The Society of Friends

I. Origins: Seventeenth Century England

A. The Puritan Revolution of 1649

1. Execution of King Charles I, 1649

2. Oliver Cromwell establishes Puritan government

3. Puritan Church becomes England's state religion

B. The Dissenters: various lower-class groups

1. The Seekers

2. Informal groups of dissenters who did not believe the true church had arrived

3. Encouraged by prophets; met in peoples' homes in silence

C. George Fox (1624-91)

1. Preached to Seeker groups

2. Doctrine of Inward Light

3. Mystical visions

II. Quaker Beliefs: Summary

A. Inner light within all human beings

B. True Church is not a building

C.Status-leveling: all people are equal in their access to the inner light

D. Pacifism

E. Anti-sacramental and anti-clerical

F. Anti-authoritarian

III. The Restoration of the Monarchy, 1660-1689

A. Charles II (1660-1685)

1. Restoration of Anglican Church as State Church

2. Anti-Puritan Laws enacted

3. Anti-Quaker and other dissenter laws passed

a. Corporation Act, 1661: forbade Quakers from holding office or joining trades

b. Quaker Act, 1662: required loyalty oath to the King

c. Conventicle Act, 1664: no more than 4 persons can meet in a house for worship

d. Test Act, 1673: required loyalty oath to Anglican Church of all English citizens

B. Charles converted to Catholicism in 1675 and set off a new crisis

IV. The Glorious Revolution of 1689

A. A bloodless coup that threw Charles's heir James II off the throne in favor of James's sister Mary and her husband William (Protestants)

B. Declaration of the Rights of Englishmen (model for our Bill of Rights)

1. Protestantism established as state church of England

2.Catholics may not hold office, serve in Parliament, or own property in England

3.Englishmen, as embodied by Parliament, possessed certain immutable civil and political rights. These included:
freedom from royal interference with the law (the Sovereign was forbidden to establish his own courts or to act as a judge himself)
freedom from taxation by royal prerogative, without agreement by Parliament
freedom to petition the Monarch
freedom from a peace-time standing army, without agreement by Parliament
freedom [for Protestants] to have arms for defence, as allowed by law
freedom to elect members of Parliament without interference from the Sovereign
the freedom of speech in Parliament, * freedom from cruel and unusual punishments, and excessive bail
freedom from fines and forfeitures without trial

C. The Toleration Act of 1689 established religious rights for most Protestant dissenters (except for Unitarians!!)

V. Friends in America

A. Initially hostile to formal education but by the 19th century began founding Quaker colleges (17 in all)

1. Best known: Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Swarthmore, and Earlham

2. Originally founded as either finishing schools or to study the sciences (not theology nor for training ministers)

3. Most of these colleges incorporate large tracts of land to establish peaceful meditation retreats

4. All operate on consensus model

5. Earlham doesn't have bells or chimes to disturb the quiet mood