Stories from PA History
Story Details
The Vision of William Penn
More than three hundred years ago, William Penn established a colony based upon his vision of religious tolerance, participatory government, and brotherly love. Penn's unique vision helped shape Pennsylvania and American history, and it continues to affect our lives today.

Continue the Story...
Bring this subject into focus through the following chapters. These stories take exploration of the main story further by providing more detail for you to learn and explore.

Overview: The Vision of William Penn
Chapter One: Europeans Before Penn
Chapter Two: Penn's Arrival
Chapter Three: Indian Relations
Chapter Four: Legacy of Toleration and Reform

Historical Markers In the Story
marker icon First Protest Against Slavery (Philadelphia) marker icon American Friends Service Committee (Philadelphia)
marker icon Bucks County (Bucks) marker icon Carlisle Indian Industrial School (Cumberland)
marker icon Carlisle Indian Industrial School [Vision of Penn] (Cumberland) marker icon Chester County (Chester)
marker icon Civilian Public Service (Philadelphia) marker icon Conestoga Indian Town (Lancaster)
marker icon Conrad Weiser (Berks) marker icon Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia)
marker icon Essex House (Delaware) marker icon Finland (Delaware)
marker icon Governor Printz Park (Delaware) marker icon Hannah Callowhill Penn (Philadelphia)
marker icon London Coffee House (Philadelphia) marker icon Lower Swedish Cabin (Delaware)
marker icon Mason-Dixon Line (York) marker icon Moses Tunda Tatamy (Northampton)
marker icon New Sweden (Delaware) marker icon Penn Landing (Delaware)
marker icon Penn Treaty Park (Philadelphia) marker icon Pennsbury (Bucks)
marker icon Pennsylvania Abolition Society (Philadelphia) marker icon Shikellamy (Northumberland)
marker icon The Aaronsburg Story (Centre) marker icon Thomas Holme (Philadelphia)
marker icon Tinicum (Delaware) marker icon Walking Purchase (1) (Bucks)
marker icon Walking Purchase (2) (Bucks)

Lesson Plans for this Story
Take your students back in history with these discussions and activities for the classroom

Story Bibliography

Original Documents
icon full text Queen Christiana, Land Deed to Captain Hans Ammundson Besk, 1653.
icon full text Charter of King Charles II to William Penn, March 4, 1681, iron gall ink on parchment.
icon full text Charter of King Charles II to William Penn, March 4, 1681.
icon full text William Penn, Excerpts from his "Frame of Government," 1682.
icon full text First Frame of Government, April 25, 1682, iron gall ink on parchment.
icon full text William Penn, Frame of Government of Pennsylvania, February 2, 1683
icon full text Land Grant with Receipt from Tamanen to William Penn, June 23, 1683.
icon full text William Penn's Prayer for Philadelphia, 1684.
icon full text First Protest Against Slavery, Germantown, PA, 1688.
icon full text Letters Patent from King William and Queen Mary Restoring Wm. Penn...Proprietor of Penssilvania, to the Government of the Said Province, August 20, 1694.
icon full text William Penn, Charter of Privileges, October 21, 1701.
icon full text The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776
icon full text Pennsylvania's 1780 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery
icon full text "The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of The State of Pennsylvania to their Constituents," 1788.
icon full text Carlisle Indian Industrial School student Maggie writes home to her father, 1881.
icon full text Bayard Rustin, "The Negro and Nonviolence," 1942
icon full text Bayard, Rustin, "Letter to the Draft Board," 1943

1609 Henry Hudson first explores the Delaware Bay and River
1638 Swedish establish first trading post on the Delaware River
1640 Dutch establish trading post at Fort Nassau
1644 Birth of William Penn
1652 George Fox starts Quaker Faith in England
1655 Dutch troops seize Fort Christina and took control of New Sweden
1681 King Charles II grants William Penn 45,000 square-mile colony in the New World to pay off debt to Penn's father.
1682 Penn's arrival in Pennsylvania
1682 Thomas Holme lays out plan for City of Philadelphia
1683 Meeting of the first colonial Assembly in Philadelphia
1688 Mennonites in Germantown issue first protest against the African slave trade
1689 Penn establishes first Quaker school in Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Quaker Meeting hires George Keith as schoolmaster to supervise local instruction
1700 Penn and his second wife, Hannah, move to Pennsbury Manor
1701 Penn meets with the Native people of Pennsylvania at Conestoga Indian Town on the Susquehanna River
1701 Penn issues the Charter of Privileges, the most liberal constitution of Britain's North American colonies
1712 William Penn suffers a stroke. His wife, Hannah, becomes acting proprietor until her death in 1726
1718 Death of William Penn
1728 Oneida Chief Shikellamy moves to the West Branch of the Susquehanna to serve as Iroquois's cultural emissary to Pennsylvania
1754 Outbreak of the French and Indian War
1763 End of the French and Indian War
1763 Men from Paxton massacre peaceful Iroquois and other Indians at Conestoga Indian Town
1787 Organization of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons
1829 Opening of the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia
1879 Opening of the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, PA
1917 The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) organizes the American Friends Service Committee to provide alternative service for conscientious objectors to war
1947 The American Friends Service Committee wins a Nobel Peace Prize for its relief work in post-war Europe
1949 40,000 gather at Aaronsburg, Pennsylvania to celebrate the principles of religious toleration and freedom of conscience personified by the actions of Aaron Levy in the late 1700s
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