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William Penn was Born - This Day in History - October 14th

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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On This Day in History, October 14th, William Penn Was Born in 1644

Portrait of Young William Penn

William Penn was born on this day, October 14, 1644. Penn grew up in a very prominent English family, as his father, Sir William Penn, served as the Admiral of the English Navy. Penn's father was also incredibly wealthy and even loaned money to King Charles II to assist him in reclaiming the English throne after his father, King Charles I, had been executed during the English Civil War.

When Penn was fifteen, he met a Quaker missionary and learned about the Quaker faith. Penn came to admire the Quaker faith and while in college, Penn was unhappy to see Quakers persecuted and beaten. In time, Penn began to self identify as a Quaker and converted to the religion and began attending Quaker Meetings (the Quaker term for religious services) in 1666. Penn was arrested for attending Quaker religious services, and rather than denying he was Quaker to escape punishment, Penn proudly defended his religious beliefs. Penn's beliefs caused his father to kick him out of the house and withold his inheritance. 

Penn was persecuted and imprisoned multiple times for his Quaker beliefs. As Penn and the Quakers began to increasingly clash with the British Crown, Penn decided that it would be best if the Quakers left England. After Penn's father had died, he came into control of an incredible amount of money and assumed debts that King Charles II owed his father. Penn used his newfound wealth and leverage over King Charles II to found the Colony of Pennsylvania in 1682. Pennsylvania's forward thinking government and democratic ideals would help inspire the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

Although Penn perished nearly 60 years before America declared its independence, Penn had a large impact on the foundling of the United States of America through his creation and vision of the City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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