The 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike: Part A

This question is based on the accompanying documents (1-7). The question is designed to test your ability to work with historical documents. Some of the documents have been edited for the purposes of this question. As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source of each document and any point of view that may be presented in the document.

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.


Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document in Part A. Your answers to the questions will help you write the essay in Part B, in which you will be asked to:

  • 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.

Part A: Short-Answer Questions

Directions: Analyze the documents and answer the short-answer questions that follow each document in the space provided.


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