Child Labor in America

Kids at Work

Little Laborers of
New York City

By C. L. Brace, 1873

Little Tobacco Strippers

Little Tobacco Strippers

One of the most touching facts to any one examining the lower strata of New York is the great number of young children toiling in factories and shops. With the children of the fortunate classes there are certain years of childhood which every parent feels ought to be freed from the burdens and responsibilities of life. The "struggle for existence," the labor of money-making, the toil for support, and all the cares and anxieties therewith, will come soon enough. And the parent is glad that the first years at least should be buoyant and free from care, with no shadow of after-life upon them. He knows how heavy the burden must be which the child will soon be forced to carry, and he is pleased that a few years can be left cheerful and happy and free from anxiety. But the father of the poor child can indulge in no such sentiments. He is compelled to harness the little one very early to the car of labor, or if he be not forced to this, he is indifferent to the child's natural growth and improvement, and believes that his boy ought to pass through the same hard experience which he had himself. He is struggling with poverty, and eager for every little addition which he can make to his income. The child's wages seem to him important, and, indeed, it requires a character of more disinterestedness and a mind of more scope of view than we usually find among the laboring class to be able to forego present profit for the future benefit of the little one. The laborer sees the daily earnings, and does not think much of the future advantages which the child may win by being educated now. The father, accordingly,

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