Women and Political Patronage in the Politics of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Document Type


Publication Date



Natalie Zemon Davis first put forth the thesis that women were increasingly subjugated over the course of the early modern period, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.1 This subjugation resulted from the processes of state-building and capitalism. Within the patriarchal family itself, subjugation resulted from family centralization, necessarily for "more efficient property acquisition, social mobility, and preservation of the line." Subjugation proceeded at such a pace that by the eighteenth century, "married women in France and England had largely lost what independent legal personality they had formerly had, they had less legal right to make decisions on their own about their dowries than at an earlier period, [and] propertied women were involved less and less in local and regional political assemblies."2

This document is currently not available here.