The Lowell System Case Study

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2. Technological developments increased the amount of product a factory could make and, in turn, increased the amount of labor that was needed for large factories, which led to women entering the workforce. Factories boomed due to the incoming industrial advancements, such as the loom, which came about in 1801. There was not a large enough amount of easily accessible manpower for these factories, as around ninety percent of Americans worked on farms. As farmers and their families began to head to the cities and other urban areas, the amount of workforce increased. Many factories hired entire families to work, allowing women to enter the work force. Factories, such as Lowell and Waltham, began to hire almost entirely young, unwed women. This system began to be called the Lowell System. These workforce changes affected how women were viewed from nurturer to a provider. However, some women worked when they were younger so that they could provide more using their income for their future children.
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The decline of the Lowell System due to market booms and busts, as well as immigration, affected the women’s living conditions and wages, causing many women to leave the workforce. The economic revolution caused markets to boom, but as more companies entered and competition became harsh, busts would occur. This greatly affected how much money companies had to use towards repairs, wages, and management. Many busts occurred, forcing manufacturers to stop maintenance of high living standards and working conditions, while lowering the amount of pay, and increasing work hours. As the influx of immigrants increased, factories could now turn to them for a new source of labor. These immigrants were used to Europe’s factory conditions, which were unsafe and unsanitary. Factories in the United States did not have to pay these people as high of wages and did not have to maintain conditions as much as they did with the native-born
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