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Their books were burned, and most of their property was confiscated.

The first Quakers lived in mid-17th-century England.

The movement arose from the Legatine-Arians and other dissenting Protestant groups, breaking away from the established Church of England.

The Quakers, especially the ones known as the Valiant Sixty, attempted to convert others to their understanding of Christianity, travelling both throughout Great Britain and overseas, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They based their message on the religious belief that "Christ has come to teach his people himself", stressing the importance of a direct relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and a direct religious belief in the universal priesthood of all believers.

Some Quakers founded banks and financial institutions, including Barclays, Lloyds, and Friends Provident; manufacturing companies, including shoe retailer C. Clark and the big three British confectionery makers Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry; and philanthropic efforts, including abolition of slavery, prison reform, and social justice projects.

Some may profess the priesthood of all believers, a doctrine derived from the First Epistle of Peter.

They include those with evangelical, holiness, liberal, and traditional Quaker understandings of Christianity.

West Jersey and Pennsylvania were established by affluent Quaker William Penn in 16 respectively, with Pennsylvania as an American commonwealth run under Quaker principles.