Introduction

There is nothing sacred about a 40-hour workweek. Historically, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s, workweeks for the production of goods and services were six days long, and hours were more than ten per day.1 The 70- to 72-hour workweek was common, with Sunday a holiday and work going from dawn to dusk during the six workdays of the week. In agriculture, the main sector of employment in the 19th century, the workweek was probably shorter for actual work in the fields, but longer overall because of additional work needed on the farm and to provide daily food and housing needs. Unfortunately, no separate record exists for the workweek in the agriculture ...

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