Date of Award
Dr. Michael Hammond
Quaker protests against slavery started as early as 1682, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and continued on through their work with the Underground Railroad and numerous other anti-slavery movements. But in those days of Christianity supported slavery, why is this group known as being against slavery? History reveals that early Quakers were just as involved in slavery as others during that time. The questions then are: why are the Quakers remembered most for their contributions to abolition when they too had kept slaves? And, was their anti-slavery work so effective that it causes history to forget their early support of the practice? This study seeks to answer these questions, to make the case that Quakers were the first anti-slavery society, and to show that it was Quaker influence that directed America toward greater abolitionist efforts in the nineteenth century. In addition, this study is guided by these questions: Why were the Quakers against slavery, and what did they do to help bring it to an end?
Quaker history will be examined in three major stages: the early days of supporting slavery, the middle years of changing that position, and the later period which linked the terms “Quaker” and “abolitionist” together, even to this day.
Murray, Ryan P., "Quakers and Slavery: The Development of an Anti-Slavery Society" (2015). Selected Honors Theses. 11.