This module is a mixture of personalities, political structures and institutions, politics and the “making of a policy system”.

The policy system started in 1701 with Penn’s Third Frame of Government: the Charter of Privileges (plus associated legislation)., We started our tale in 1682, a period of settlement and city/state-building for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. The first twenty years was dominated by its sole proprietor–royal governor–William Penn who planned this entire project, almost single-handedly before he ever stepped foot in America. That it was legal and legitimate rested upon his “proprietary” land grant which conferred on him and his successors the right not only to own the land, but to form a colony and set up a government responsible to him–requiring Penn to conform to whatever the British Crown/Parliament enacted. England, possessing a reasonable sense of Penn’s grand design, the Holy Experiment, decided not to rule the colony directly through a royal governor, and accordingly tasked him with conforming to colonal regulations and trade practices.

Having ventured into the Pennsylvania wilds for a second time, Penn’s experience in installing his grand Holy Experiment–laced heavily with his land sales pay-as-you-go fiscal system, and desire for surplus profits for him and his family–came to a sad end yet again. The Charter was a compromise with a deeply oppositional Quaker citizenry, led by elites who wanted as little to do with him and his Frames as possible. In time, they resolved to replace Penn and his Proprietorship with a royal governor–but that developed explicitly only in the last third of the policy system set up in 1701–which would persist to 1776. Now we begin our story on the evolution of that policy system.

This particular module is less a summary than a roadmap, a guide to the reader of what to look for, and to provide a context so the reader could keep his/her sense of direction of what is going on–and where and why we wind up there. Employing our approach to Pennsylvania/Philadelphia history we see much that is different from a more conventional historical treatment. Accordingly, there is also a warning to the reader that this history has taken Frost’s “road less traveled” In fairness to our history, we use the well-known histories as our basis and timelines, but looking at them from a different vantage point, i..e bottoms-up, we  form a different assessment. That assessment or perspective is partially based on our comparison with the history of Virginia, developed in the first chapter–and will be refined, if not adjusted by our next chapter, Massachusetts.

If the reader will remember, the first task this history assumed was to answer the simple question of why states (and cities) are different. The first chapter on Virginia was very long and laid the foundation for its colonial policy system and its evolution to the American Revolution. That is our “benchmark”, our point of comparison, so the reader can more easily appreciate how in this case Pennsylvania was different. There is no mistaking Philadelphia for Richmond or Norfolk/Virginia Beach. So to see how Penn and his fine Quaker folk blazed their own policy system, and how it compares to Virginia’s, let’s present to the reader a succinct, by my wordy standards, statement of what I found, and hope the reader finds as well by the end of this chapter:

Pennsylvania’s colonial path to the formation of its first American state government in 1776 arose from the distinctive religious mission and organized in part to pay for itself with surplus profit to be reaped by Penn and his successors. Pennsylvania was a religious utopia in the making; it was also intended to yield mercantilist income streams intended to pay the Holy Experiment’s bills, but also to generate a respectable profit to Penn and his descendents. Pennsylvania was never one or the other; it was also both interwoven. Over the course of the first policy system, the latter rose prioritized, and came to conflict with the former.

The King granted Pennsylvania to Penn as a “Proprietary”, which essentially meant Penn not only literally owned every inch of the land, but was entitled to set up its governance as he saw fit. This he did in his Frames of Government, and in his planning conceptualization of its economic base and demographic-religious composition. Effectively he created is ruling elite through his First Purchaser land sales contract. It didn’t take root, yielded innumerable unanticipated consequences, which were compounded by is own maladministration and goals at cross-purposes. By 1701 his Holy Experiment had enough of him, and gave him the boot for the second time; the Charter being the best he could salvage from the original Frames.

It was the Quaker political culture adjusted to the realities of a wilderness community, as much as maladministration and personal profiting, that united most Quakers to resist him. As a religious community their core values, personal interests, and even beliefs were triggered to make Penn (and family) an unwanted governor/owner. Over time, these Quakers and their allies would seek to replace him, with of all things, the British Crown and royal governor. That Quaker drive against Penn and his family proved to be the sustaining dynamic that underscored Pennsylvania’s drive to independence and statehood–and that dynamic shaped the political and economic structures of the policy system that left a heritage that can be observed today–much like a foundation does for an old house. Using our metaphor, it bent the twig. This is a bottom-line and bottoms-up reason why Pennsylvania is different from Virginia and will be different from Massachusetts, or New York, or South Carolina (all to be observed in the future). Penn’s sole proprietorship took Pennsylvania and Philadelphia down a different path from all the rest–just as each of them took their own paths as well.

