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History

Pennsylvania

2016

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The Best Poor Man's Country?: William Penn, Quakers, And Unfree Labor In Atlantic Pennsylvania, Peter B. Kotowski Jan 2016

The Best Poor Man's Country?: William Penn, Quakers, And Unfree Labor In Atlantic Pennsylvania, Peter B. Kotowski

Dissertations

William Penn’s writings famously emphasized notions of egalitarianism, just governance, and moderation in economic pursuits. Twentieth-century scholars took Penn’s rhetoric at his word and interpreted colonial Pennsylvania as nothing less than “the best poor man’s country,” as reflected in the title of one of the most popular histories of the colony. They also imagined a world where all men had access to economic opportunity and lived free from the barbarity endemic to Atlantic world colonies. Despite this halcyon vision of the Peaceable Kingdom, the reality was the opposite: a colony where religious convictions justified what we today ...