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approve of the National Government "butting in" in this manner, but I think this cause is different, because it is a matter of humanity, and also because the passage of an amendment of this character will have a great effect on the betterment of the human race in this country.
I thank you for your courtesy in letting me say these few words. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Lineberger.
STATEMENT OF HON. WALTER A. LINEBERGER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM CALIFORNIA
Mr. LINEBERGER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee
Mr. YATES (interposing). I would like to ask a question, whether this bill is here in various forms.
The CHAIRMAN. There are 20.
Mr. LINEBERGER. I understand that there have been various bills on this matter, both in the House and in the Senate, and I am sure the committee will take note of that fact which shows that there is a general sentiment throughout the country for the enactment of this legislation. I believe that if you will take these various bills, and note the members who introduced them and the geographical locations from which they come, you will find that various sections of the country are in support of a measure of this character. I have introduced a bill (H. J. Res. 87) which is similar to one I introduced in the last Congress.
I simply want to say very briefly that I think this is the most important piece of legislation that has come before the American Congress, because it deals in the citizenship of to-morrow. children of to-day are going to be the citizens of these United States to-morrow, and the mental, moral, and physical type of those citizens is going to be in direct proportion to the opportunities which they have to grow up and become normal, useful members of society. Child labor is a thing that is against the conscience of America.
I am not a lawyer, and I am not going to discuss the legal aspects of this. Furthermore
Mr. MICHENER (interposing). For that matter, most of us are really with you as far as you have gone. But what is largely before this committee now are the legal aspects of it, the form of the resolution.
Mr. LINEBERGER. But where there is a will there is a way. When the conscience of the American people is known to this committee, made up as it is of legal minds, I am sure that the legal way will be found to bring about the necessary legislation, which I believe is generally agreed must be in the form of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Mr. HICKEY. Do you know how many States have child labor laws? The CHAIRMAN. Forty-six States have child labor laws.
Mr. FOSTER. But 13 of them have laws equal to the one that was declared unconstitutional. Since the Federal law was declared unconstitutional, 44 States legislatures have met but not one has raised its standards.
Mr. LINEBERGER. I was going to say that I understood that about 90 per cent of the States have some form of child labor law. However, this is a matter which the committee will have to work out. I do not expect that my resolution, or any other that has been introduced, will be adopted in toto. You gentlemen are thoroughly capable of working out the kind of legislation that you think will stand the test before the Supreme Court and meet the legal deficiencies that were found to exist in the other bill.
There is just one more point. I think that, from the standpoint of the labor situation in the United States, we should not have the children of the country injected into the labor problem. The labor problem, the differences between capital and labor in this country, and the adjustments that are necessary to be brought about in order to carry out the industrial and economic life of the country are difficult enough. In dealing with adults I do not think that the child ought to be injected into it.
I believe that this legislation must pass sooner or later, but I believe that there is no time like the present. I am heartily in favor of such legislation and trust that the committee will report out at a very early date a bill in such form and in such terminology as will deal adequately with the situation.
I thank you very much for the opportunity of coming here and saying these few words in behalf of these bills.
Mr. SUMNERS. Mr. Lineberger, I assume you are in charge of the hearing this morning.
Mr. LINEBERGER. Oh, no; I have nothing to do with the hearing. I simply came here because I have introduced a bill on this subject and am very much interested in it.
STATEMENT OF HON. FREDERICK W. DALLINGER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM MASSACHUSETTS
Mr. DALLINGER. I introduced House Joint Resolution 21, which proposes and amendment to the Constitution giving Congress the power to prohibit the employment of children. My resolution is a little broader than the others because it also covers the employment of women.
The section that I come from has adopted humane legislation along these lines, as you know, and we are subject, of course, to the competition of other sections where they have no such legislation. It is a serious question whether we can continue to compete with those sections of the country that do not have this humane legislation.
