Social Movements and Reform in Industrializing America

Social Movements and Reform in Industrializing America

In “Social Movements and Reform,” educators investigate Lowell’s textile industry as a case study of early 19th-century industrialization and reform. We use synchronous and pre-recorded elements to tap the landmark resources of Lowell National Historical Park and other cultural/historical sites as we examine changes in work, society, and culture between 1820 and 1860. Educators learn about changes that led Lowellians, imbued with the ideals of the natural rights tradition, to engage in labor reform, women’s rights, and antislavery movements. We also look at nativism as a reactionary reform movement. An industrial city that formed the template for later industrial cities in the US, Lowell provides an ideal setting for historical inquiry. Through lectures, discussion, hands-on and field investigations, drama, and close study of primary, secondary, and literary sources, educators gain useful content knowledge and new pedagogical approaches.