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The Amish in Illinois Essay

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Who are the Amish? Some may respond by simply saying people who ride in buggies and men who have beards. However, according to Clyde Browning, the author of Amish in Illinois they are “… a humble people living close to the teachings of the Bible and close to the soil, a people intent on clinging to the ways brought by their ancestors from Europe.” (pg xv, 5). There is a large population of Amish in Illinois who have had a great influence on the surrounding communities because of their religious beliefs and way of life. They have evolved to keep their traditions alive.
The Amish are one of many denominations that resulted from radical Reformation in 16th century Europe. Groups that came from the radical Reformation are known as Anabaptists. The Anabaptists believe in adult-baptizing and separation of church from state. These beliefs set them apart from the teachings of Catholics and Protestants. These groups were totally against adult-baptizing. The Amish religion itself arose from a disagreement among the Swiss Mennonites in 1693. It was founded in Switzerland by the teachings of Jakob Ammon. He and several others became unhappy and eventually split from their parent Mennonite Church (The Amish 8). They craved a more strict and simplistic lifestyle. They wanted to return to the original beliefs and practices. They also believed the process of shunning. They came together and formed a group that rejected wars, materialism and frivolity (Amish 3).
Many Amish communities were formed in Switzerland, Alsace, Germany, Russia and Holland (The Amish 8). The Amish immigrated to North America in search of religious freedom (Amish 3). Those who chose to stay ended up joining back with Mennonite groups (The Amish 8). They settled in southea...


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...ver, in their homes they still live without electricity and use a horse and buggy for transportation for their own personal needs (Discover and Learn 1).
The Amish are more than just “a group who travel around in buggies and men who have beards”. They are a people who craved a more strict and simplistic lifestyle and people who cling strong to their past provided by their ancestors. They are ones who value simplicity and living their life at a slow pace. The large population of Amish in Illinois has a great influence on the surrounding communities. They provide a large population of tourists because of their interesting lifestyle. They also provide the tourists/outsiders with products such as their fresh baked goods and their handmade furniture. Because of their adaptation to social change they have been able to preserve their faith for such a long period of time.



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