Women, Work and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills

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Nisha MahaseProf. Larry Hartzell
July 25, 2012Hist 135

In “Women, Work and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills,” the author talks about the working life and it’s foundation in the early industrial revolution by talking about the Lowell Mill girls. During this time, America was undergoing a transformation from agricultural country to a powerful industrialized nation.

Today, men are holding more strenuous factory jobs but back in those days, women occupied them. Most women were between the ages of 15 to 30 and half of them were unmarried and about to leave their houses. Factory managers knew this and as a result, boarding houses were created especially for these women. This caused a strong sense of worker community. In their free time, the Lowell workers simply spent their time with their roommates and other tenants. This was the beginning of a chain reaction.

Dublin talks about how working in the factory was not easy. It was quite dangerous. The women who worked there had more than one task to complete. They may have held on certain duty but for many different machines. Because women had so much to do and worked long days, they became extremely fatigued. These factors were health risks for factory work. Also, the women accepted their pay because it paid for their houses and they still had some money for themselves.

Factories were extremely efficient, so they overproduced causing the value of the fabric they made to decrease. The managers decided to lower their wages which made the women angry. As Dublin stated that they were benefits for the women, this was one of the benefits which were their sense of community. They would come to depend on each other to reach their goals.

The author talked about how women would call special groups and meetings to discuss how to best solve the wage decrease problems. They talked about how they would approach their managers and tell them about how they dislike the wage cut and then they would plead...
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