This article is from the The Religious Society of Friends FAQ, by Marc Mengel email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
Friends were active in New England almost from the beginning
of the Quaker movement, as early as 1654. The Puritans of
Massachusetts, found Quaker ideas unacceptable and exiled Friends
on pain of death. Between 1659 and 1661 one woman and three men
were hanged for returning after such banishment. George Fox spent
over a year in America in 1672. The Quaker population increased
greatly after 1682 when William Penn (who was a Friend) set
about the foundation of Pennsylvania and started the city of
Philadelphia. Friends in general showed an enlightened attitude
to Native Americans, and were also active in the movement
against the slave trade. Later, they helped escaped slaves and
worked for the abolition of slavery, due in part to the work and
ministry of John Woolman (See "Bibliography").