." He believes it is "very poor judgement to enact a law which forbids parents to use the help of their own children." He also takes issue with the fact that a female inspector evaluated his business. P. J. McBride, Commissioner of Labor and Industry, replied to this letter on December 12, 1917.


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