SESSION II: QUAKERS
Overview: Called "Quakers" by enemies. Established late 1640's - 50's England
• Message: you don't need anything but inside yourself to find salvation
your inward light/conscience/soul: Divine spark in every person
• Rejected all institutional forms
• Almost rejected the Bible
• Perfect movement for a government and state that are fully separate.
• Very unstructured religion - anybody can preach.
-believers sat in silence until someone had a thought
• In the beginning were very confrontive of others - shouting out in front of other
churches - walked through streets and into other Churches naked - harassed
other church members
- aggressive, enthusiastic energized primarily in British Isles
- everyone can be saved
• Don't need ministers or the Bible
I. Arrived in New England 1656 - Persecuted: women were imprisoned where they were
Searched for witches teats (any protrusion of the body).
A. Galvanized around New England to tell the truth about God - where they
were most opposed.
B. Mass Bay: saw Quakers as witches - were executed
1. Passed Banishment Law
2. Executes 4 Puritans 1659-1661 on Boston Common
C. Intolerance in New England
1. Silent dissent - sought counseling to help.
2. Left Mass Bay - Quakers became the symbol of Puritan Intolerance.
D. Quakers undergo changes - 1660 at the time of the Restoration in England
1. Reinstated the Church of England
2. Suppressed other religious groups - driven into hiding
3. Church of England: Dissenters quasi-legal but can't hold public office
4. Quakers wanted this quasi-legal status - stated they wouldn't fight to
unseat King (Pacifists) - signal to the King of some type of support in
exchange for their quasi-legal status.
5. Established Weekly Meetings to reform Quakers, then Monthly,
Quarterly, and Yearly in larger areas.
6. Designated certain people as "ministers" - more than Puritans
7. Movement to become more stable with defined structure
E. Collected sufferings from member - how persecuted. Publications described
Martyrs and Martyrdom
F. Puritans presented as their persecutors
G. Attracted elite converts: William Penn, son of William Penn, Sr. was given
Pennsylvania as payment for debt owed his father
H. William Penn - Quaker
1. Well educated, with body of theology
2. List of witnesses
3. Founds major middle colony - Pennsylvania
II. Pennsylvania - Middle Colony -1664
A. Granted to Penn as a Proprietary (King's brother Duke of York was given
New York 1664)
1. No religion established: people given freedom would become Quaker
2. Relations with Indians good (Quakers were Pacifists and wouldn't fight)
Lived in harmony with Indians.
B. No required military duty
C. Created a very diverse environment (not intentionally)
1. Germans, Dutch, French recruited to establish colony
D. Quaker Elite - ran the Colony
1. Diverse ethnic make-up: Scots, Dutch Huguenots
E. Really the Middle Colonies that developed American Exceptionalism
F. Good relations with Indians resulted in Indians moving into backcountry
setting up conflicts with the settlers. Eventually conflicts with French and
Indians. Penn put it off due to his tolerant policies.
G. Lid was kept on tensions - no need for military then - but more as time went by.
III. Reform Social Movements
A. Original Plan
1. Quaker Elite held office
2. Governor, assembly, Governor's Council
B. 18th Century - began to compromise Quaker Principles
1. 1689 War French/British
2. Colonists provide men, supplies, support
3. Quakers voted money for "King's Purposes" to avoid direct fighting
4. Quakers withdrew from public life to avoid further compromise
5. Caused a split between those who wished to stay in government and
most who chose to withdraw from government offices.
6. 1756 colony ceases to be a "Quaker" colony. Principles over compromise
- greater commitment to social activism.
C. Push on question of slavery.
1. Personally cannot own slaves
2. Takes a long time to get a consensus decision to making slavery illegal.
D. 18th Century made the Decision
1. Either leave the religion or manumit slaves
2. In Virginia, illegal to manumit, so Quakers moved to the Ohio Valley
and then manumit their slaves.
E. Slave Trade?
F. 1789 Pennsylvania Manumission Society- advocates for freedom of slaves
1. Documented freemen (blacks) to avoid slavery or being sent South.
2. Got freemen out of jail
3. Philadelphia is magnet for free Black population
G. African Methodist Episcopal (AME) founded in Philadelphia
H. Mainstay of Abolitionist Movement - Quakers' background, environment of
Activism, and anti-slavery philosophy.
I. Very influential in other reform movements 18th and 19th Century: Prisons,
J. Center of Quakerism shifted to North American
K. Quakers became businesspeople in England
L. QUAKERS BEST EXAMPLE OF PURITAN WORK ETHIC
Reputation for sobriety, not swearing - word is good - they may "affirm"
no "oaths." Plain style.
IV. Significance: Compare New England to Middle Colonies
A. Traced to religious principles
1. Commitment to religion
2. Best example of religious liberty: U of Penn 1st Secular University
3. Quakers not committed to higher education -saw no need - just relied
on "inner light."
4. Much higher role for women: ministers were men and women (Pairs of)
Grimke Sisters, Lucretia Mott
C. Rhode Island: eclectic religions opposed to coercion
1. Roger Williams: The Church will be tainted by the State. Leave true
D. Maryland: 1649 Tolerance Act: Intended to protect Catholics against other
Groups. Illegal to call Catholics names.
1. Catholic haven but no established Catholic Church
E. Quakers struggled to live up to stated values of society - they saw slavery as
not living up to the Declaration of Independence.
F. Faced Puritan intolerance
1. Quakers and witches who lived near Salem persecuted