The Quaker Impact

Do Quakers matter? In a nation that has so often defined itself by war, can a religious group utterly opposed to military action make a real difference?

When, a quarter century ago, sociologist Digby Baltzell posed the question in his landmark book: Puritan Boston Quaker Philadelphia, he compared the culture of leadership in two very different cities. Baltzell's assumptions placed a higher value on the Puritan model of public service than on the Quaker model of consensus, witness, and action. No doubt about it, America has descended more directly from the Puritan strain of thinking, but the Quaker impact has its distinct strengths and cannot be discounted. Our cultural DNA bears evidence of its Quaker origins. [Read more...]

Joel Rose, Producer and Editor
Viet Le, Rachael Berenguer and Jennifer Lynn, Associate Producers
Elisabeth Perez-Luna, Executive Producer
Kenneth Finkel, Executive Director, Arts & Culture Service

Funding was provided by The William Penn Foundation.

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Marking Pennsylvania History

ExplorePAHistory.comCivilian Public Service
When the U.S. declared war on Germany in December of 1941, thousands of young men enlisted to fight in World War II. For religious reasons, many pacifists declined -- but signed up instead to serve their country through public service at home. WHYY's Jennifer Lynn reports that many conscientious objectors faced scorn, and even danger, without ever serving at the front. [Listen]

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