Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Pesantubbee, Michelene

First Committee Member

Curley, Melissa

Second Committee Member

Mentzer, Raymond

Third Committee Member

Rigal, Laura

Fourth Committee Member

Round, Phillip


With theology grounded in beliefs of human equality and religious toleration, early Quakers discussed religious ideas with Native Americans, but did not conduct the kinds of missionary projects common to other English Protestants in America in their first century there. Instead, they focused on creating good relationships with the native people who lived in the area that became Pennsylvania, as well as with those beyond its borders. Despite this rhetoric, Quakers were inconsistent in enacting their own ideals. After allowing the unfair Walking Purchase of 1737 through poor government oversight, Philadelphia Quakers created a group whose aim was to reestablish peaceful relationships with Native Americans, particularly during the tumultuous Seven Years War. This group had scant success, largely limited to reinvigorating communication between Quakers and Native Americans. By 1795, Philadelphia Quakers determined they were divinely called to assist Native Americans more directly by teaching them skills of Euro-American farming and housekeeping. To that end, they began missions with the Oneida in 1796 and the Seneca in 1798. This study argues that despite Quakers' own conception of themselves as unique from other colonists and thus able to provide a superior education for Native Americans than that provided by other Protestants, Quakers were engaged in the same colonizing project as other missionaries and colonists.


Lenape, Missions, Native Americans, Oneida, Quaker, Seneca


vii, 204 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 197-204).


Copyright 2013 Kari Thompson

Included in

Religion Commons