Thursday, September 27, 2012

Declaration of Dependence



by Seattle Jon (bio)

image via BBC News

In 1913, in an effort to reduce and regulate childhood labor, the National Child Labor Committee composed a Declaration of Dependence by and on behalf of the children of America. I came across the declaration while reading Howard Zinn's A Young People's History of the United States, and since I'd never read it before I thought I would share. I particularly like the language in Section I.
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 our selves 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.
Interestingly, a Google search for "Declaration of Dependence" brought up an Ensign article written by Robert K. and Shirley Wilkes Thomas in June 1976 titled Declaration of Dependence: Teaching Patriotism in the Home. While not directly related to the declaration above, the article is worth reading.

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