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‘This Great Privilege’
Female Status in Pennsylvania 1750-54 by Gottlieb Mitterberger

Gottlieb was scandalized throughout his account of life in Pennsylvania, that Quaker women conducted and judged religious debates and that English women seemed to be creatures apart, possessed of a preternatural privilege his German mind could simply not grasp. Gottlieb might be accused of over stating the case. But before we consider his charges, keep in mind that servant women were routinely purchased out of bondage by husbands. This extended to white men in Maryland in the 1800s buying black slave women and then freeing them and marrying them. Woman had it so much better in Plantation America than men that of 933 runaways listed in Maryland advertisements between 1728 and 1775, only 38 were female!

Gottlieb claimed:

“…it occurs oftener that the bride leaves her bridegroom together with the wedding guests in the church, which causes a cruel laughter…”

“…when a woman will not renounce her lover, they ride off and away together on one horse. And because women have greater privileges than men, the man must sit on the horse behind his beloved.”

Gottlieb goes on to explain that any woman that accused her husband of striking her would be honored by a mob of men. [1]

“I would rather beat three men in England than box a woman’s ears but slightly, and if such a thing is done by her own husband and she complains to her neighbors, his life is not safe.”

Also, that English women in Pennsylvania were very haughty, would not do any work and demanded to be provided for in style [2] and that English women are smarter and better looking than other women because they are pampered and nurtured in childhood rather than worked and that they never are exposed to the sun. [3] Additionally, a husband is not allowed to object to his wife throwing extravagant parties.


“In court the evidence of one woman is worth as much as that of three male witnesses. It is said they received this great privilege from Queen Elizabeth.”

“Such whips the women take with them when they ride into the country, into the city or in church; they keep them in their hands even in church… [3] An English servant woman, especially in Philadelphia, [2] is as elegantly dressed as an aristocratic lady in Germany.”


1. This female-fueled social behavior, and those below, as well as the constant use of the term bitch to describe a woman, were typical and Anglo-Irish and Anglo-American behaviors that have been kept alive by the African American population, as their identity has remained fixated on the slave experience due to the national narrative that objectifies their race as victims without agency, reflected in women being the power brokers of the African American demographic to this day.

2. Ostentatious dress and flamboyant entertainment are among the most certain inheritances bequeathed the African-American by the Anglo-American slave-owning elite.

3. Slave mistresses were universally regarded as the most cruel people by all slave narratives I have examined, Caucasian or African. Again, the national narrative of matriarchal martyrdom and absent black male agency has kept slave master brutality alive in the Black American population. Currently, black American women are the most likely Americans to beat children and also to use weapons with which to club or whip children or husbands.

So Her Master May Have Her Again

A History of Runaway White Slaves in Plantation America: Part Two

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