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Upon the Altar of Work – Child Labor and the Rise of a New American Sectionalism - Illinois Scholarship Online
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Upon the Altar of Work: Child Labor and the Rise of a New American Sectionalism

Betsy Wood


This book examines how debates about children and their labor shaped the way Northerners and Southerners defined fundamental concepts of American life such as work, freedom, morality, and the market from the 1850s through the 1930s. Initially, Northerners and Southerners clashed over child labor in the context of the sectional crisis over slavery. For decades after the Civil War, debates about child labor bore the traces of this sectionalist conflict. Reformers, who eventually came to see child labor as the worst evil of the nation since slavery, mobilized politically in a national movement to ... More

Keywords: child labor, sectionalism, free labor, slavery, emancipation, South, Civil War, Progressive reform, capitalism, consumerism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780252043444
Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2021 DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252043444.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Betsy Wood, author
Hudson County Community College