A Southern Capitalist Vision
This chapter discusses why the battle over a proposed Child Labor Amendment to the US Constitution in the 1920s came to embody the new sectionalism of the modern industrial age. This battle shaped opposing visions of work, freedom, morality, and the market within an emerging consumer society. The campaign for expanded federal authority over child labor through an amendment enabled Southern manufacturers to spur a collective grassroots protest against modern secular bureaucracy. Defining the amendment as a spiritual threat to rural America and farm families, opponents resurrected free labor principles—especially for boys—and traditional moral values based in fundamentalist Christianity as weapons against the encroachment of the modern bureaucratic state.
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