So let’s flesh out some particulars of how that played out.


Refresher–Virginia and Pennsylvania Compared

Virginia started its construction of its policy system in 1607 with the Jamestown Company Colony. The policy system more or less came together in a recognizable whole by the turn of the 18th century. The single most important “player” in that period was its Governor William Berkeley, who presided over it for more than thirty-five of those ninety-three years. The reaction to the system he set up, after he was fired in 1677, caused a reaction he very much did not want, and by the time it was over, the royal governor and the English Crown had to compete with and struggle against the aspirations and goals of what had become its native elite, and the economic base it had put in place and controlled. The problem was, that the Crown and is royal Governor lost control over the essential features of the early-forming policy system before Berkeley ever arrived on the scene.

The Jamestown Company, driven by profit only, was never really committed to setting up a well-run settled colony. Virginia’s early population were “tobacco-rush” (instead of gold rush) opportunists that thrived on wilderness autonomy and frontier anarchy. The Virginia Company was Dodge City with John Smith as Wyatt Earp. Following their Holy Grail, tobacco exports, these freebooters established their own fiefdom like manors, set up and seized control over the local county government, and then led their counties in an aggregate effort to dominate the state legislature. Berkeley inherited that, brought in a royalist elite that developed its political culture, and which proceeded to kick Berkeley out. Berkeley was victim to Bacon’s Rebellion, a populist movement from the western hinterland composed of disgruntled freed indentured servants whose aspiration to the manor was frustrated–by Indians, the royalist elite, and seemingly by the royal governor himself.

Bacon died midstream (diarrhea), the calvary (actually British navy) arrived riding white sails, the Rebellion failed and the Populists went home. This began Virginia’s most serious threat to its core policy system sustainability: settlement of its western hinterland counties could not, did not replicate that of its coastal and Piedmont core geography. When Germans and Scots-Irish arrived–having left Pennsylvania, I might add–the Shenandoah and West Virginia were in cultural assault. Thank God for malapportionment–Virginia did not have to invent it; they simply imported it from Pennsylvania–but that story has yet to be told, but shortly will be.

No royal governor after Berkeley broke the power of the local aristocracy embedded in the upper chamber (Council of State) or the lower chamber (House of Burgesses). With each royal governor a new deal was worked out–or they fought a limited war that usually changed little.Challenging the locals was like hitting a pillow. Navigation laws invited piracy and smuggling, and cleaning up the land sales oligopoly was like reforming the IRS tax code. Unsurprisingly, this Virginia closed elite fractured, with the independence revolutionaries seizing a rump lower House, as did Cromwell, leading successfully the drive o Virginia statehood Still the 18th century first-decade Pennsylvania policy system lasted to the American Revolution. What happened after that, of course, we will worry about later. What may be surprising, is that Pennsylvania had to be pushed kicking and screaming into the independence by revolution movement. That was one of several important distinctions.

Looked at more closely, we saw Virginia’s colony got off to a very different start than Pennsylvania’s. We can see that Virginia’s policy system developed in three phases: 1607 to about 1642, Berkeley’s 1642 to 1677, and the “Reaction” or Thermidor to about 1710. It took the better part of a hundred years to set up the Virgina first policy system. Pennsylvania as we will see had one discernible, I guess, period, from 1682 to 1701, and from 1701 onto the American Revolution the same policy system danced to its different tunes. It took Pennsylvania only eighteen years to form its first, and only policy system. Penn then left Pennsylvania to return to England in 1701.  He sent “administrators” as royal governors, interestingly none were Quakers, to operate his Proprietorship which was in essence the executive branch of the overall policy system. He also used his own personal organizational structure to run the land sales and generate the profits.

