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Child Labor

1902 — Chicago Business Woman’s Club, Chicago IL


Child labor undertaken too early or performed in excess is responsible for a large number of the tramps and ambitionless wayfarers of America. The boy or girl who works too early is surfeited with labor, bankrupt of ambition long before the time when work should begin at all.
The belief that trampdom often is recruited from the ranks of youthful toilers who have been overcome by an intense and terrible physical and moral fatigue because they overtaxed their strength is now [six] new, but so far it has hardly been made the subject of careful investigation. At Hull House those facts have been observed for a number of years, and data are being collected.
We notice that the child workers who were bright and eager and ambitious when commencing work some six or seven years ago, are different now. Nearly all of them are dull and lifeless, lacking energy and without ambition. Many are actual tramps.



Source: Jane Addams Papers Project, Ramapo College of New Jersey