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Title:Early American Quakers and the transatlantic community, 1700-1756
Author(s):White, Steven Jay
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Solberg, Winton U.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, History of
American Studies
History, United States
Abstract:The purpose of this dissertation is to reexamine the relationship between the American and English members of the transatlantic Quaker community during the first fifty-six years of the eighteenth century. The pursuit of unity dominated that relationship.
In the past, unity within the transatlantic Quaker community was attributed to certain political, socio-economic, religious, and cultural influences. But evidence suggests that the unifying power of such influences as itinerant ministers, epistles, and books has been overestimated. These influences could not insulate early American Friends from forces not present in Britain. Research reveals a transatlantic Quaker community rife with conflicts which reflected the differences that existed not only between English and American Friends but also between Quakers in the various regions of America. Quaker communities in New England, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are examined in light of the different influences present in each area. Included among these influences are the domination of Puritanism in New England, the preoccupation with governing in Pennsylvania, and the burden of slavery in North Carolina. Each of these factors was found to have a direct impact on the culture of these regions and the resulting religious beliefs of each group of Friends.
Among the primary sources examined were American and English meeting minutes, journals, epistles, letters, and other correspondence. The findings in these sources contradict many of the preconceptions upon which much of the previous scholarship about the transatlantic Quaker community was based. This dissertation refutes the belief that all Quakers were virtually indistinguishable from one another in the eighteenth century.
Thus in spite of a relatively strong transatlantic community, this dissertation suggests that early American Quakers developed distinctive cultures of their own during the second period of American Quakerism from 1700 to 1756. These differences foreshadow the great schism of American Quakerism in 1827 and reflect the separate roads that American Friends began to travel as early as the eighteenth century.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 White, Steven Jay
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9114459
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9114459

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