It is arguable to me whether that Proprietorship “governed” Pennsylvania as it legally was empowered to do. It was checked by the singe house Legislature set up by the Charter. That legislature quickly became dominated by a Quaker closed elite which was able to secure reasonable electoral success in the colonial democracy also set up by the Charter. Unlike Virginia, the Legislature and the Governor (the Proprietorship) never really made a deal–and the Legislature’s drive to oust the Proprietorship and replace it with a royal governor consumed its politics literally to 1776, and left behind the structural heritage we today view asl Pennsylvania’s state and local policy system. However contentious the relationship between the Virginia royal governor and the Virginia Legislature, there was nothing like what happened in Pennsylvania–until after 1773 or so. The Virginia policy system, decentralized into counties, handled its western expansion well, developed ambitions to take a lead into the interior, and in large measure broke with England–not the royal governor–when London held Virginia back from the trans-Appalachian west. If you don’t believe I’m ok with that assessment, talk to George Washington and get his opinion. The road to the Constitutional Convention began with the Mount Vernon Compact.

Roots and Structure of Penn’s Proprietary Group–and the Origins of the Quaker elite that dominated the Pennsylvania Legislature

For the remainder of his troubled life, Penn was an absentee Proprietor. Until the late 1720’s the Penn family were absentee as well.This period is our Phase 1 of the Policy System.

Penn had his allies in Pennsylvania and he had placed them well in the positions of governance, city-building, and in the Provincial Council (which served as his cabinet), and courts. His Society of Free Traders included those whose economic interests were tied to his conception of Pennsylvania’s future economic base had ran into troubled times and were no longer effective.  On leaving, Penn delegated his powers to an Executive Council (headed by its President , Thomas Lloyd). Lloyd was his initial Deputy Governor, in charge of day-to-day executive branch affairs. With Penn’s allies on the “inside” in control of the governmental institutions, naturally opposition gravitated to the Provincial Assembly–the oppositional author of the Charter– which was inevitably Penn’s weak link in the evolving policy system. Penn’s allies were under constant attack, an attempted impeachment initiative, and serious opposition to any legislation proposed by Penn and the Proprietor executive branch. From the start structurally, the Penn Proprietorship was in a bunker-like fortification.

Contrasted with Virginia’s Governor Berkeley’s successful importation of a new royalist refugee elite, which he implanted in manor-estate-plantation through a promotional policy, land grants, and de facto control over their hinterland county and its government, Penn had decidedly failed to create a supportive elite. The elite created by his settlement was external to his Proprietorship, and by this time, obviously lost to his influence. Baltzell argues, well:

Having no religious theories of authority [as did Winthrop and Puritans] or leadership, Penn fell back on a property theory of government and counted on a small number of prosperous men for the purchase of nearly half the land, and what’s more counted on them for political leadership. Rather than a coherent class of men who knew what kind of society they wanted and set about getting it, these men constituted an ideal example of an atomized elite, neither self-selected, nor elected by the people, but appointed by Penn for their plutocratic, rather than leadership qualifications [99]E. Digby Baltzell, Puritan Boston and Quaker Pennsylvania (the Free Press, 1979), pp. 126-7

Baltzell argues the fragility of this elite base impacted the “style” of the policy system as a whole. His subsection is entitled “class anarchy and boss rule in Quaker Pennsylvania”. From the beginning (1701), he advanced that (Proprietor) Thomas Lloyd was more or less in change, and was the first in a series of “bosses” that has plagued Pennsylvania  through most of its history, and dominated it often. Thomas Lloyd  would lose his boss title soon to Lloyd–David Lloyd (Quaker Party founder), a cousin, who led the opposition to Penn, and was the principal legislative negotiator of the Charter as Speaker of the General Assembly. Baltzell is reasonably accurate in this assertion as Pennsylvania politics and policy will be made by a small group, entrusted with legitimacy and legislative power by a colonial electoral franchise and a populace uninterested in political affairs and policy-making. Herein we see the Quaker political culture enter into our policy system. We also see the centrality of elite-mass distinction in our analysis/history of American state and local economic development policy-making,

Penn’s failing is more impactful if one contrasts it with Berkeley’s importation of a homogenous elite in 1640’s Virginia. The elite Berkeley inherited in 1642 was anarchistic, adventurer, aspirant agricultural entrepreneurs. It lacked legitimacy, coherence, and direction for anything external to their plantation. Theirs was not a game of thrones, but gangs of families complete with patron-clients and personal leadership of militias. It was also thuggish as several royal governors found out. Berkeley supplemented this elite–and altered it significantly–by importing royalist refugees and then aristocratic second sons. Such folk did not break with their aristocratic roots, but sought to recreate them in Virginia. Their Norman background provided myths and a legacy,value and status systems, and code of ethics also. The close, if spasmodic, association and identification with English elites/families nurtured a sustained way-of-life that Civil War era commentators labeled the “cavaliers”. Talk about a strong base on which to build a policy system.

