the Tolerance of William Penn

Photo - William Penn     William Penn was perhaps not a good man during his lifetime of 1644 and 1718; however, he is good and important today without people realizing it. He created a large and important city at the time, which became the capitol for some years afterwards. Penn was a Quaker that had conformed from Puritan, and was expelled from Oxford for being so into his beliefs that he “attacked Anglican students” at the university. King Charles II owed the Penn family money, and gave them 45,000 acres of land, of which William Penn called Pennsylvania, Sylvania meaning “forest land.” Then he named the capitol Philadelphia, meaning “brotherly love.” William Penn created this city as a safe haven for the Quakers to have religious freedom, which was hard to come by: The Quakers were frowned upon and even whipped because of their beliefs.


A Quaker getting whipped by a Puritan in Colonial New England.

Penn brought them together and gave them places and congregations for them to have peace; churches all around Philadelphia gave them the safe haven they were looking for. In New England, Quakers were not tolerated whatsoever, and as expressed in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, they were chased and whipped. In Pennsylvania, however, one man made it all possible for commoners to embrace their beliefs and religious freedom. Today, there is more religious freedom in this country than there was back then, and if it hadn’t been for William Penn, who knows when freedom would have began to take place. He was a 17th century Jesus to the people who knew him.


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