In order to understand the social development of early Pennsylvania and the development of the American ideal of domesticity it is helpful to examine the distinctive nature of middling life in seventeenth-century northwestern Britain, where Quaker organization was developed, primarily by George Fox and Margaret Fell, and from where a significant number of the early Pennsylvania settlers came. Historians, using evidence primarily from southeastern England and New England, have developed persuasive generalizations about seventeenth-century British middling families. These are misleading, however, in reference to northwestern society, Quakerism, and Pennsylvania. Historians have shown that a middling society emphasizing household autonomy developed in southeastern England by the early seventeenth century. Some have argued that domesticity originated as a modification of this household tradition. 1 Northwestern Quakers accepted middling northwesterners' emphasis on human relations, for neither Quakers nor typical northwesterners could afford alternative institutions. On the other hand, northwestern Quakers developed their family ideal in bold opposition to the customs of their native region. These tensions help explain why the Quakers were the first to develop a form of domesticity as part of their religion and why Anglo-American domesticity originated in remote and rugged terrain.