There is no question about the feeling of the people of the country generally in regard to the employment of little children in the factories, the mills, and the mines. Personally I regret very much that it seems necessary to ask Congress to pass a constitutional amendment. I think it is too bad that these States that have refused to adopt this humane legislation could not have done it themselves. As the gentleman from Ohio has pointed out, since the act passed by Congress prohibiting the employment of children under 14 was declared unconstitutional, not a single one of these States has adopted advanced legislation of this kind.
Mr. SUMNERS. What are your restrictions?
Mr. DALLINGER. I have not fixed any limit in my bill.
Mr. SUMNERS. I mean in your own State.
Mr. DALLINGER. The employment of children under 14 is absolutely prohibited, and under 16 they are obliged to have a certain amount of schooling.
Mr. SUMNER. In what sort of work are they prohibited?
Mr. DALLINGER. From all work.
Mr. SUMNERS. Could they not work on the farm?
Mr. DALLINGER. Why, I suppose they can help their families on the farm.
Mr. SUMNERS. They could not go across the field and help a neighbor?
Mr. DALLINGER. Well, I understand if they work regularly, between 14 and 16, they must have a certain amount of schooling. They must go to night school, or go to school a certain part of the week. Under 14 they are not permitted to be employed at all; and in order for a boy or a girl to get employment they must get a certificate from the school authorities showing that they are of the proper age.
Mr. SUMNERS. It is believed by you people that the age limit which you fixed is about the correct age limit?
Mr. DALLINGER. Why, naturally; sir.
Mr. SUMNERS. I mean the people who are interested in child welfare. I think they are from all over the country.
Mr. DALLINGER. The provisions advocated here are substantially the same as in the child labor law that was passed by Congress on two different occasions.
Mr. YATES. As I understand you, your amendment does not fix the age limit, but leaves it to be determined by Congress from time to time?
Mr. DALLINGER. I made it broad. I would be in favor of fixing the age at, perhaps, 14; but I want to give Congress the power to establish a uniform law of this kind. I have no doubt, may it please the committee, that if you give Congress the power to pass such a law, that it will pass substantially the same bill that it has passed twice before, by an overwhelming vote.
Mr. FOSTER. A general committee representing 17 of these national women's organizations have had up with a number of lawyers the proper wording of the proposed amendment.
Mr. DALLINGER. Mr. Chairman, I want the committee to frame the best constitutional amendment that it can. I am here to plead for the passage of a constitutional amendment that will give Congress the power to prohibit the employment of children of the age when they should be at school and at play.
Mr. DYER. You do not want to advocate the whole of your resolution, then, do you?
Mr. DALLINGER. Oh, yes; I am in favor of it.
Mr. DYER. Establish uniform hours and conditions?
Mr. DALLINGER. I think that Congress ought to pass a uniform law in regard to the employment of women and minors in line with the 48-hour laws passed by many of our States.
Mr. DYER. Is not that question practically regulated now-the hours of labor of women? You do not seriously advocate that
Congress should recommend or present a resolution for a constitutional amendment to the States fixing the hours and the conditions of employment of women, do you?
Mr. DALLINGER. Yes, I do; I am in favor of that.
Mr. DYER. You do not think it could ever be done?
Mr. DALLINGER. It probably would be done. Congress has passed an eight-hour law for all Government employees long ago.
Mr. DYER. And the States also have taken up that question. As to the constitutional amendment, you do not think that is necessary, do you?
Mr. DALLINGER. Yes; I do.
Mr. DYER. But you do not think it is necessary to add that to the amendment?
Mr. DALLINGER. I think it is important to regulate the hours of employment and the conditions of labor.
Mr. DYER. Why not put it in for men, too, then?
Mr. DALLINGER. Because the men can take care of themselves. Mr. DYER. The ladies can take care of themselves pretty well. Mr. DALLINGER. Now that they have the vote, perhaps they can. Mr. SUMNERS. Is it your judgment, or not, that sentiment in favor of protecting children with reference to the hours and conditions of labor is growing over the country generally?
