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William Penn

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William Penn

William Penn and the Quakers


The Quakers, also known as the Society of Friends was religious group that founded Pennsylvania. William Penn, one of the leaders, worked with the Quakers, Indians and the other population to make an ideal world for him, his followers, and the other people in his environment. With his efforts, and the help of others, the Quakers left a huge impact on Pennsylvania and the entire nation.

The Quakers are a religion that originated in England in protest of the Anglican Church's practices. The man in charge of this religious revolution was George Fox.1 He believed that God didn't live in churches as much as he lived in

people's hearts.2 In that state of mind, he went out into the world in search of his true religion. He argued with priests, slept in fields, and spent days and nights trying

to find followers. His first followers were mostly young people and women.

Besides freedom of religion, they wanted freedom of speech, worship and assembly,

refusal to go to war or take oath, and equality of the sexes and social classes.3

In England, between the years of 1650 and 1700, more than 15,000 Quakers

were fined and/or imprisoned; 366 were killed.4 The reason why the Quakers were

put through such torture was because their beliefs and culture was different from the

Anglican Church. At that time, any religion that was practiced in England other than

the Anglican Church would be persecuted. They believed that religion shouldn't be

practiced in a church as much as in your heart. The differences that were between the

Quakers and the Anglican Christians was that the Anglicans practiced strict discipline

in their prayers. They would go to prayer every morning, and ask for forgiveness of

their sins. They believed that the sacred authority was the Bible, the only way to

make your way to heaven was to go to sermon; they should glorify God in the world;

and pay no attention to the irrationality of God. They didn't believe men could

achieve anything for themselves; only God could do that. The Quakers, on the other

hand, believed that God should be in your spirit, not in sermon, and that your sacred

authority shouldn't be a book, it should be your inner light, the force that drives you

through you life. They believed you shouldn't be servants of God, but to be friends of

God. They believed violence was an unnecessary part of life, and things could be

worked out in other ways.5 The Quakers thought the authority of God was absolute,

but didn't need to be preached at a formal meeting as much as the Anglican Church

believed that should happen.

In 1661, William Penn was introduced to Quakerism. He had been studying at

Christ Church in Oxford. He started to notice that he didn't believe in some of the

things that he was studying in his religion. So, he started to go to Quaker meetings,

and believe in that religion instead.6 In England, he was expelled from Oxford in

1662 for refusing to conform to the Anglican Church, so he moved on to

Pennsylvania in the "New World." In this new colony that he established, he set up a

freedom of worship. It became a retreat for many religious groups coming from

Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, and Great Britain.7 He decided to go to the New

World, but first he made a trip with Quaker leader George Fox. When they got there,

the construction from the plans of Penn's was already in progress. 8<...

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