Historical Who is Who

PENN, William

1644 - 1718
United Kingdom + United States

William Penn was an international propagator of the principle of freedom of conscience and democracy which arose from his core beliefs as a Quaker. He campaigned actively and wrote extensively in their advocacy, being frequently imprisoned for his vehemence. Based on these beliefs he established Pennsylvania with a constitution designed to uphold them; they were basic to his meeting with Lenape Indians in his planned city of Philadelphia. Back in England, for over 30 years, legal, political, financial and theological tussles were his everyday experience. Based on his regard for the light which illuminates each and every human individual, he envisioned the development of a commonwealth of American Peoples and similarly of Europeans, each served by elected parliaments. The strange anomaly of his owning slaves in Pennsylvania may be explained by reference to the writings of Paul in the New Testament where all relationships including that of owner and slave are transformed by Christian love.`


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