This third installment in the New History of Quakerism series is a comprehensive assessment of transatlantic Quakerism across the long eighteenth century, a period during which Quakers became increasingly sectarian even as they expanded their engagement with politics, trade, industry, and science. The contributors to this volume interrogate and deconstruct this paradox, complicating traditional interpretations of what has been termed “Quietist Quakerism.”
Examining the period following the Toleration Act in England of 1689 through the Hicksite-Orthodox Separation in North America, this work situates Quakers in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. Three thematic sections – exploring unique Quaker testimonies and practices; tensions between Quakerism in community and Quakerism in the world; and expressions of Quakerism around the Atlantic world – broaden geographic understandings of the Quaker Atlantic experience to determine how local events shaped expressions of Quakerism. The authors challenge oversimplified interpretations of Quaker practices and reveal a complex Quaker world, one in which prescription and practice were more often negotiated than dictated, even after the mid-eighteenth-century “reformation” and tightening of the Discipline on both sides of the Atlantic.