In the late 1650s George Fox and Margaret Fell became preeminent among a large number of inspired Quaker preachers. Their leadership is wonderfully mysterious, but one distinctive strength is explainable. More than other early Quaker leaders, they respected the social resources of middling upland farmers and tradesmen. Beginning with new religious insights and an impoverished laity, they ended by forming a religious people distinguished by egalitarian, loving relationships and morally self-sufficient households. Their efforts took a lifetime. But they introduced a new family form in order to sustain Quakerism. They were the founders of Quaker organization and of Anglo-American domesticity. 1
At Swarthmore Hall in the center of northwestern farmers' economic marginality and related clannishness, Fox and Fell first formed an exciting and workable model of female-centered domesticity from Quaker religious experiences. Fox then absorbed the primacy of uplanders' informal household and extra-household human relations in his vision that holy spiritual tribalism was to be the burgeoning religion's social form. In his view, Quakers were to be a great spiritual tribe, the "Royal Household of God." But another problem awaited them: separating Quaker relations from the carnal ties of embedded upland kinship and neighborly clusters from which their first converts originated, would resemble in their religious organization, and with whom they lived. To solve this
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Quakers and the American Family:British Settlement in the Delaware Valley. Contributors: Barry Levy - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1988. Page number: 53.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.