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The Influence Of Religious Freedom By William Penn

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Thesis William Penn, in converting a personal belief in religious freedom into the basis for governing a colony and in time for the nation, proved that religious diversity was beneficial not detrimental to faiths, colonies, and countries. Background Penn voluntarily converted from Anglicanism to Quakerism at the ripe age of 22. His father being a highly decorated and wealthy English Admiral, Penn left behind when he became a Quaker and was punished with stints in prison multiple times for his beliefs. Having been a member of both the Anglican Church and the Society of Friends, Penn experienced the majority and repressed religious groups of his country. This duality of experience inspired a belief in freedom of conscience and the futility…show more content…
In his “Address to Protestants,” Penn poses a theoretical argument about the impossible task of restraining true religious belief, stating, “It is not in the Power of any Man or Men in the World, to sway or compel the Mind in Matters of Worship to God.” In a better-known writing, “The Great Case of Liberty of Conscience,” which was written by Penn in Ireland 1670, he argues man should not be “so ignorant as to think it is within the reach of human Power to fetter conscience, or to restrain its…show more content…
The next year, he crossed the Atlantic and framed the government for Pennsylvania, in which he applied his doctrine of religious freedom. He intended it to be a holy experiment, a model that could be applied to nations around the world. The Frame of Government stated that everyone who believed in God and did not disturb the peace would “in no ways, be molested or prejudiced for their religious persuasion, or practice, in matters of faith and worship, nor shall they be compelled, at any time, to frequent or maintain any religious worship, place or ministry whatever.” The focus for Penn was to guarantee the people of Pennsylvania the right worship God in whatever manner each individual felt was most fitting. Religious freedom in Pennsylvania could best be described by the word tolerance. This word describes the liberal attitudes held by members of other religious groups and an acceptance of an inherent right to hold differing beliefs. Religious diversity in the new colony was not an obstacle to overcome but an essential facet of society. Even with this inclusive attitude toward differing beliefs, many provincial Pennsylvanians continued to indentify and distinguish themselves upon religious lines. This religious categorization continued in the majority throughout the colonial
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