Sequences That Led to Labor Laws by: Katie Garcia

Part One


Progressives saw many problems in industries and companies. They began to call reforms against the lack of laws protecting workers. They were against child labor, low wages, long hours, political corruption, monopoly in oil industries, sanitation problems, and poor working conditions.

One major concern of Progressives was Child Labor. They set out to makes sure that children could go to school instead of work.
Part Two

Lobbying groups work to influence legislators...

Lobbying groups played a large role in the formation of labor laws. These groups used many different tactics to pressure legislators to create and pass laws that protected workers. For example, they organized protests, marches, and strikes. They also used the public as a way to push legislators by exposing the awful conditions that different industries had their employees working in.

Example of a lobbying group.

Journalists often worked side by side with lobbying groups in exposing these conditions. These journalists were often called "muckrakers." Muckrakers are used their journalism to expose problems of society, especially problems that were caused by the rapid growth in urban areas and industrialization.

Lincoln Steffens, Ida B. Tarbell, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, and Lewis Hine.

Notable Journalists:

  • Lincoln Steffens: wrote articles on city bosses, exposing corruption of political machines.
  • Ida B. Tarbell: wrote The History of The Standard Oil Company, exposing the oil company for mistreating workers and breaking laws. She went undercover to investigate for her story and was able to report the company.
  • Jacob Riis: wrote a book and took many photos that revealed to the public the horrible conditions many faced while living in the slums.
  • Upton Sinclair: wrote The Jungle, a novel that exposed the meat-packaging industry and helped to push reforms for food policies.
  • Lewis Hine: photographer who helped exposed the working conditions of children who were forced to work.
A photo by Lewis Hines featuring children who worked in the coal mines.
Part Three

Individual states began to pass labor laws

Since a lot of the lobbying that many groups did was organized in big cities, many of the first labor laws were passed by individual states before federal laws were passed. For example, New Hampshire was one of the first states to pass a 10 hour work day law.

Examples of state lobbying.

How these state laws were very important, Progressives knew that it was important that all workers in all states had rights that protected them. While many workers continued to push they employers and states to create laws and policies that protected them, larger lobbying groups kept pushing for federal laws.

Part Four

Congress passes federal labor laws...

The biggest push from Progressives called for legislators to make federal labor laws. Federal labor laws were meant to help workers in all states and set a foundation for states to make more laws that protected workers.

On the left is a copy of the Erdman Act. On the right is a picture of the construction of a railroad and the workers who built it.

For example, the Erdman Act was passed in 1898. It prohibited the discrimination against railroad workers who had union memberships. While some of the ways these federal laws were passed were controversial, they ultimately made sure that all states were starting to protect workers.


Through the ups and downs, and all the controversy, underprivileged people were able to have safer working conditions across all of the USA thanks to the people lobbied and pushed for workers' rights. Labor Laws are still very important today. Even though many laws today are not perfect, the hard work past organizers did has helped us continue to get more rights today. It's important to know how these workers fought so hard for the rights we have today.

Workers then and now face many of the similar struggles. It's important to know the past to help people in the present and to protect their rights.
Core 4 - Mr. Zetwick - Social Studies - Katie Garcia
Created By
Katie Garcia


Created with images by kevin dooley - "Background" • kevin dooley - "Background" • kevin dooley - "Background" • kevin dooley - "Background" • kevin dooley - "Background" • Ronile - "statue of liberty new york ny"

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