As some 40,000 foot level one can argue that elites come in two flavors: innovative, swashbuckling entrepreneurs or activists–or inherited/dynastic. Quaker elites were decidedly the former–as will become evident. They were working class or lower middle, and most of the First Purchasers came to America with demonstrated commercial or artisan backgrounds. We shall see shortly, they were joined by large numbers of mobile Quaker entrepreneurs from American cities and colonies. They too had the Protestant ethic in abundance–but their inner light applied to their economics as well as to their religion. They were seldom natural politicians, and shared with the Quaker masses a lack of interest in politics and policy–until either bit them in their ass. A fundamental debate among Quakers that wracked the Pennsylvania first policy system was that a polarization developed within Quaker elites that questions whether being a good Quaker involve in policy and politics was a fundamental contraction.

Contrast this with Berkeley’s imported elite–it was overwhelmingly inherited aristocratic–firmly rooted in an agricultural past. The culture and practice of Pennsylvania’s elite was definitely not that of Virginia’s. Why would we expect their policy system to evolve as Virginia–just based on this factor alone?

Elite-mass Distinction and Policy System Evolution — Too often the distinction between elites and masses is ignored or downplayed in politics and policy-making. The idea that politics and policy-making is primarily an elite affair is seemingly opposed to democratic policy-making. That also applied to so-called rational policy-making. The notion that democracy has different meaning for masses and elites, and that both are rational but in a radically different manner seems like one bridge too far for policy system analysis. It’s much safer to be anti-capitalist or market-oriented and ignore the matter entirely. From my perspective the simple reality is that elite-mass distinction is commonplace in every policy system in every period of modern time. In regards to Mainstream Economic/Community Development policy-making it is central to the profession and to the academic policy area. It is also a cornerstone to practical politicians. Appeal to the base is a metaphor for an appeal to that element of the party faithful that are masses who need to be given a reason to get involved. It recognizes the reality that if not sought after they will likely stay away.

To take this one step further one may assert that both elite and mass possess political cultures distinct from each other–and that the two, by definition, will never converge. Obviously, elites must share cultural values, beliefs, expectations, but the degree or intensity of these values on their behavior and even their mentality does differ. The more important point for this module is where these cultures differ. That is a critical observation in our consideration of Pennsylvania’s Quaker elite-mass culture distinction. The chief difference is not the intensity of their sharing of values, but the addition of a value/behavior set to the mix: activism, engagement, interestedness, and the skill set/education useful to be effective. Elites use power, and value status (gross generalization), but they individualize into personalities (think Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln); they are “interested”, very interested in policy, ambition, and apply that to economics or politics. Elites make great effort to “systematize their beliefs and policy agendas to focus and achieve coherence; they are sensitive to the legitimacy they perceive is needed for them to function as an elite

Key distinctions are willingness to be involved, skills to be effective if involved–and more than anything, interested in not only being involved but in politics, economics and policy. Pennsylvania Quakers will sensitize the contemporary reader to a revolting thought: most of us in any policy system are not policy-politics-economics focused or even remotely interested. We live lives, with friends, neighbors, enemies, and families, and workforce “friends”–today we can add Facebook friends (that is revolting). In Quaker Pennsylvania, we would add Quaker community “friends'” (hope you see the pun). You may, or may not, like Mr. Smith when he goes to Washington D.C., but in no way do you want to be him. As to policy and policy-making, the masses do what they believe they have to, only when they have to, and then they withdraw to their home base. They rise to action, and have been accused of responding to demagoguery when actually they are responding to a redress of a perceived abuse; they are definitely anomic-emotional in practice, and their anti-elite nature makes them vulnerable to activists and elite aspirants. Their core values are honesty, fairness, accountability as they perceive them, and identify most with those they perceive as “like them”. At the time of the American Revolution, they will be referred to as “the mob”–which I should add was not as negative as it is today.

In our Virginia discussion, we identified the Virginia policy system as a closed elite oligopoly, with only an relatively passing mention of the masses–which were overwhelming (as of 1642) indentured servants, freed indentured servants, a few Black slaves, and more Native American slaves. In that the tobacco-based export economic base produced a rather hollowed out artisan and middle class (dependent on the isolated plantation), we hardly noticed their presence. Instead we relied on the manor plantation metaphor and that, hopefully, placed the reader in a medieval (maybe even ancient) historical time frame. Virginia’s agricultural masses, isolated and atomized as they were, were in nature residents of the past. That, however, is much less true of Pennsylvania Quaker (and immigrant) masses. The Quaker masses are much more complex, and varied, and valuing diversity and tolerance will lend themselves to an inherent atomization, which almost by definition, inhibits further involvement and interestedness–unless some line is crossed and diversity becomes an invasion that threatens home, church and workplace.

