Luddites Unite!

The Luddites were skilled craftsmen living during the Industrial Revolution. This group thought the new factories of the revolution were using the machines the wrong way, and also thought the workers were abusing their powers of machines. To protest the inaccurate use of these new machines, Luddites would break into factories and destroy the different machines. Sometimes they would even cross dress while protesting, the draw attention to what they were doing. The Luddites were protesting how the revolution was abusing the machines, and pushed for more fair wages and conditions for the people working with the machines. The letter below is from a skilled weaver living in the same time period as them; this artisan believes in what the Luddites are doing because they share the same beliefs that the factories are abusing their power of the machines.

This primary source is of a letter recruiting all weavers to unite against the factories and protest with the Luddites.

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Dear Cousin,

I hope everything is going well in America… you are missing so much here in England! I have already told you in recent letters about all the rising factories coming up here in London, but I have not yet told you about a group protesting these factories- the Luddites. These are skilled weavers (like myself) who are against the new factories because they believe these companies are abusing their power by creating unfair wages and conditions. These factories have been making my weaving business go down the drain. Because of all of the new factories, no one is coming to me more cloth because it is much cheaper to buy it from the factories. Even though people know that the factories force children to work long hours in dangerous conditions, they still buy cloth from them because it is cheaper than mine. I’m very worried that I will soon have to go work in the factories because I simply am not getting enough money from my own business. I am a supporter of the Luddites because I know where they are coming from. I understand how it feels to have your sacred craft be ruined by mass-producing cheap versions of it in factories. I will not go and raid factories with the Luddites because I know that the government has been killing them when this happens, but I will continue to show my support by trying to keep my weaving business going as long as possible. Wish me luck cousin, for I will need it. These factories are vicious.

Your struggling cousin,

Ellie

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