Religious Terms and Groups

Inner Light– the light of Christ in the soul of every person. It is considered as a guiding force.

Orthodoxy-The following of the belief or doctrine approved by the faith to which one belongs.

Puritan– A member of a group of Protestants that arose in the 16th century within the Church of England, demanding the simplification of doctrine and worship, and greater strictness in religious discipline: during part of the 17th century the Puritans became a powerful political party.

Quaker– A member of the Religious Society of Friends, a Christian sect founded by George Fox about 1650, whose central belief is the doctrine of the Inner Light. Quakers reject sacraments, ritual, and formal ministry,hold meetings at which any member may speak, and have promoted many causes for social reform

The Religious Society of Friends– formal title for the Quaker religious movement

Secession– the act of formally withdrawing from an alliance, federation, or association.

Important People

Ann Austin-One of the original Quaker missionaries who went to Boston to convert Puritans. Her property, along with Mary Fisher’s, was destroyed marking the beginning of discrimination against Quakers in North America.

Oliver Cromwell-Oliver Cromwell took over as Lord Protector of England. He was a staunch Puritan

Charles I-Charles I was the ruler of England until he was deposed, tried, and executed in 1649. His policies were seen as too Catholic and he was oppressive towards Puritans, many of whom participated in the rebellion against him.

Charles II-The eldest son of Charles I. Charles II was restored to the throne after the death of Oliver Cromwell. He granted William Penn the charter that allowed him to found Pennsylvania.

James II-The second son of Charles I and brother of Charles II. He succeeded his brother but was extremely unpopular due to his Catholic beliefs and his favor towards other English Catholics. He abdicated in 1688 in favor of his daughter Mary and her husband William.

Mary Dyer-A Puritan who later converted to Quakerism. She was banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony and repeatedly threatened with execution. She returned anyway to give support to her fellow Quakers. She is the most well-known of the Boston Martyrs.

Mary Fisher– One of the original Quaker missionaries who along with Ann Austin had her property seized and destroyed for preaching in Boston. This is considered the beginning of systematic discrimination against Quakers in North America.

George Fox-The founder of the Quaker movement. He developed the concept of the Inner Light and simple dress. He was imprisoned many times for his beliefs.

William Penn-An early Quaker, William Penn became very active in the Quaker movement, befriending George Fox, and frequently lending aid to Quakers in need of legal assistance. He eventually received a charter from Charles II to colonize in what is now Pennsylvania.

William and Mary-These two Protestant monarchs succeeded James II after he was forced off the throne due to the dislike of his Roman Catholic beliefs and his policies that favored Catholics. Mary was James’ daughter. It was under these two monarchs that the Act of Toleration was passed in 1689 which allowed other sects of Protestantism to worship without fear of legal repercussion.

Important Places

Germantown-A town in the newly-founded Pennsylvania where the first anti-slavery document in North America was produced by Dutch-descended Quakers. Though it had little immediate effect, it did also set a precedent for Quaker opposition to slavery.

Pendle Hill-The place where in 1652 George Fox claimed he had a vision sent by God that inspired him to begin the Quaker movement.

Pennsylvania-The colony founded by William Penn a safe haven for Quakers. It was nicknamed the Holy Experiment. It was a colony founded on principles of religious freedom for all, elected government, and unbiased justice. It contained a sizeable Dutch and German population due to Quaker missionaries in the Netherlands.