Mill girls in lowell, masachusetts Essay

Mill girls in lowell, Masachusetts

            The Industrial Revolution has played an important role in the economic development of the United States of America. This event pertains to the change from the mode of production that heavily relied on hand and home towards the use of machines and factory. Nevertheless, despite the emergence of various tools and machineries, there are still people who are part of the labor force of the country that is responsible in running these new inventions. During the time of the Industrial Revolution, women are also included in the working population of the country and this is best exemplified by the Mill Girls in Lowell, Massachusetts.[1]

            The emergence of numerous manufacturers entails that they need more people in order to work for their factories. The decreasing work that is done at home, as well as the search of women to look for alternative ways to contribute to their household economy, paved the way for them to work in factories. However, tensions took place because of the moral imperative that working women bring because initially, their role is to keep the home intact through wifehood and motherhood. Being the case, Francis Cabot Lowell thought of a way to address this problem. He convinced young single daughters of farm families to fulfill their responsibilities to their family through hard work away from home. These girls worked for the mill that was opened in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1821.[2]

            At first, the mill girls were able to experience a relatively good working situation with supervised boardinghouse and high salary. Unfortunately, as the cost of production became higher and the manufacturers want their capital back, the mill girls have to undergo exploitative labor. They were required longer hours or work and their compensations were relatively decreased. The mill girls organized themselves into the Female Labor Reform Association in order to fight for their rights. Unfortunately, the manufacturers decided to hire foreign laborers that will agree to cheap labor. As a result, the American mill girls were gradually replaced by foreign workers that were less bothered by long working hours and low compensation rates. [3]


Flanagan, Alice K. The Lowell Mill Girls. Minnesota: Compass Point Books, 2006.

Kelly, Martin “Overview of the Industrial Revolution.” American History (2001).

Database on-line. Available from

Kessler-Harris, Alice. Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview. New York:

            Feminist Press, 1981.

[1] Martin Kelly, “Overview of the Industrial Revolution,” American History (2001) [database on-line]; available from

[2] Alice K. Flanagan, The Lowell Mill Girls (Minnesota: Compass Point Books, 2006), 5-8.
[3] Alice Kessler-Harris, Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview (New York: Feminist Press, 1981), 58-62.