Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Primary Sources - Workshop in American History Workshop 3 - The Lowell System home sitemap
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The Lowell System
Explore The Lowell System  by examining the original documents and images of the period
marker image Before You Watch

Read these documents and examine these images before watching the video

marker image Lectures and Activities

Plan your workshop using these charts of video transcripts & professional development activities

marker image Classroom Applications

Ideas to take back to your classroom

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Additional print and Web resources


In the earliest days of American industry, the Boston Manufacturing Company created an innovative, single-location manufacturing enterprise at Lowell, Massachusetts, that depended on the recruitment of women millworkers. Using primary source documents, you can examine the changing face of gender, class, and labor in the 1830s and 1840s through the lens of the Lowell System and determine if Lowell was a real opportunity for working women or a dead end.


To gain a deeper understanding of historical content through reading and discussing primary source documents.

To examine the motivation of the industrialists who created the Lowell manufacturing enterprise.

To understand the daily lives of women in a typical mill town of the 1830s and 1840s, including work environment, boardinghouse living, paternalistic rules, moral codes, and social dynamics.

To probe whether Lowell was an opportunity or a limiting experience for young women.

To explore the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society and examine the roots of American capitalism.

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