Address to the Chicago Business Women's Club, April, 1902


Effect of Child Labor.

If we are to believe Miss Jane Addams, of Hull House, current jests about the perpetual weariness of the tramp frequently hides a deeper meaning than most suspect. She finds that many persons slip into tramp life through physical and moral exhaustion, resulting from overwork in childhood. In a recent address on this subject before the Chicago Business Woman's Club, Miss Addams said: "Child labor undertaken too early or performed in excess is responsible for a large number of the tramps and ambitionless wayfarers of America. The boy or girl who works too early is surfeited with labor, bankrupt of ambition long before the time when work should begin at all."

The belief that trampdom often is recruited from the ranks of youthful toilers who have been overcome by an intense and terrible physical and moral fatigue because they overtaxed their strength is now new, but so far it has hardly been made the subject of careful investigation. At Hull House those facts have been observed for a number of years, and data are being collected. "We notice," says Miss Addams, "that the child workers who were bright and eager and ambitious when commencing work some six or seven years ago, are different now. Nearly all of them are dull and lifeless, lacking energy and without ambition. Many are actual tramps." -- Boston Transcript.

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