Exploring our past to sort out myth from reality

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These are the voyages of the TimeShip Anachron.  
Our Mission: To boldly explore the past, dispelling
mythinformation and mythconceptions

of American History along the way.

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Meet MythAmerica Series

Part 1    Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5

Uncle Sam's Kids

Is your idea of what life was like for most American children in the early years of the 1900s primarily based on such visual sources as the cheery children romping in the Norman Rockwell paintings on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post? Or perhaps the sugar-coated stories in books of the era such as the Bobbsey Twins. Have you assumed it was a happy time of lazy days down by the old fishing hole in the summer for boys, or pretty little tea parties in the parlor for little girls and their dollies? If so, your mythconceptions are in for a rude awakening with this series about the history of Child Labor in the United States.

Part 1: "And a Little Child Shall Lead Them"

This article begins with a brief overview of the scandal of child labor in Britain in the 1800s. And ends with a brief introduction to the unbelievably harsh world of child labor in the US at the turn of the last century.  

Part 2: Lewis Hine's Kids

This article introduces the work of sociologist/teacher/investigative reporter  Lewis Hine, who chronicled in gut-wrenching, gritty photographs the pathetic lives of the working children of America (some of them as young as four years old) in the early twentieth century. Meet some of these children, working perhaps 10 or 12 (or more) hour days, who had their childhood stolen to provide dirt-cheap labor for the greedy owners of coal mines and cotton mills.

Part 3: Xtry, Xtry, Read All About It!

Rural poor children in the early years of the 1900s were often forced to work grueling hours in mines and factories. But in the big cities, those options weren't available. There young boys often helped their starving families by earning a few pennies a day working grueling hours as "newsboys." Just selling papers may seem like an "easy" job, but as you will see in the photos by Lewis Hine in this article, it wasn't…and could often even be life-threatening.

Part 4: The Declaration of DEpendence

This article continues the chronicle of the shameful saga of child labor in America in the early 20th Century. More photos by investigative reporter Lewis Hine introduce children working in a variety of grueling jobs.

Part 5: Ancient History-Revisited

This concluding article in the Uncle Sam's Kids series summarizes some of the facts about child labor in America in the early 20th century, and examines some of the lessons that can be learned, and even applied today, from how the nation dealt with this scandal.