Religion in the Thirteen Colonies

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Why did so many Quakers come to Pennsylvania?

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Quakers came to Pennsylvania in high numbers because Pennsylvania was specifically founded as a Quaker-accepting colony. England and other areas of Europe were not accepting of the Quaker faith as it was seen as something that undermined state and church authority. Persecution in England could lead to impoverishment and even...

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Quakers came to Pennsylvania in high numbers because Pennsylvania was specifically founded as a Quaker-accepting colony. England and other areas of Europe were not accepting of the Quaker faith as it was seen as something that undermined state and church authority. Persecution in England could lead to impoverishment and even death (though this was indirect rather than through a sentence). In the New England colonies Quakers could be subjected to corporal punishment or death for proselytizing.

William Penn was a convert to Quakerism. He had previously been wealthy and had high social standing. He convinced the King to grant him property in America as a way to protect Quakers both in the colonies and in England. After obtaining the royal charter, Penn was installed as Governor of Pennsylvania and included provisions for religious liberty and tolerance in the colony's founding documents. Quakers in the colonies and in Europe fled to Pennsylvania largely to escape persecution.

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