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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 6, Issue 2, Fall 2014

Jeffrey B. Webb
Pages 7-30

Pennsylvania’s Promotional Literature and the Cultivation of Quaker Civility in the Early Modern Atlantic World

Between 1681-1725, several Quaker writers promoted settlement in Pennsylvania to English and continental readers. This promotional literature attempted to persuade investors to support the venture, and to attract potential emigres to settle in the province. These texts described the landscape as having been improved by Quakers through clearing the land, laying out farms and towns, and refining the built environment. This widely circulated image of an improved landscape joined with other writings to refute the charge that Quaker incivility disqualified Friends for government during a volatile era of English politics. Pennsylvania’s improvement gave weight to the claims of William Penn and others that Friends deserved not only religious toleration in England but political authority as well, in the American provinces and throughout the Atlantic World.

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