Florence Kelley’s Description of Child Labor and Sweatshops Essay

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In Chicago, around the eighteen-hundreds, there was the desire for cheap labor. Consumer demand for clothes and manufactured products played a big part in this issue. The desire for manufacturers to meet the increasing consumer demand ultimately led to the hiring of children and other individuals. To reduce expenditures, working conditions did not play a major concern in the factory owners’ decisions. These factories were not very safe and sanitation was poor. Oftentimes many of these sweatshop workers were found working many hours a day for a long period of time with very little, if any pay. Florence Kelley was a factory inspector who fought against child labor and the existence of sweatshops. Through her experiences and descriptions, we…show more content…
Also, since age was not problematic in the hiring process, children would oftentimes be found at sweatshops of all types (Wheeler, Bruce, Becker 121). Many times the pure reason children worked in sweatshops was that one, or both of their parents were dependent on the child, this even happened if the parents were relatively young (Wheeler, Bruce, Becker 121).
Florence Fitch Kelley is the reason why so much in depth information about sweatshops exists. Kelley graduated from the University of Zurich, the only university that at the time admitted women (Fee and Brown 50). Kelley was a journalist for many years and eventually became an agent of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics where she was assigned to investigate these sweatshops during the Progressive Era (Fee and Brown 50; Kelley 228; Wheeler, Bruce, Becker 119). Florence Kelley was so good at what she did that she was appointed Chief Factory Inspector (Fee and Brown 50). As the Chief Factory Inspector, Kelley inspected factories to make sure they were following the guidelines passed in the early twentieth century regarding working conditions (Fee and Brown 50). Kelley was later employed by the United States Department of Labor because of her detailed work (Fee and Brown 50). Unfortunately, Florence Kelley eventually got fired from the United States Department

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