Quaker Influence in America

Recently added: The Influence of Friends on Colonial Life, extracts from an address delivered by Elbert Russell in 1922. It describes many of the important contributions made to American society by Quakers, during the colonial era and afterwards: the quest for religious liberty, the separation of church and state, “liberty of conscience even in matters of state policy,” the principles of democracy, equal rights for women, the ideal of peace (“the substitution of organized Justice, self­-government, and active good-will in place of warfare”), peace with Native Americans, and the fight against slavery.

Elbert Russell (1871–1951) was an eminent theologian and scholar. He was also a Quaker, addressing a group of other Quakers, in these remarks from nearly a century ago – please bear in mind that his observations may have been slightly idealized. It’s a good overview, however, and since the Buntings and many of the other people discussed on this website were Quakers, it is important to establish this context.

I’ve also added a short letter from Elbert Russell to Martha Bunting, dated May 7, 1942. He had very nice penmanship, but I have transcribed his letter anyway. (Note the use of “thee” and “thy.”)

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