Immigrant Children: Work

Figure 1.--Here we see breaker boys woking in the Peensylvania anthricite coal mines about 1913. These would be mostly the children of immigeant parents, although many may have been born in America. Most of their fathers would have been miners.

Immigrant children in the mid-19th century, especially the Irish often had little opportunity to go to school. Many began working from an early age. This gradually changed. Many states by the late 19th century had mandatory school attendance laws. Only after the Progressive movement promoted chuld labor laws were they enacted in the early 20th century. Some immigrant families encouraged children to study and go the school as much as fmily. Jewish families were especilly concerned with the education of their children. Many immigrant families were so desperate for money that the children had to work. Many children worked by selling newspapers or shining shoes. Some children did piece work with their siblings and prents at home. Other children got jobs in mines and factories. Immigrant children were much more likely to get these jobs than native-born children. Here gender was a factor as was the work found by their parents.


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Created: 5:09 AM 10/4/2006
Last updated: 5:09 AM 10/4/2006