The Consumer's League as an Expression of Social Obligation (summary), March 21, 1904



Miss Jane Addams Tells of Its Campaign in Chicago, and What it Still Hopes to Do.

Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Chicago, addressed a large audience in Potter Hall, Huntington Av. last evening on "The Consumers' League as an Expression of Social Obligation."

The meeting was presided over by Miss Elizabeth Houghton. Miss Addams spoke briefly, the meeting being devoted principally to questions by the audience. She said: "The Consumers' League is valuable because it has made an attempt to unite moral obligation with daily doings. It begins with the shopper. Sometimes it seems as if women threw away their scanty stock of morals to the winds when they visit a bargain counter. The league has quickened the sense of moral obligation. We cannot sustain ourselves alone, but when we pool our moral obligations with other people we do accomplish results."

Miss Addams explained that the laws affecting child labor in Illinois are fairly good, being modeled after those of Massachusetts. The improved legislation has been brought about in Illinois by the women's clubs and the labor unions. "We see the effect of child labor in various directions," Miss Addams said. "Its immediate effect is on family life. As soon as a child begins to earn money it gets beyond the jurisdiction and the admonition of the home."

Miss Addams explained that it is one of the purposes of the League to demand that clothing shall not only be made under good conditions, but that it shall also be sold under conditions that are favorable to a sense of moral obligation as regards the persons who make what we wear. "We are pauperized," she said, "when we do not pay a decent living wage to those who work for us. We need to have the sense of right dealing which requires us to pay for what we get."

In closing, Miss Addams said that the Consumers' League is anxious to have various foods investigated, because it realizes the great need in this direction. She said she thought that in Massachusetts it has a larger following than in Illinois, and might accomplish more in a given direction.

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