Hammer v. Dagenhart

(1918)

In Hammer v. Dagenhart, also known as the Child Labor Case, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1916 Keating-Owen Child Labor Act by the slimmest of margins. On its face, Hammer v. Dagenhart seemed an easy case given its subject matter, but the later discredited 5-to-4 decision demonstrated how resistant the Court under Chief Justice Edward Douglass White could be to the Progressive legislation of the day.

Roland Dagenhart, an employee at a cotton mill in Charlotte, North Carolina, sued his employer and W. C. Hammer, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina,...

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A 1916 photo showing messenger boys on strike in New York City (Library of Congress)

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