Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Nicholas Popper

Committee Members

Simon Middleton

Catherine Levesque


Presbyterianism’s founder, John Knox, wrote his infamous The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in 1558 arguing against female monarchs. Despite early modern Presbyterianism’s restriction of women’s formal religious roles, women used often conflicting rhetoric from the pulpit to negotiate a degree of power and autonomy. Rather than only being passive members of the Presbyterian Church, women often played an active role in the development and expansion of Presbyterianism between 1550 and 1690. This thesis will demonstrate how a study of women’s interactions with the Presbyterian Church outside of the kirk sessions, namely in their public, written and private lives, shows women as independent decision makers and involved participants in their religion throughout the first century and a half of Presbyterianism.