By William J. Frost
Using a wide selection of sources--laws, complaints, church documents, sermons, political tracts, diaries, newspapers, and executive records--Frost lines the advance of non secular freedom in Pennsylvania from the founding of the colony as much as global struggle II.
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Extra info for A Perfect Freedom: Religious Liberty in Pennsylvania
Led a minority among Quakers seeking to purify Quaker meetings by tightening enforcement of the discipline of Friends on marriage to nonmembers, simplicity in dress and speech, and freeing slaves. The war served as an opportunity for these weighty Friends to bring sufficient pressure through the Yearly Meeting on those Quaker assemblymen who voted for the war tax and the militia either to resign or not stand for reelection in 1756. 47 In 1758 the Yearly Meeting publicly rebuked all the political Quakers still within the assembly.
46 The power of the English government to shape the pattern of Pennsylvania's religious and moral customs was most vividly demonstrated in the reaction to the Pennsylvania laws of 1700—1. Penn's grant of a new Frame of Government in 1701 necessitated passing again a complete system of laws and most of the 1682 Great Law of Chester was repassed. This time the newly formed Board of Trade insisted upon exercising the charter provision that all of the colony's laws be reviewed within five years. In 1705 the Board acted and of the 114 laws passed (of which 105 were submitted), only 50 survived.
The disagreement began over a theological disagreement between George Keith, a well-educated and prominent Quaker minister, and other less sophisticated Friends. Before it ended, a substantial minority of Friends in New Jersey and Pennsylvania declared disunity, a vigorous pamphlet war exposed several Quaker theological tenets and political practices to close scrutiny, and the bitter dispute shattered the religious unity of the colony. The issue of religious liberty emerged when the magistrates arrested George Keith, his supporter John McComb, and Andrew Bradford, the only printer in the colony.