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Sugar and CivilizationAmerican Empire and the Cultural Politics of Sweetness$
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April Merleaux

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622514

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622514.001.0001

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Sweet Innocence

Sweet Innocence

Child Labor, Immigration Restriction, and Sugar Tariffs in the 1920s

(p.147) Chapter Six Sweet Innocence
Sugar and Civilization

April Merleaux

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores the sugar crisis of the 1920s which was caused by oversupply and declining prices and how it was interpreted by policymakers through the interwoven stories of child labor reform, sugar tariffs, colonial administration in the Philippines, and Mexican immigration restriction. It first considers reformers' interest in agricultural child labor in the 1910s before turning to contentious debates over the employment of children in the beet fields. It then discusses the issue of race in comparative costs of sugar production and goes on to explain how child labor became intertwined with the debates over sugar tariffs and immigration restrictions against Mexicans. The chapter concludes by assessing the consequences of the 1930 tariff, which introduced rates much higher than the already high duties of the early 1920s.

Keywords:   sugar, child labor, sugar tariffs, colonial administration, Philippines, Mexican immigration, race, sugar production, immigration restrictions, Mexicans

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