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The 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike

Part B: Essay

Directions:  Write a well-organized essay that includes an introduction, several paragraphs, and a conclusion.  Use evidence from at least five documents in the body of the essay.  Support your response with relevant facts, examples, and details.  Include additional outside information.

Historical Context:

On January 12, 1912, ten thousand woolen textile workers from almost forty different nationalities went on strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Begun by Polish women the previous day, the strike resulted from a pay cut implemented by the American Woolen Company when a state law went into effect that reduced the weekly hours that women could legally work. Mill operatives believed that they deserved a living wage - -a wage sufficient to support themselves independently of relief or charity -- and believed that they should benefit from recent gains in productivity that had been achieved through the use of machines. Through participation in this strike, they resisted employers' efforts to use the hours law to reduce their wages.

Task:

Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, write an essay in which you:

  • Describe the causes of the Lawrence textile mill strike.

  • Discuss the methods used by the workers and owners to achieve their goals.

  • Discuss the arguments for and against the strike.
 

Guidelines:

In your essay, be sure to:

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