I always feel a bit sorry for myself on Labor Day weekend, as it's back-to-school time and usually I am engaged in a mad dash to get my course syllabi done. Of course this is ridiculous, as I have the cushiest job ever and most of the summer I've been free to do as I liked. It's good to remind myself what…
Factory Girls and Boys
We forget too quickly what it was like in the United States before the Child Labor Laws and women won the right to vote. Middle class? What was that in America before the labor unions arrived? While doing research yesterday on a history of the American Middle class, I learned that about 700,000 children worked in factories and coal mines and that explains who so few graduated from High School in 1900 (16,000 and there were almost a million 17-year olds). The rest were already working as young as six or seven. About 5% of the population had enough money to live comfortably without money worries.