The Quakers, also known as the Society of Friends, was considered to be a new and radical religious group that had been founded in England in the offs by George Fox which found its way to Pennsylvania. This religious group protested the Anglican Church’s practices.
The members of the Religious Society of Friends came to be known as “Quakers” during a trial in seventeenth-century in England, “they trembled at the word of God” (Breathiest 45). This description of the Society of Friends is given by one Quaker leader George Fox “George Fox believed that God didn’t eve in churches as much as he lived in people’s hearts” (Breathiest 33).With that idea in mind, he went out into the world in search of his true religion. The Quakers became disheartened with religious hierarchy, corruption, and excessive formalism in doctrine, elaborate rituals in religious ceremonies, and the domination of the church by the state.
Fox argued with priests, slept in fields, and spent days and nights trying to find followers. His first followers were mostly young people and women. The Quaker faith is simple and rests on absolute sincerity.
Quakers believe that God can be approached and experienced by the individual directly without any intermediary priest or preacher.They believe that God is experienced through the Inward Light. Nash stated that, “The Inward Light is what Quakers call that of God in every man” (81 This Inward Light practices the conscience as the guide of life. They believe that this Inward Light exists in all men and women. The Quaker belief also is characterized by what is referred to as the “plain” language. The “plain” language means refusing to use “you,” or the plural form in addressing a person. “Quakers went back to biblical Christianity and used thee” and “thou” (Barbour 26).
They also referred to names of the months and days of the week as “First-day for Sunday or Fourth-day for Wednesday, or the Second-month for February’ (Barbour 7). The Quakers were the first religious group to allow women to speak in public worship. “Quakers granted women spiritual equality with men, allowing them to preach, hold separate prayer meetings, and exercise authority over “women’s matters” ( The American Journey 39). They insisted on the spiritual equality of the sexes and the right Of women to participate in church matters on a separate, but equal toting with men.This freedom of equality would later be seen in our history with the Nineteenth Amendment. The Quakers laid the foundation for women such as Susan B. Anthony who was raised as a Quaker played a virtual role in the Women Rights-Suffrage Movement.
She along with other strong advocates participates in the Suffrage Movement. She also actively lobbied for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Penn made his final decision to become a Quaker in 1667 while he was in Ireland. He worked for religious toleration and political liberty in England.There he was persecuted and imprisoned for an idea which was almost unheard of during that period in history. “He was imprisoned six times for speaking out courageously. While in prison, he wrote one pamphlet after another, which gave Quakers a literature and attacked the intolerance” (Powell).
“In 1681, Penn obtained a charter from Charles II as Proprietary off new colony in North American” (The American Journey 38). Upon arriving in Delaware Bay in late October 1 682, Penn went about beginning a new colony. Penn believe that state and church were two different matters and should be treated as such.William Penn drafted different laws one was “the Holy Experiment in which the colonists were required to live “as Neighbors and friends” with the Indians as well as with one another” (The American Journey 39). This gave way to all who lived in Pennsylvania Civil liberties, religious freedom and complete opportunity to live a life of freedom. Breathiest stated that William Penn in 1701 “granted the Charter of Privileges which gave the people a stronger voice in government resulting in giving the colonists a great deal of self-governing power” (9). It also guaranteed religious toleration o all who resided there.
William Penn became the spiritual leader of the Quakers in their “New World” which made up the vast majority of his colony’s population. Quakers were referred to as pacifists because of their strong dislike for violence. They believe in peaceful relations with all mankind they were the first known hippies of their days. Because of this strong belief, Penn signed treaties with the Indians. He purchased settlement rights from them instead of just taking land. He promised strict regulation of the Indian trade and a ban on the sale of alcohol to the Indians.Long after Penn left his colony n 1 701 the people lived in the tradition of fair treatment and genuine regard of each other’s religious beliefs and wide spread cultures.
The Quakers policy of toleration, liberal government, and peaceful existence attracted many immigrants to the colony. Peen’s ideals, values and sense of fairness have played an important part fatwa America is today. Our society has been trying to accomplish the ideals of William Penn and the Quakers way of life in many different ways over the centuries. We seem to fall short because of our greed and egos.We have interpreted many of our forefather’s ideas and reams for America in ways that are similar to the Quakers way of thinking. We continuously search for equality of all people whether they are men, women, children, whether they are black, white, Mexican, Native American, or Iranians. Our society has learned that women can be a productive part of society.
Whether they choose to raise children or choose to become an important part of the work force or both. At one time in the past it was an unthinkable thought of a woman being anything but a mother or another set of hands to help around the home.