Mr. DALLINGER. I think it is growing, sir.
Mr. SUMNERS. In view of the fact that you believe it is growing, do you have any question in your mind as to the wisdom of the Congress taking this matter from the jurisdiction of the States, instead of leaving it for the people of the States, for the good women and men of those States, to develop a local opinion and attitude that will compel their legislatures to respond to this sentiment?
Mr. DALLINGER. I wish that sentiment might be what you say, sir; but I am very much reminded of a speech by Congressman Howard, of Georgia, at the time one of the child-labor bills passed the House. Many of his colleagues were opposed to the bill, you will remember, and he made a speech in favor of it. He said that one of the most pathetic things to him was to go from his house to his law office in the morning and to see the little colored children going to school and the little white children going into the factories and the mills because their parents who had moved in from the mountain districts wanted their children to go into the factories and the mills. That accounts for the fact that those States have not passed this humane legislation.
When you have men and women in States in this country so blind to the interests of their own offspring and to the welfare of the future citizens of their State that they deliberately want their children go into the factories and mills, it is going to be a long time, in my opinion, before all the State legislatures will pass this humane legislation. In addition, I think the whole country is interested in the welfare of all of its children.
Mr. SUMNERS. I think we are getting at the heart of this bill so far as I am concerned. I will ask you this question-and we are just in consultation here. Mr. Howard expressed what I believe is the growing sentiment everywhere. Now don't you think it is quite worth while if the people of the States are compelled, say under the
leadership of such men as Mr. Howard, to make this fight for the protection of the children there? Don't you think it is worth while to develop this sentiment among the only people on earth who have the power to protect the children? That is a serious question in my mind.
Mr. DALLINGER. I think that you and I agree in this respect, that it is too bad that we have to ask for a constitutional amendment. It is too bad that the people of all the States do not see the matter in the right spirit. I will call your attention to the fact that Congressman Howard, of Georgia, was defeated.
Mr. SUMNERS. For the Senate. He was not defeated for Congress. Mr. DALLINGER. He is not here. As I say, he was defeated.
Mr. SUMNERS. But not on that issue.
Mr. DALLINGER. It may have had a good deal to do with it.
The CHAIRMAN. We have not time to speculate about Mr. Howard. Let us discuss the question before us.
Mr. DALLINGER. If the people of these States that have not passed this humane legislation do not do it, I think the Nation ought to do it.
Mr. SUMNERS. Do you not believe, and do you not know, that the sentiment in the country generally, in the States, is growing in favor of protecting child labor? Is that not a fact in your judgment?
Mr. DALLINGER. For the country as a whole, that is true; but it does not seem to have permeated the States where this evil exists in its pronounced form to any such extent as to warrant us in believing that they are going to pass this legislation in the near future.
Mr. SUMNERS. Is not this a fact, that only a short time ago practically none of the States had legislation along this line? And, considering the territory of the United States as a whole, has not that sentiment grown, and has it not crystallized into legislation, as rapidly as any other general movement that you know of?
Mr. DALLINGER. In certain sections of the country it has not advanced very much.
Mr. FOSTER. Is it not a fact that the last Federal census shows that 1 out of every 20 children under 16 years of age in the United States is in gainful employment; and in some States, one out of four? And since the Supreme Court declared this law unconstitutional, 44 State legislatures have met in 44 States which have standards not equal in all respects to the law declared unconstitutional, and not one of the 44 legislatures raised their standard. That would suggest that progress is not very rapid, would it not?
The CHAIRMAN. You began your remarks by saying that these other States had an element of unfair competition by reason of the lack of labor laws, and that it might take away from your State its precedence in certain lines of industry. Do you think that has anything to do with the question of adopting a constitutional amendment?
Mr. DALLINGER. I do, because I do not think that a State should be penalized for adopting humane legislation.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that would be a ground for invading the system that was adopted by the fathers in creating the dual form of Government under which we exist?