Soon after the court’s decision on June 3, 1918 many people felt puzzled. They wondered why the court did not find Hammer v. Dagenhart a moral dilemma. They believed it was the court’s job to uphold the integrity and ethical standards upon which the United States was founded.
Later that year in December of 1918 another bill was presented on behalf of child labor. This bill was another endeavor to regulate child labor by enforcing a tax of 10% to industries employing children under the age of sixteen. Soon after, this bill was also struck down by the Supreme Court stating that it was unconstitutional.
Around the 1920’s the country had won World War I and America felt hopeful about the economy but too many individuals were wrong. The country’s debt rose to enormous heights. In 1929, the American stock market crashed causing the great depression. During the depression millions of people lost their jobs but children still worked.
In 1932, President D. Roosevelt initiated the New Deal. The New Deal was Roosevelt’s idea of getting America back on track economically. In 1933, The National Recovery Act was passed. This act assisted with child labor laws because it outlawed all child labor. Just like the others this act was overturned by the Supreme Court.
Almost twenty years after Hammer v. Dagenhart, hard work, pain, suffering and even death the question still remained did the child labor movement progress? It was through assistance from political supporters and labor unions that made the vision reality.
In 1933, Congress made another attempt to assist efforts for child labor during the depression. This Act was known as the National Industrial Recovery Act. This act set age limits and working conditions. During this time one could see a significant decline in the number of children working. Just like prior attempts in 1935 the Supreme Court ruled the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional.
In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act also known as Federal Wage and Hour Law was finally recognized by the United Stated federal government. This Act made it mandatory for employers to give children minimum wage of twenty-five cents an hour and a maximum amount of work hours. Additionally, it set age limits and limited certain jobs that children could obtain. Once this Act was upheld children soon began to stop working and received their education.
It was not until 1941, U.S. v. Darby, upheld the Fair Labor Standards Act and reversed the case of Hammer v. Dagenhart.
As a result of the many laws that were deemed as unconstitutional, children today can look back at history and be thankful for the road that was paved on their behalf. As it remains the Fair Labor Standards Act still exist and is recognized by highest ranking judicial body which for so long refused to establish them- the United States Supreme Court.
Although the United States has made momentous advancements to the child labor laws over the last fifty years, child labor still exist. The fight still persists. As stated by the International Labor Organization the number of working children are increasing daily. Sad but true children are still being exploited in sweatshops making pennies a day to city streets. So it is our job to remember the past and push for laws for the future.