Keating-Owen Act Pros And Cons

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A combination of forces were starting to come together in 1916 when the Keating-Owens Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. The naming of bill is based on the last names of the two U.S. Representatives who drafted it, Edward Keating and Robert Owen. The act set work day to eight hours for children under 16 and prohibited interstate business with any product made from children under 14 years old. Enforcement was left to the Children’s Bureau, which created a Child Labor division. With a vote of 343 to 46 the bill passed in the House of Representatives on January 26, 1916 and on August 3, 1916 the Senate passed the bill with a final vote of 52 to 12. The joyous occasion that was shared amongst all those who fought for child labor reform did not last long. …show more content…
Dagenhart had a Supreme Court case filed for his two sons in 1918, this was the Hammer v. Dagenhart case, named after Dagenhart and the U. S. Attorney General W. C. Hammer. After only nine months from the time the bill went active the Supreme Court ruled, in a five to four decision, the Keating-Owens Act to be unconstitutional. Regulation of interstate trade was considered to be exceeding the power of the federal government. One of the sons spoke out against the decision, when Ruben Dagenhart was asked by journalist’s what kinds of benefits child labor provided to which Dagenhart responded, “’I don’t see that I got any benefit,’ complained Dagenhart. ‘I guess I’d be a lot better off if they hadn’t won it.’ He continued, ‘Look at me! A hundred and five pounds, a grown man with no education, I may be mistaken, but I think the years, I’ve put in the cotton mills have stunted my growth ...I don’t know—the dust and lint maybe. But, from 12 years old on, I was working 12 h a day—from 6 in the morning until 7 at night, with time out [only] for meals …” The Supreme Court’s decision led to two more decades of failed attempts at child labor abolishment at the federal