Who is William Penn?

  • Established the first constitutions including religious liberty and tolerance, self-government and taxation only through representation, in modern history.
  • Influenced the right to a trial by a jury of one's peers, without intimidation by the court that transformed the judicial systems of both England and America through the famous Penn-Mead Trial (a/k/a Bushell's Case).
  • Developed the idea of "the American Dream" as a melting pot in the promotion of this new colony of Pennsylvania throughout Europe that still impacts the world today.
  • The 1682 Treaty of Friendship with the Native Americans, more widely known as the Shackamaxon Treaty, became a universal symbol of religious and civil liberties, and is one of the few events in American history noted for its just and fair treatment of peoples of different cultures.
  • Was directly involved in the founding of three of the original thirteen colonies -- Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey -- which became the first three states to ratify the Constitution.
  • Developed "the most complete exposition of the theory of toleration" in Restoration England, and helped design the 1689 Toleration Act, which helped garuntee religious freedom in Great Britian.
  • Made major contributions to liberty and 'justice for all' in both the New World and the Old World.
  • Was the first city planner in the New World.
  • Established the first free public school system in America, which included both boys and girls.
  • Initiated the first call for a 'united states' in his 1696 A Plan for Union for the English Colonies in America.
  • Developed the first practical plan for world peace and a 'united nations' in 1693 ... 251 years before the United Nations was established;
  • Hannah Callowhill Penn, William's wife, was the first female Proprietor and Governor in America, and of its largest and most prosperous colony, handling the proprietary affairs for six years after William suffered a stroke in 1711, then officially taking over as Proprietor and Governor at William's passing in 1718. She governed for eight years more, until her passing in 1726.
  • William and Hannah Penn are two of only seven people ever granted Honorary Citizenship by the U.S. Congress.

     -drawn from work by Jason Penn Browne at The Penn Memorial Project