What were some of Florence Kelley's main achievements?

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Florence Kelley dedicated her life to making lasting and meaningful social and political reform. In many ways, she can be credited with helping to start the Progressive Era.

One of her earliest achievements was the founding of the New Century Guild in Philadelphia in 1882. This organization worked to empower women by providing them with vocational education. Kelley herself worked as an instructor there.

Florence Kelley also worked hard to allow women to work as factory inspectors. In 1890, as the result of Kelley's fervent lobbying, the government of the state of New York passed legislation that created eight positions for women to work as state factory inspectors. This paved the way for more women to work in public sector jobs.

Throughout the 1890s, Kelley worked hard to expose the terrible working conditions in America's urban sweatshops. While employed as an inspector for the Illinois State Bureau of Labor Statistics, she exposed many unhealthy aspects inherent in the lives of the urban working class. As a result of her investigations, Illinois passed several laws limiting the workday and instituting other protections.

Kelley was also one of the founding members of the NAACP. Her work with the organization was instrumental in the crafting of legislation aimed at protecting the wages of African Americans, including the Sterling Discrimination Bill.

In 1916, Kelley was instrumental in lobbying Congress to pass the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act, which instituted a ban on products made in factories that used child labor.

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Florence Kelley was best known for her work in trying to improve working conditions and protect the rights of workers back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Among her main achievements were:

  • She translated a book by Friedrich Engels (who cowrote the "Communist Manifesto" with Karl Marx) into English.  The book was The Conditions of the Working-class in England in 1844.
  • She was an inspector in charge of monitoring working conditions in factories in Illinois.
  • She conducted major sociological research among the poor people of Chicago.
  • She was the head of the National Consumers' League -- an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of women and children workers.
  • She convinced the Illinois legislature to limit women's work days to 8 hours.

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