The Lowell Mills

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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The Lowell Mills Women Fight, for Their Right. . . to Work.

Re-write In the early 19th century, there were many different social and economic changes that were molding and shaping America into a nation. In addition to the many economic changes that were arising in our country, there was also a rise to the factory system. The population of New England expanded rapidly. There was an abundance of young men who moved west to find their own land on the frontier. This left many of the young women at home, thus leaving them as the prime targets of what the new factory systems could use as workers. Putting women to work outside the home was in great conflict to what people referred to as the "cult of true womanhood"� in the early nineteenth century. The "cult of true womanhood"� consisted of four main virtues: piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity.

By these standards, women were supposed to remain religious while they stayed at the boarding houses away from home. The women were expected to remain pure, which meant that a "true"� woman lost her virginity on her wedding night. They were supposed to be submissive to men and not engage in any arguments. Finally, women were intended to maintain the household. Their duties entailed taking care of the children, cleaning the house, and cooking for the family. The women had to go through a lot to gain the respect that they deserved for working in the mills. Most of the American population disapproved of women leaving the home and working in factories. Women made the best of their experiences at the mill by challenging those who thought that they were being immoral. Although a large portion of the American society disapproved of women working outside the home, the...