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Quakers and Abolition$
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Brycchan Carey and Geoffrey Plank

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038266

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038266.001.0001

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Why Quakers and Slavery? Why Not More Quakers?

Why Quakers and Slavery? Why Not More Quakers?

(p.29) 2 Why Quakers and Slavery? Why Not More Quakers?
Quakers and Abolition

J. William Frost

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers the question of why, after the Quakers began directly addressing the problem of slavery in the 1670s, there was only one period, between 1758 and 1827, during which they achieved any kind of consensus among themselves on the issue. The answer lies in changes within Quakerism itself. It argues that to understand Quaker antislavery, scholars need to understand how the beliefs and practices in the Society of Friends from the 1670s until the Civil War evolved, because these affected Friends'perspectives and actions on slavery. A few Quaker beliefs and practices influenced the variety of stances Friends took on slavery: the Inward Light, progressive revelation, the authority of the Bible, the nature of the church, the “Holy Experiment,” the antiwar stance, and the Quaker family. The chapter discusses these themes in turn because they first facilitated and then hampered antislavery activities.

Keywords:   Quaker, antislavery, Society of Friends, Quakerism, slavery, Inward Light, Bible, Holy Experiment

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