Lowell Mill Girl: A Life of Personal Responsibility

Harriet Hanson Robinson never let a group define her.
Harriet Hanson Robinson never let a group define her.

When does having a sense of group consciousness stand in the way of personal responsibility and self-actualization?

“Harriet called the mill her “Alma Mater,” and felt that its “incentive to labor” and the discipline of the work were of great value. “We were taught daily habits of regularity and of industry; it was, in fact, a sort of manual training or industrial school.”

Girls in this position did not see themselves as members of the working class–the term and concept working class was an invention of industrialism that was still in formation in the 1830’s. Group consciousness was absent from these girls, who viewed their stay in the mills as temporary, a stepping stone to a better life or else a deliberate sacrifice for others. Rather than improve the lot of all workers, they hoped to rise above it, individually.”  from A Good Poor Man’s Wife by Claudia  L. Bushman

Identifying with a group in our day seems to bring strife and irrational blaming of other groups. Wonder what the mill girls would say.

READ MORE ABOUT MILL GIRLS:

LOWELL MILL GIRLS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s