The Lowell Mills Essay

1676 words - 7 pages

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 women made the best of their opportunity to become working ladies in a changing economy.There were many different viewpoints as to whether or not women should be working in mills. The typical stereotype of women in these days was that every "true" woman was a "lady" who behaved in certain ways because of her female nature. God intended for men to be superior to women. Women had the reputation as being the parent who stayed at home, cooked meals for the family, and took care of the kids. It was the same case in the bigger cities except men were the ones who worked in the office. Women were expected to create a pleasant environment at home where men could come home and "escape from their worldly struggles to be fed, clothed, comforted, and nursed." They were counted upon to use their so-called "natural talents" of sewing, cooking, cleaning, and flower arranging to prepare and maintain the household. People believed that women were put on earth to maintain and preserve the house. It was assumed by Americans that women were the spiritual uplifters for the men. That is why people were opposed to women leaving the house and getting an education at a higher level. They thought that if they did go into a different environment then they would be led stray...

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