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SEVEN-YEAR-OLD OYSTER SHUCKER (Picture and explanation furnished by National Child Labor Committee)
This photograph, taken in a far Southern State, pictures one of a company of about three hundred women and children of Baltiniore, that are taken out by padrones all the year round; at one season to pick berries in Maryland, then into Delaware to pick tomatoes, then South to shuck oystersin this case in temporary quarters where work begins 3 A. M. and lasts to 3 P. M., with half an hour off for lunch. The child-labor investigator counted fifteen children that seemed to be under twelve. Two four-year olds shucked a good deal. The mother of one of these, named Mary, said the child shucked two pots a day and earned 10 cents for candy. The boss said that this girl by next year would "work as well as any of them.' The mother earns $1.50 and the father works on the wharf arid earns, presumably, as much more. But Mary was shucking whenever she was not holding the baby. See poem, pp. 124-5.
designed to stop industries hiring children. This makes it look as if nothing can be done by act of Congress, although there is a movement on now for further legislation which it is hoped 'will not be objectionable to the Supreme Court,' and which might give immediate relief. Such a law, however, may fail again, as it has twice already.
"That leaves two possibilities: One is missionary work in the backward States, to stir the people to a demand that their shame be ended. The other is to amend the Constitution.
"That would take time. But the enlightening of a commonwealth that still tolerates the slave driving of children, after years of public scorn, could conceivably take more."
Secretary Herbert Hoover, of the Department of Commerce, Washington, D. C., in a speech on June 27, 1922, at the National Child Labor Committee's Anniversary in Providence, favored trying once more to bring up the backward States, and in case of failure he declared himself as for a Federal Constitutional Amendment.
The National Child Labor Committee of New York City urged work for both State and federal legislation, as did the Federal Children's Bureau of Washington, D. C.
Senator Medill McCormick, in coöperation with these child defenders, introduced the following Constitutional amendment, which all opponents of child labor were expected to support by petitions to both Houses of Congress and by telegrams and letters to Senators and Congressmen :
"The Congress shall have power to limit or prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age, and power is also reserved to the several States to limit or prohibit such labor in any way which does not lessen any limitation of such labor or the extent of any prohibition thereof by Congress. The power vested in the Congress
by this article shall be additional to and not a limitation on the powers elsewhere vested in the Congress by the Constitution with respect to such labor.”
The National Child Labor Committee announced it would not diminish in any way its efforts to improve State laws and administration while working for national legislation. The Federal Children's Bureau wrote us August 9, 1922: "A good many of the States have standards higher in some respects than either of the federal laws" (that were set aside by the Supreme Court).
Everywhere there should be effort to secure full protection of children's bodies, minds, and souls against harmful employment. Three thousand Cleveland children in a recent year got permits to leave school prematurely for cheap labor in mercantile establishments. The messenger service, too, is allowed to employ children who ought to be at school in a service which takes them night and day to all sorts of places, to the great jeopardy of their life prospects.
Evening schools are of small benefit to working boys. It is like adding insult to injury, after taking away a boy's study hours and play hours, to cut into his sleeping hours. If there must be evening schools a course of studies should be worked out that makes much use of motion pictures and stereopticon.
The fallacy that industrial conditions make it necessary for children to lose both play and study and become beasts of burden prematurely in factories and mines to supplement inadequate family incomes ought to be speedily exploded.
In many homes “everybody works but father.” A small boy asked credit at grocery, saying that he had a "wife and children to support." "Why, you are not married, are you?” “No, but my father is.” Another working boy
was asked by his employer about his father. "What does your father do?” “Oh, he's my father.” “But what does he do?” “Oh, he hasn't done anything since we got him.” Wherever a big family, in which all the adults save mother are doing their best as breadwinners, is really short of a living income, let the State or city follow Chicago's good example in giving a pension to mothers, who serve the State as drill masters of future citizens, in many cases quite as worthily as those who draw pensions for military service.
Marriage and Divorce Amendment As marriage and divorce are both a woman's problem far more than a man's, for the reason that marriage
3 We suggest that schools of law, medicine, and theology, normal schools also and welfare associations give prizes to promote national betterment for comparative study of the present moral and industrial status and statuies of the various nations of the world, counting Canada, Australasia, South Africa, and Ireland as nations. The International Reform Bureau asks for a prize of $500 for the best answer or answers sent in on or before Dec. 1, 1923, to the following questions: 1. Has any other nation in the 20th Century made a record equal to that of the United States in prohibition of whiskey, beer, wine, and other alcoholic liquors? 2. Has any other nation secured to an equal extent the separation and at the same time the cooperation of Church and State? 3. Besides these two great points of social progress, in what others can we claim to excel all other nations? 4. What nations do we excel and what nations do we fall behind in suppression of child labor, gambling, prostitution, Sunday commercialism, consumption of opiates, consumption of tobacco, graft, judicial maladministration, neglect of voters to vote, appointments to office under spoils system, racial discriminations? 5. Can we disprove the charge that we "beat the world" in a bad sense in murders, divorces, lynchings, kidnapping, train robberies, labor riots, municipal corruption, manufacture of obscene movies, pugilism, and yellow journalism? (The contests suggested in previous chapter were not for nations but for States and Provinces only.)
In spite of the opposition of active politicians, high and low, largely through the pressure of public opinion upon Presidents, civil service reform was advanced until at the close of President Grover Cleveland's second term it was claimed that there were more Republicans than Democrats left in office. But in the third decade of the twentieth century civil service reform was fighting for life against persistent opposition of poli. ticians, with its defense too much left to a few academic professors and publicists, to whom should have rallied to a larger degree the men and women of "the non-conformist conscience" in the churches, which has been, in the United States, the most effective reform army. Although President Warren G. Harding was an outspoken advocate of prohibition en forcement and showed on several instances rare political courage, the “spoils system" was applied to Constitutional prohibition, which meant that in "wet" States "wet” politicians named the officials to enforce a "dry" law-Neptune selecting men to bale out the ocean. In the December Session of Congress, of 1922, it was expected that the people would be rallied to put prohibition enforcement under civil service rules.
bulks larger among a woman's interests than among a man's interests, it was formerly urged with reason that federal legislation on this subject should wait on national woman suffrage. But when woman suffrage came, women did not generally take up this issue, for reasons which were easily discovered. American women know that there are more divorces in the United States than in any other civilized land partly because the women of America are, on the average, mentally and morally and economically superior to those of most other lands, and so are not willing to endure brutality and injustice. Women get the major part of the divorces, and of late the cases are increasing among the classes who desert their mates without judicial ceremony in which the woman is the one who quits.
Nothwithstanding the divorce cloud has that bright side, it is black and threatening, and women as the chief sufferers and as moral leaders should take a leading part in divorce reform, especially as respect for the sanctity of the marriage relation, divorce court judges say, is decreasing among women. That challenges good women to prompt remedial missionary work among their reckless sisters.
One reason why women are slow to take up a crusade for stricter divorce laws is that a good woman, when the subject of divorce is first introduced, usually thinks, not abstractly of “the greatest good to the greatest number," but concretely of this and that wife among her acquaintances who is very unhappy in marriage, and personally might find relief in a divorce for which she has no such grounds as strict divorce laws would require.
Ordinarily the woman who takes this view does not know or forgets that legal separation without remarriage is allowed for minor causes in the strictest divorce laws,