Age of innocence

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These fascinating pictures of American and Canadian youngsters in the first half of the 20th century capture an almost forgotten age of innocence and the simplest of pleasures.

The photographs, from the archives of the National Geographic magazine, show children from around two or three up until their early teens and give a fascinating glimpse into what life was like for youngsters without the all trappings of the modern world which we now take so much for granted.

The children are pictured huddled together in the family homestead or talking a jolly stroll in the countryside. Two young boys are seen staring in awe at a billboard announcing the circus is in town wondering if they will be lucky enough to go along.

 

Family ties: Seven siblings sit on a wooden fence Quebec, Canada in one of the images released by National Geographic

Seven siblings sit on a wooden fence Quebec, Canada, in one of the images released by National Geographic. The picture is believed to date from the 1930s

Four boys bob for apples in West Virginia, USA in January 1939
Four boys bob for apples in West Virginia, USA in January 1939

 

 

Arm in arm: Young children hold on to one another as they walk down a dirt road alongside a corn field in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1919

Young children hold on to one another as they walk down a dirt road alongside a corn field in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1919

Another shot, dating from 1936, shows four boys enjoying a game of apple bobbing – well this was a time when an Xbox was some sort of mystery package and social networking meant a chat with your neighbor over a rickety wooden fence.

But the smiling faces and apparent joy betray the grim reality for many youngsters who lived during this era – a time of catastrophic world war, massive social change and incredible technological development.

For hundreds of thousands of children life was incredibly tough – instead of an education they would be forced to work from an early age fuelling the nation’s Industrial revolution.Others would spend long hours toiling in the fields of family farms or working in factories. Children as young as five would be recruited as messengers, newsboys, peddlers and in various other menial jobs.Employers seized on Children who they regarded as cheap labor – their small size meant they were capable of wriggling into through narrow parts of mechanical machines where adults could not go.

Incredibly it took until the Great Depression to end child labor, for adults had become so desperate for jobs that they would work for the same wage as children and in 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which finally placed limits on child labor.

Four Amish children perch on a fence on a hot summer's day in Pennsylvania in 1941
Four Amish children perch on a fence on a hot summer’s day in Pennsylvania in 1941

 

 
The circus is in town: Two small boys gaze at a circus billboard in rural Ohio in an early colour picture from 1932
 Two small boys gaze at a circus billboard in rural Ohio in an early color picture from 1932

 

 

 

 
 
A boy shows off his freshly picked strawberries in Missouri, USA, in 1943
Two children with a puppy sit on an old split rail fence in Missouri in 1946
 A boy shows off his freshly picked strawberries in Missouri  in 1943 (top), while two children with a puppy sit on an old split rail fence in Missouri in 1946

 

 
Morning glory: Mother carries milk pails on her shoulders while the children lead a horse on a foggy morning walk in Quebec, Canada in 1950
 Mother carries milk pails on her shoulders while the children lead a horse on a foggy morning walk in Quebec, Canada in 1950

Attribution: Daniel Miller, Daily Mail

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

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