American politician William Penn founded colonies in Pennsylvania to establish North American communities in which the Society of Friends might be free to practice the traditions of Quakerism. The London-born Penn sought to colonize a culture of religious liberty in the New World without concern for faith-based persecution.
In the 17th century, the territory that became the second of America's original thirteen colonies remained governed under the British Empire. In 1681, the reigning King Charles II bestowed this land to William Penn, the son of an English admiral who claimed the property on behalf of enterprises foregrounding North American religious tolerance.
The current Commonwealth of Pennsylvania perpetuates the virtues of its namesake's vision through its representation of a broad religious demographic of citizens that encompass diverse Old World cultures within major metropolitan areas, as well as throughout agrarian townships that helm integral agricultural industries. What began as William Penn's endeavor to start a North American colony thus united Pennsylvanians not under a common religion, but beneath a common moral standard communicating each citizen's right to practice religious traditions in a society founded upon inclusive principles. Acceptance, in Penn's vision, may very well be practiced as a religion in and of itself.