Academic Child Labor

Academic American Cultures
Progressive Era
Child Labor Project
(Due Monday, 2/11)
The use of children in the workplace increased dramatically in the time period after the
Civil War. Industrialization combined with the influx of immigrants provided a recipe for
the exploitation of children to perform menial, repetitive tasks for little pay. The United
States became a manufacturing giant, but at a cost.
Using the accounts we have read of child labor in The Jungle, and other sources as well as
photographs you find in your research, you will imagine yourself as a child laborer in
Progressive Era America. This first-person viewpoint should guide your work throughout
this project.
The project will include (all in one document):
1. Cover Page (5 Points) – Should include a title, your name, and a picture connected
to your journal character.
2. Journal Entry (20 Points) – Write a 1 page journal entry as a child laborer. In your
entry, you should comment on both your working and living conditions. Make
sure to rely on accounts from the sources we have encountered in class.
3. Letter to the Editor (15 Points) – Write a 150-200 word (~1/2 page) letter to the
editor of your city newspaper in which you argue either for or against child labor.
In other words, address the issue of whether it is right that 12-16 year old children
were able to work in factories and mines.
4. Photo Gallery (20 Points) – Collect at least 10 images showing child labor in the
U.S. during the progressive era. You should have photos from 3 different industries.
Each photo should include a caption that contains information about the type of
work performed, the location, and potential dangers associated with that job.
5. Works Cited (5 Points) – Each source of information you consulted for this project,
including material from class, should have a citation. Consult the MLA format
You will have various opportunities to work on this assignment in class. You should be able
to complete most, if not all, of the assignment in class.
***If you have any questions or need help finding resources, talk to me and we can set up a
time to meet.***
Grading: All grades will be assigned based on the “4 point rubric” you have been using all
Suggested Resources:
 Jacob Riis, “The Working Girls of New York”
 Lewis Hine Photographs:
 Selections from Upton Sinclair, The Jungle
 “The Boys in the Breakers” from Anthracite Coal Communities by Peter Roberts
 History Place (photos):