Minimum wage history began when sweat shops become increasingly popular throughout the United States. Manufacturing industries throughout the country relied on sweat shops as a way to acquire cheap labor and save money. This was before women gained a strong presence in the United States work force. Therefore, sweat shops would target women and younger individuals who needed an income to support themselves.
Since these individuals were not considered valuable to most employers at the time, sweat shops were able to employ these individuals for very little money. The lack of opportunities available for women and other marginalized individuals forced them to accept the wages offered by sweat shops that were operating in the United States. In order to help control the expansion of sweat shops and ensure that all individuals were provided with fair compensation, the United States government proposed federal wage determination legislation, which is known as minimum wages.
The first federal wage determination law was established in 1938 and the minimum wage was set at 25 cents. There was an extensive amount of debate regarding the creation of a minimum wage law. Many individuals argues that this would have little affect on improving poverty rates.
However, the wage determination laws have remained in affect since the were passed decades ago. Throughout minimum wage history, the specified minimum wage has continuously increased. Today, the minimum wage is much higher than it was 1939, in order to compliment the substantial increase in the cost of living.