Where you're free to be you
Why Visit Pennsylvania?
Who is Pennsylvania?
This kind of colony is one where the king granted full governing rights over some land to one or more proprietors. In this case, William Penn was the governing individual. The colony would then be run under a charter which the monarch would review.
Religion: Religious Tolerance
Pennsylvania did not have a specific "state religion". Penn created a colony based on religious tolerance, calling it a "Holy Experiment". This attracted religious sects who were persecuted; the largest population in Pennsylvania was the Quakers. These people were highly tolerant and were persecuted for not agreeing with the Puritan Church's strict ways. Their tolerance of other religions encouraged the immigration of other oppressed sects and increased the colony's overall diversity.
Colonial Government: Proprietor/Charter
The King signed a charter that named William Penn as the proprietor/governor of Pennsylvania. However, the colony was still under the protection of England's laws and was somewhat subject to England's government. Penn drew up the First Frame of Government that detailed his plans for the colony. He also created a General Assembly to amend the Frame, adopted humanitarian laws, and set in place a Quaker Province. From then on, the Assembly and the Quakers generally governed themselves.
Like the other middle colonies, Pennsylvania exported a lot of agricultural products, especially grain. Once ground in the many mills located on Pennsylvania's rivers, the flour was then sent to England. In addition, the fertile farmland of Pennsylvania allowed for grazing livestock to be raised and sold; for this reason, beef and pork were important food exports. Pennsylvania also engaged in other industries including lumber (which lead to paper and shipbuilding industries), fur, and iron ore, an important mineral found here.
1682: Penn arrives in Pennsylvania to lay out Philadelphia, create the original three counties, and establish the Assembly and law.
1684: The Congress names William Penn and his wife the third and fourth honorary citizens of the U.S.!
1701: Penn presents the Charter of Privileges which establishes total religious freedom and tolerance, cementing his desire for the colony to be a peaceful home for people of all religions. This is Pennsylvania's constitution until the Revolution.
1774-1775: The First and Second Continental Congress meet secretly in Philadelphia to discuss the British oppression and taxes. They seek to protest and begin the Revolution.
1776: The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
William Penn was the founder of Pennsylvania. King Charles II owed a large debt to Penn's father, and repaid that debt by granting Penn a tract of land in the New World, Pennsylvania. Penn created the colony and established its government and constitution. His own Quaker beliefs instilled the values of religious tolerance into his colony. In creating Pennsylvania, he succeeded in achieving his dream of a land with promise and hope for people of all religions.
Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706 and contributed much to not only Pennsylvania's development, but the entire colonies' development. He was a renowned published, scientist, inventor, and politician. He discovered lightning through his famous kite-and-key experiment, and also invented the lightning rod and battery. Furthermore, he played critical roles in the Revolution, participating in the Continental Congresses and aiding in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.