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William Penn and Colonial Pennsylvania

            During the Reformation of the seventeenth century, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), led by George Fox, created their own denomination based on the belief that God is present as an, "Inner Light," in each person. This Quaker thought flowed from George Fox to William Penn and led to inspire him to establish a haven for Quakers and persecuted groups. The British King owed the young Penn's father 16,000 pounds for a war he helped finance and unpaid salary. During that period, Quakers were persecuted in England for refusing to attend the services of the Anglican Church by the Act of Uniformity 1559, and forbidden from holding their own religious meetings through the Conventicle Act of 1664. Thus, after his father's death, William Penn asked for the money to be paid in land in the New World. Thus, he was granted his claim, and, influenced by many factors, the new colony was born. The culture of Quakers, common people's lack of social rights, the growing desire for fair governance in Europe, and unlimited opportunity in the New World enabled the creation of something new in history, a government to serve and guarantee rights for citizens. Founder William Penn's policies became one of the most impactful influences in the later formation of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the United States as a whole. William Penn's conviction of the importance of rights and freedoms, mentioned in many of his speeches such as, "The Governor's Speech." His leadership in formulating the governmental principles and structure of his, "Holy Experiment," in Pennsylvania laid his legacy.
             William Penn led his colony through Charters and Frames that were meant to create an elected rather than an appointed government which guaranteed rights, modern Americans have come to hold dear. The Frame of 1682 constituted a bicameral parliament, inspired to a certain extent by the British model, consisting of two houses: an upper house and a lower house.

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