Keating–Owen Act

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Lewis Hine's photography exposing child labor in America was among the factors which led to a change in attitudes about labor policy. This image was used on a 1998 US stamp to commemorate passage of the Keating–Owen Act.[1]

The Keating-Owen Child Labor Act of 1916 also known as Wick's Bill, was a short-lived statute enacted by the U.S. Congress which sought to address child labor by prohibiting the sale in interstate commerce of goods produced by factories that employed children under fourteen, mines that employed children younger than sixteen, and any facility where children under sixteen worked at night or more than eight hours daily. The basis for the action was the constitutional clause giving Congress the task of regulating interstate commerce.

The bill was named for its sponsors, Edward Keating and Robert Latham Owen. The work of Alexander McKelway and the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC),[2] it was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson (who had lobbied heavily for its passage) in 1916 and went into effect September 1, 1917; however nine months later in Hammer v. Dagenhart, 247 U.S. 251 (1918),[3] the Act was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States (see also Lochner era).


  1. ^ US Stamp gallery
  2. ^ Child Labor: A World History Companion By Sandy Hobbs, Jim McKechnie, Michael Lavalette
  3. ^ "Abbott, Grace". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 2010. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 

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