Masses and elites are not all the same; they are deeply tied to home, their local economic base, and in Colonial America to their congregation, church, or meeting house. To the manor-born had its allure in Quaker Pennsylvania, but more than likely one got there by success in distinctly mercantilist/proto capitalist enterprises and yeoman  household farming. That is not in the main descriptive of Virginia’s aspirant masses, whose goal was to enter the manor aristocracy–keep that in mind when we talk about the Rise of the Cotton Belt in the 1800’s. Perhaps we digress? Watch closely the below elaboration of the Quaker political culture and consider the following: the Quaker political culture pulls its members into their own personal, individualistic Inner Light. This is not an activist-prone, community-involved culture (as we will see in Massachusetts). The Meeting House does not function as a part-time City Hall. Their villages, despite Penn’s Holy Experiment Quest, are not regarded as cities on anybody’s hill: they are home and workplace. Only when the home is violated or threatened, when the core values of the religion are trampled on, is it time to rouse oneself. I am making the argument the Quaker political culture is that of Mr. Average, and is anti-elite in its core. And that will be the playground for Baltzell’s “bosses”.

Elites and masses divided every policy system–but elites and masses are not all the same. What commonalities they share are dwarfed by their differences and distinctions. To economic developers their relationship to an economic base is critical to understanding how they will define their economic development strategies, programs, and use economic development tools. In Virginia and Pennsylvania both elites were mercantilist capitalists–agricultural, commercial, and artisan-manufacturer. Virginia’s agricultural capitalists were bound to the land, and to the crop they grew on it–and the workforce that tilled the soil and harvested it. Isolated in rural hinterlands, theirs was a way-of-life, to be carried into the future by the Cotton Belt and Yeoman Homesteading. Pennsylvania’s elite, thoroughly Quaker in diversification, the economic base was at least bipolar: hinterland yeoman agricultural and urban commercial/finance-artisan.

Quaker Pennsylvania’s Elite-Mass Distinction–Of note in a colony considered by its founder to be a Holy Experiment, one ought to mention the salient religious structure that crystalized Quaker opposition, sustained  and provided a forum for change, and checked any perceived transgression of Quaker values and precepts: the Quaker Annual Meeting. Given the natural tendency of Quakers (popularly known as “the Dissenters”) to question Penn and authority in general, the Assembly and Annual Meeting very quickly became the bastion of the “Never Penn” movement.

Anti-proprietary feeling came easily to the non-Quaker inhabitants of the Three Lower Counties, whose settlement predated Pennsylvania [and whose defense Calvert was defending in London], while the Quakers in the upper counties who were not beneficiaries of proprietary largesse became increasingly resentful, expressing more and more of their point of view through the Assembly. This body, chaffing at its restricted functions, asserted at its first meeting after Penn’s departure, the right to debate and vote on bills ‘without the least restriction by the Council’ [Upper Chamber controlled by Penn loyalists]…. [Still] it was Penn’s well-do-do allies who held the upper hand during the first decade of the colony’s existence.’ [Yet, over time] the proprietor’s friends became uneasy allies, jealous of their newly gained prerogatives … wary of instructions from England … from their position of economic advantage, they were dissatisfied with Penn’s land policy [which] barred [their] speculation, which was financially stifling and … inconsistently applied [99] Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History, p. 46 .

It didn’t help Penn that his personal interests and land-holdings irritated all. Penn owned ten percent of the land, and paid no quit rents. For the most part, most of that land was idle, or consisted of well-to-do manors of his family and key friends. Further, as antiproprietary opposition gained strength and increased opposition, Penn further centralized his and his allies control by creating he “Commission of State, strengthening its powers–and the privileges of its members, shifting it from the Provincial Council which itself resented its loss of power. When that didn’t quiet the opposition, Penn centralized the power of the Commision in the hand of its President (John Lloyd-a Welsh Quaker) who, for his reasons, declined the appointment, and subsequently instead Penn appointed a non-resident Boston Puritan and former Cromwell-supporter, John Blackwell, in his place. Lloyd and Blackwell became bitter enemies and the Provincial Council resisted the actions of the Commission–and Lloyd, formerly a close Penn friend, drifted into the anti-proprietary camp.

