The Lowell Mill Girls

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The Lowell Mill Girls The Lowell Mill Girls were young, small town women. The mill girls turned cotton into cloth using machinery. This business was big in New England. This work gave women the opportunity to bring home extra income to support their families. These women had access to housing, food, and schooling. But was working for the Mill as great as it appeared to be? The Lowell system began in 1813. Francis Cabot Lowell created the mill and left it incredible financial health after just dying 4 years after starting his first mill. By 1830 more than 40,000 women were working for the mill. The work conditions were dreadful for the mill girls. Rooms were crowded, the machinery gave off loud noise, and their was no air circulation. Not only was the environment awful, but so were the hours and wages, on average $2.25 per week. Along with painful hours of non-stop work, the Lowell Girls had a strict set of rules to follow. One rule states that, “The buildings, and yards about them, must be kept clean and in good order; and if they are injured, other-wise than from ordinary use, all necessary repairs will be made, and charged to the occupant.” Not only did the women have to keep up with their jobs. They also had to keep up with cleaning the factories. Another rule states, “he company will not employ any one who is habitually absent from public worship on the Sabbath, or known to be guilty of immorality.” Women did not have the right to be entitled to their own beliefs. The Lowell Mill Girls were fed up with the mistreatment. They decided to protest. “One of the first strikes of cotton-factory operatives that ever took place in this country was that in Lowell, in October, 1836. When it was announced that the wages were to be cut down, great indignation was felt, and it was decided to strike, en masse. This was done. The mills were shut down..” The

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