The first eight-hour day in America was instituted for federal employees in public work projects in 1868.
Before the law was passed, an average workday could run 10 to 12 hours.
In 1867, the Illinois state legislature had passed a law proclaiming the eight-hour day to be “the legal workday in the state.”
But the law lacked enforcement procedures and employers refused to follow it.
Strikes against company owners were eventually suppressed and workers soon resumed a 10-hour day.