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William Penn

The Life of William Penn
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.42

     challenging words:    dishonesty, pacifism, radical, toleration, settling, association, legacy, oath, diverse, authority, despite, practically, representative, religion, thus, separation
     content words:    William Penn, Sir William Penn, Margaret Jasper, Christ Church, Religious Society, Sandy Foundation Shaken, No Cross, No Crown, Her Open Eyes, Great Case
The Life of William Penn

By Jennifer Kenny
1     When you think about Pennsylvania, it is quite natural to think of William Penn also. How much do you really know about this man? What influence did he have on the state at its beginning? Was he a native to the region?
2     William Penn was born in London on October 14, 1644. He was the son of Admiral Sir William Penn and Margaret Jasper Penn. He was part of a well-to-do Anglican family who were members of the Church of England. He was educated at the University of Oxford.
3     Despite his Anglican upbringing, it was at the University of Oxford that William grew interested in Quakerism. At the time the Quakers were severely persecuted, or treated harshly, for their beliefs. The Quakers believed in following their inner light and wouldn't bow to the king's authority. They wouldn't swear an oath. They believed in pacifism, or peace. Because they did not worship in more typical ways and they didn't believe in violence, they were considered radical.
4     In 1662, William rejected Anglicanism and was expelled from Oxford because of his religious beliefs. His father tried to get him to change, but he continued his leaning toward the Quaker faith.
5     In 1666, William's father sent him to Ireland. He wanted William to keep an eye on his estates there. While in Ireland, William decided to formally join the Quakers (the Society of Friends). William was sent to prison in Ireland because of his religious beliefs. His father immediately brought him home to London. When William refused to let go of his Quaker beliefs, his father kicked him out of the house and took away his inheritance. In 1668, William was imprisoned in the Tower of London after he wrote The Sandy Foundation Shaken. He wrote 42 books and pamphlets in the first seven years after he became a Quaker. In 1669 while in prison in the Tower of London, he wrote his most famous book, No Cross, No Crown. In 1670, William wrote The Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Once More Debated & Defended. In this work and in many of his essays and pamphlets, William began to argue for religious tolerance for all faiths. He preached in many countries, including England, the Netherlands, and Germany.

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Reading Comprehension
     English Reading Comprehension: The Life of William Penn
     Spanish Reading Comprehension: La Vida de William Penn

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