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History of the Lowell Mill Girls

            America was changing and developing a strong economy through agriculture in the South and the West while the Northeast was moving towards an industrial revolution. Technology helped to speed agricultural growth and development with the invention of the cotton gin and the mechanical grain harvester (Tindall & Shi 2010). But, it also changed the economic foundation of America with factories. Technology changed not only how people lived but also how they worked. The factory system would have profound effects on the nineteenth century economic landscape, particularly in the Northeast (Tindall & Shi 2010).
             In 1822 the Merrimack Manufacturing Company in Lowell, Massachusetts invented a water powered plant that would bring spinning and weaving together in a factory setting. The city of Lowell began to grow and huge textile manufacturing companies were built and the economy was booming. The goal of the founders of the textile company was to establish mill communities that were family oriented and structured to accommodate the needs of the employees. They hired women preferably for their dexterity and acceptance of a lower wage than men. Many of these workers were young women who had little or no hope of getting married or finding a job. Men were heading out west, so young women needed to find work. Many of them came to work to help pay off the family debts, or to save money for education, or save money for a younger siblings education.
             When the mills first opened their goal was to accommodate the lives of their employees, they promised families these young ladies would be given decent wages, they would be taken care of with nice dormitories to live in and educational activities for them to participate in. They were also supervised and forced to attend church, curfews were strictly followed as well. These women were taught a trade many men didn't know. By 1830 pay for textile workers had dropped, and there were factories all over New England.

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