William Penn Beliefs

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Any person who has studied Pennsylvanian history knows that William Penn wanted his colony, his “Holy Experiment,” to act as a haven of religious tolerance for his fellow Quakers and other marginalized groups. However, Penn was a business man as well as a member of the Society of Friends, and he knew that acquiring land on which to settle Europeans was the only way to make his colony successful and profitable. In order to reconcile his financial need to continually expand his holdings in Pennsylvania and his belief (founded in the Quaker teachings which professed the equality of all persons) that Native Americans had a right to their lands, Penn made it clear that land in Pennsylvania would be bought from the Indians, not taken from them.…show more content…
Despite the fact that Penn’s heirs (none of whom shared the religious beliefs which apparently informed Penn’s policies) infamously failed to uphold his high moral standards for dealings with Indians, Native Americans continued to evoke “the same good spirit which possessed the good old Man William Penn.” In other parts of colonial America, encounters between Native Americans and Europeans were mostly categorized by violence and periods of uneasy peace. The religious beliefs on which Pennsylvania was founded prevented Europeans from settling the colony through war and conquest. However, relationships and expectations which this religious culture formed allowed for a different kind of conquest through political maneuvers and deceit.
The Walking Purchase is undoubtedly the most famous example of how the noble precedent set by Penn was promptly set aside by “Brother Onas” after his death. In some ways, the dishonesty and trickery used by the Penns in order to gain more land seem worse than the more blatant tactics used to dispossess Native Americans in other parts of the country, because the Penns were taking advantage of the fact that the Delawares had come to expect a certain level of fair treatment and honesty from
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