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Colonial Pennsylvania

Essay by   •  January 16, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  702 Words (3 Pages)  •  927 Views

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Pennsylvania

During the times of the colonies, the Anglican Church in England was starting to be questioned. People began to reject the Church and sail over to the colonies to seek a change in their lives and be free to believe what they wanted. One of these people was William Penn.

William Penn was brought up in the Anglican Church, but believed differently. He joined the Religious Society of Friends, otherwise known as the Quakers, when he was 22 years old. Penn's views got him imprisoned with the law when he wrote his tract "The Sandy Foundation Shaken" in 1668. He criticized the doctrine of the church saying, "If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by him.... Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." He was sent to jail numerous times after also because of his religious views. The king gave him a land grant in order to pay off a debt that the king had owed Penn's father. Penn took this opportunity to get out of England and move to the colonies to start his own religious colony of Pennsylvania.

The social structure of Pennsylvania differed from all the other colonies. According to the Quaker religion, everybody is equal and all religions are tolerant. There wasn't much of a class structure because everyone was considered equal. Even women and other minorities were treated like everyone else. The Quakers did not make distinctions on gender, race, or ethnicity. This was unlike every other colony because all the other colonies had an upper class, lower class, and slaves. There were very few slaves because of the Quaker's equality, but there were others who needed slaves to work for them. Pennsylvania was a haven for people of any religion because they would not be persecuted for their beliefs. Coverture applied to Pennsylvania like the other colonies. It was when a man and woman got married and there rights to land and money became equal. Anything that was considered his or hers would have been considered theirs after marriage. This still happens in today's world, too.

Having so many different people go to Pennsylvania for their beliefs provided an extremely diverse community and economy. The colony made money and survived by trading and farming. Philadelphia was the major trading city because of its location, right on the Delaware River. They had many small farms that grew crops such as wheat, corn, and dairy products. There wasn't a need for slaves to work on these farms because they were not huge plantations like in the Southern Colonies. The only slaves in Pennsylvania would be used for manufacturing purposes; they made things such as textile, paper, and ships. In 1700, it was said that one out of every ten Philadelphians owned slaves.

There were some problems that had developed during the time of the Pennsylvania colony. There were two houses of government,

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