Teach PA History
Religious Tolerance in Pennsylvania
What to Know
Teaching Time
One or two class periods
Grade Level
High School
  • History
Historical Period
  • Colonization and Settlement - 1601-1760
William Penn's "Holy Experiment" established a tradition of tolerance that would become more widespread in America after the American Revolution. In this lesson students will compare the founding of Pennsylvania with the founding of New England and analyze some of the effects of William Penn's vision.


Students will analyze a primary source image of a Quaker meeting in order to generate a discussion about disagreement with Quaker beliefs. Students will analyze the motivation for settlement of Pennsylvania and New England by creating a graphic organizer that compares these two settlements. Student will synthesize the information by predicting the future effects of both colonies' foundation.

Standards Alignment

  • History

    8.1.12. B. Synthesize and evaluate historical sources.
    8.2.12. C. Identify and evaluate how continuity and change have influenced Pennsylvania history.
    8.2.12. D. Identify and evaluate conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations in Pennsylvania history.
    8.3.6. A. Identify and explain the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to United States history from Beginnings to 1824
    8.3.6. B. Identify and explain primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history from Beginnings to 1824.

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