Motivation for westward expansion
The industrial revolution
In 1814, Boston Manufacturing Company began opening textile mills on the Charles River in Waltham, Massachusetts. Recognizing a need for dedicated workers, founder Francis Cabot Lowell began actively recruiting young New England farm girls to work for the company in the mills. The Lowell Mill Girls, as they came to be known, made up about three quarters of the workforce at the textile mills, a number unheard of for women employees at the time.
The Lowell Mill Girls ranged in age from about ten years old up to middle age, although most of the girls were in their early twenties.