If this were not sufficient, the Pennsylvania Quaker Church became polarized over a series of incidents that drove a wedge between Quaker governance and Quaker religious principles–including law and order and pacifism, and whether Quakers could be faithful Quakers if they participated in government. Charges of heresy abounded, and contentious Quaker meetings disrupted what little consensus existed in the community. Lloyd in particular was caught up in the resistance to the religious fervor and his efforts to use government, the courts in particular, to suppress the resistance heresy, drove a wedge that continued until 1693. In any event by 1688, the Lloyd antiproprietary group had displaced the more ardent Penn loyalist grouping, and the antiproprietary group effectively controlled the governmental affairs and policy. Penn loyalists in turn made common cause with a pacifists and religious opposition. The division assumed a class  dimension as the Lloyd group included the more wealthy merchants and landowners, while Penn loyalists include smaller merchants and urban artisans. The reader ought to keep this division in mind, it is not a detail, but rather the first, and early emergence of what will be a distinguishing characteristic of Pennsylvania state-level politics. It offers a valuable insight that in the fragmentation and policy anarchy of the early years, elements of what will be the Pennsylvania middle class, largely urban, was able to inject itself into politics and policy, albeit in an opposition role.

The assertion of Quaker pacifism into Pennsylvania policy-making came at a most inopportune time. Native Americans warred against New England and neighboring New York who requested military assistance from Pennsylvania–and were turned down. The new Glorious Revolution occupants of the English throne, William and Mary were outraged by this action, and sent their own royal governor to Pennsylvania (who simultaneous was Governor of New York) to take over the assorted mess that constituted Pennsylvania government. Penn loyalists proved willing to deal with the royal governor, and joined his administration. A two year struggle ensued with religious pacifism versus a government’s ability to participate in war or even defend itself. That pleased no one in Pennsylvania and several efforts to find some kind of resolution and governmental order failed. But in the course of this struggle, key Penn loyalists were able to regain positions of power in the royal government. This proved fortunate for them because their founder and proprietor, had finally landed on is political feet and had returned to proprietorship

Penn, in 1689, was not only distracted, but under attack as a friend of the former King. James II was ousted by the Glorious Revolution. For the better part of two years, Penn lost legal control over the proprietorship, but the legal and governance institutions continued but submerged under a new set of royal institutions that held  and exercised royal power, making for a short period, Pennsylvania as a Crown colony, not a proprietary colony. Many of the officers and officials appointed by the royal government were former Penn allies and government supporters. The net effect of all this was to unify the anti-proprietary camp, enlarge its membership, and intensify its opposition. Penn, on the other hand, by 1695 had regrouped and was in 1696 able to secure Crown consent to restoration of his Proprietorship. In 1695, Penn appointed William Markham as Deputy to the Royal Governor, who left to resume his functions as Governor of New York. A governmental reorganization followed and it cut the Assembly in half, and changed the electoral franchise so that longer residency (which increased Quaker eligibility at the expense of new non-Quaker residents). In return, the powers of the Assembly were augmented, raising its capacity as a legislature.

Penn’s success in reclaiming his Pennsylvania proprietorship masked what had to have been the nadir of his life and certainly his financial position. First, Penn’s (first) wife died in 1694. He took it hard; they had been through a lot together, and Penn even more than usual appears to have lost what little ability he had to focus on other matters. In the next few years, Penn’s attention to his finances (principally in Ireland) was left to his personal advisor, Philip Ford. Ford took advantage of Penn’s distractions, and his tendency to unsupervised delegation. During the 1695-6 period he signed papers without even reading them–he incredibly signed the transfer of much of his wealth, and the colony of Pennsylvania to Ford personally. Ford commenced a multi-year, court-laden legal effort to uphold the transfers, while simultaneously negotiating for a settlement from Penn.

