Lowell Mills

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Thomas Dublin in “Women, Work, and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills”

In Thomas Dublin’s article, “Women, Work, and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills,” he talks about the conditions of factories. He describes the work and the personal problems that women endured working in factories during the Industrial Revolution. Lowell was originally a rural area. “In 1820, there had been no city at all-only a dozen family farms along the Merrimack River in East Chelmsford.” (Dublin 264). A year later, a group of Boston capitalists brought began to build a major textile factory. Two years later, the factory opened, it mostly employed mostly women from the rural area. The women at the mills protested the unfair conditions at the mill many times.

First, the women working in the factory were underpaid. The factory and the women working in the factories were extremely efficient which caused the factory to overproduce cloth. The price of cloth began to decrease. “The high profits if the early years declined and so too, did conditions for the mill operatives. Wages were reduced and the pace of work within the mills was stepped up.” (Dublin 265). The women worked together to decide how to fix the wage cut problem. They tried to ask to the managers to restore the original wages but the managers did not listen. “In 1834 and 1836, they went on strike to protest wage cuts (Dublin 265). The strike went on for months but still the managers did not give in to the protests. The mills provided the women with food and shelter and the women knew that they would not be able to get that at another job. Some of the women decided to quit while the women who were desperate for money, had no choice but to stay.

Next, the conditions in which the women worked and lived in were terrible. The average women would work 73 hours a week. “Between 1843 and 1848 they mounted petitions campaigns aimed at reducing the hours of labor in the mills” (Dublin 265). Their petitions had no effect on...
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