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Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

The Religious Society of Friends, whose members are commonly known as Quakers, is one of the historic peace churches, together with the Anabaptist Mennonites and various Brethren churches. Yet Quaker pacifism needs qualification. Whereas Friends have almost always and everywhere worked for peace, the particular means they have pursued to achieve it have been socially contingent. This entry reviews the circumstances and factors that shaped Quaker pacifism from the origins of the movement to the present day.

Origins

The movement that came to be called Quakerism was conceived by George Fox in England during that country’s Civil War in the 1640s and was born and bred in the radical religious fecundity of Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate in the 1650s. For many dissenters from the Anglican Church, Cromwell’s victory ...

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