Florence Kelley Essay Sample

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On July 22, 1905 Florence Kelley revealed to the public about the amount of work that children, ages sixteen and under are doing in factories. Her concerned outlook on the situation lets the women at the convention of the National American Women Suffrage Association know that she feels this is a matter that should be taken care of. She attempts to open the eyes of the people to let them see that the time that children are spending working in factories isn’t time well spent, and that action should be taken to save these kids from drudgery. As Kelley lists the some of the many things that children are doing while working in factories, she repeatedly states that it’s all happening while the citizens are sleeping. This repetition throughout the essay, shows just how much work is being done by young children and how sleep is no longer an option for them. It was also said to make the audience feel guilty for doing something they simply have no control over.

Sleeping is seen as something that everyone does, and Kelley bringing up the fact that the children are getting little to no sleep at all, gives off the effect that giving children all this hard work isn’t criminal, but what Americans are doing while all the children are working is criminal. To continue on making an effort to reach out to her audience, Florence Kelley lays all the facts down about what the states aren’t doing to protect the children from working long hours in factories. She says, “In Georgia there is no restriction whatsoever! A girl of six or seven years, just tall enough to reach the bobbins, may work eleven hours by day or by night.” By appealing to her audience by using facts and actual laws set in different states, it makes the situation very real for the people at the convention, that this isn’t just an issue that is being exaggerated. It is in fact one that no one seems to be taking affirmative action on.

By Kelley telling the audience that, “…we shall none of us be able to free our consciences from participation in this great evil.” gives the impression that the citizens are to blame for rules not being set in place for child labor. Her attitude remains very concerned for the children and also very eager to change the laws about child labor. She then reassures everyone at the convention, that if something is done, they can potentially free the children from toil, by stating, “We can enlist the workingmen on behalf of our enfranchisement just in proportion as we survive with them to free the children.

No labor organization in the country ever fails to respond to an appeal for help in the freeing of children.” This potentially gives the audience hope that they can make a difference in preventing the children from such harsh labor by getting help from the men, who are actually allowed to take a stand and vote. Florence Kelley finishes off her speech, giving the women at the convention something to think about by saying that the same children that are being worked to the bone, are the same ones that will be voting, and taking over America once the adults now are all dead. In order to help American now and for the future, Kelley restates the fact that in order to take action, they need the help of workingmen to help take a stand and change the harsh rules under child labor.

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