New York State Archives, NYSA_A3112-77_B3_F088_Sogg
In 1917, the New York State Education Department began a program that allowed students between the ages of 16 and 18 in good academic standing to sign up and become Farm Cadets. Many teens jumped at the chance to become a Farm Cadet, and to leave their homes in the cities and towns and to assist with the war effort by replacing the laborers who had enlisted in the military and gone to fight overseas. From April-September, students worked on farms throughout the state and, in order to receive academic credit for their contribution, wrote an account of their time spent as a Farm Cadet. In this essay, William Sogg talks about the time he spent as a cadet, working on a farm in Marcellus, New York, 1918.
Where did William work as a farm laborer?
How did William help on the farm? Provide textual evidence from the essay.
How did William feel about his work on the farm and the pay he received? Provide textual evidence.
How do you think William’s work impacted the war effort and the local economy? Explain your answer.
How did New York State regulate child labor in the early 20th century? What jobs were children permitted to do? Did the state set restrictions on the number hours children could work? For the purpose of labor, at what age was an individual considered an adult? How did these rules or lack of rules relate to the Farm Cadet Program? Would such a program be legal today? Explain why or why not.
Art: Draw an illustration to accompany William’s essay.
English Language Arts: Write an essay about a time in your life that you helped an individual or group of individuals. Use the same format found in William’s essay.
English Language Arts: Write a poem about William’s life as a farm laborer using information from his essay.
Gilbert, Martin. The First World War. Harper Collins: New York, 1995.