Declaration of Dependence

The “Declaration of Dependence by the Children of America” was composed by the National Child Labor Committee in 1913.
National Child Labor Committee (A.J. McKelway)
Grade Level

Declaration of Dependence

by the Children of America

in Mines and Factories and Workshops Assembled

Whereas, We, Children of America, are declared to have been born free and equal, and

Whereas, We are yet in bondage in this land of the free; are forced to toil the long day or the long night, with no control over the conditions of labor, as to health or safety or hours or wages, and with no right to the rewards of our service, therefore be it

Resolved, I — That childhood is endowed with certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which are freedom from toil for daily bread; the right to play and to dream; the right to the normal sleep of the night season; the right to an education, that we may have equality of opportunity for developing all that there is in us of mind and heart.

Resolved, II — That we declare ourselves to be helpless and dependent; that we are and of right ought to be dependent, and that we hereby present the appeal of our helplessness that we may be protected in the enjoyment of the rights of childhood.

Resolved, III — That we demand the restoration of our rights by the abolition of child labor in America.

Alexander J. McKelway, 1913

This text is in the public domain.
Text Dependent Questions
  1. Question
    What is the social problem addressed in this declaration?
    The declaration states that child labor amounts to forced labor and that, because they are children, these laborers have no control over how much they are paid for their work or the conditions under which they work.
  2. Question
    On what grounds does the National Child Labor Committee argue that child labor is unjust?
    They argue that there are certain rights of childhood, such as the right to a healthy amount of sleep, the right to an education and the freedom from working for their daily nourishment. Child labor violates these rights.
  3. Question
    What solution is put forth in the declaration?
    That children’s right to be dependent upon adults be protected and that the practice of child labor be abolished.
Reveal Answers
Add to an Existing Learning Plan
    Group of adults listening to one person speaking.

    New Virtual Workshops Are Available Now!

    Registrations are now open for our 90-minute virtual open enrollment workshops. Explore the schedule, and register today—the first workshop begins October 16th and space is limited!

    Sign Up!