This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Patriarchy on the Gallows




Trevino, Ethan

Type of Degree





One of the most telling ways to examine society in the early modern era is to read the pleadings of the indicted. Typically taking the form of written petitions to the monarch, the pleadings are indicative of the place that they see for themselves in society. The two models that compete to define society in the early modern period are patriarchy and paternalism. Patriarchy is the imposition of societal roles that disadvantage women. This implies a top-down imposition of identity. Women are limited in this model and have little to no agency. Paternalism asserts that society is modeled on the family, with the monarch as the father figure. While it may appear to be a top-down approach similar to patriarchy, in reality, it implies more cooperation, as each person has a role within the family and, thus, within society. This thesis establishes that the workings of early modern English society is properly described by a paternal, not patriarchal model.