Photo: Library of Congress
For most of the 19th century into the early 20th century, children as young as five worked as shrimp pickers, factory workers and even in dangerous lumber yards.In 1842, Massachusetts limited work days for children to 10 hours per day, but that was hardly doing them a favour.
A law was passed to enforce a minimum working age in 1916 and 1918, but those efforts were declared unconstitutional on both occasions.
Finally, the Fair labour Standards Act in 1938 enforced minimum working ages and hours under federal law and child labour was officially ended.
Photographer Lewis Wickes Hine captured the harsh conditions children endured in the early 1900s before strict labour laws. The images come from the Library Of Congress.
Manuel is a five-year-old shrimp picker in Biloxi, Miss. Notice the mountain of oyster shells behind him.
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