Penn had seemingly reacquired the proprietorship, but his legal situation compounded his ability and willingness to engage himself in Pennsylvania affairs until the matter was resolved somewhat successfully in 1699. Financially Penn was ruined, and had cash-flow problems, but he retained his legal hold on the proprietorship. In the interim period, however, between 1695-9, his influence over politics and policy in Pennsylvania was limited and in its place was a local Quaker-dominated elite, fractured through it may be, had acquired power and dominance over much of the economic base. In-migration, of course, accelerated the number of non-Quakers, and newcomers found entry into the First Settler Quaker elite next to impossible. So in 1699 what his legal status was, Penn’s hold on Pennsylvania was but a shadow of what it was when he left in 1684. The Quaker monocracy of the first years of settlement completely dissipated. A culture which was indifferent to government, oppositional to authority, based on individual Inner Light and dissent had produced a hyper-political polarization that some historians called “pluralism”; if so, it was a very bitter, fiercely personalistic, and uncompromising pluralism, compound by a cacophony of fragile political structures.

If the reader is still keeping track from what is a rather bad “Game of Thrones-like” struggle for Pennsylvania supremacy, we have had by 1696 a full ten year struggle between personalities, individuals sharing common interests and policy and economic perspectives, hardening in the Bunsen burner-like experience of hardball politics and in and out of office, into something between a political faction, and a more formal and organized two party system. The reader ought to keep in mind that mass-based political parties as we understand them are more than one hundred years off in the future. Yet, I am asking the reader to watch future Pennsylvania developments with an openness to the proposition, that while Penn was still around, a rudimentary by our standards colonial era mostly elite-based party competition is taking shape in Pennsylvania, and by extension, Philadelphia. This is not common in English North American colonies, but is very much an exception to other colonies, which while tracings can be observed toward partisanship and party competition, remain at their core personalistic and geographic. In Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, even before 1700, something more formidable is stirring. As summarized by Illick by 1696, Pennsylvania had politically evolved in ways distinctive to the overall American colonial experience.

During the initial decade of Pennsylvania’s, the Council (the Proprietary upper legislative chamber), represented first the interest of the Proprietary [himself, personally], and later that of its Quaker elite, while the Assembly [the lower house] was the seat of opposition. When [the Glorious Restoration royal governor] came to Pennsylvania, with the power to appoint [a royal Crown] Council, and veto the legislation of the Assembly, the Quaker leaders moved into the lower house, whose [expanded role and powers were] … institutionalized into a [new] Frame of Government of 1696 [which restore Penn to control over his Proprietorship]. An added motive for transferring power to the Assembly [in this 1696 Frame of Government} was the fear that the Council [the upper chamber] might become appointive [by the Proprietor, or] again become a royal [Crown] colony. The Assembly thus became the agency of provincial political aspirations, a development NOT peculiar to the Quaker colony, but common to the Atlantic seaboard settlements at this time. Pennsylvania had, however, arrived at this mature state more rapidly than her neighbors, and the accelerated ascent of the Assembly continued despite the fact that the colony remained at the center of imperial concern even after Penn resumed control of it in 1694 [99] Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History, p. 58.

The reader, no doubt, sees that Penn was digging, year by year, a deeper hole, from which he would someday have to figure out a way to climb out from. Governmentally, within a year or so after his departure, Penn had set up a governance and policy process at war with itself. Nothing like this can be found in Virginia, and it is clear that Penn, a sole proprietorship as opposed to a Crown colony, and a political culture which not only resisted governmental authority, but was tiled to its limitation and fragmentation, multiple centers of opposition reflecting a diverse society, polity and economic base interests. The role of the Glorious Restoration English Crown desiring none of this, was however, unable as early as 1696, to bring neither Penn, nor the colony’s internal political development to heel.

In the first chapter, Virginia, our “first policy system” discussion focused on historical-economic drivers that created it; the tobacco gazelle, plantation economic, entrepreneurial/opportunistic settlers that came to Jamestown, and the coming to power of a county-level oligopoly. In the last element, we centered our lens on the policy actors and discovered who “played” in that first Virginia sandbox, and “who didn’t”. We saw very quickly that the initial Virginia policy system “grew” from the bottom-up–not from the top, the dictum of the royal governor, but from the tobacco plantation oligopoly, through the Virginia counties, to the Virginia legislature. We will treat Pennsylvania a bit differently. First, our assessment of her early colonial history strongly suggests the sole proprietor for of colonial administration, at least in the hands of William Penn and his family was critical to that first policy system.



Isolating One Dynamic: Variation in British Colonial Governance:

Sole Proprietorship Contrasted with Direct Crown Administration by a Royal Governor

Virginia was founded by the Jamestown Company, a corporation that had received a charter from the Crown. That Corporate-run Colony was intended to produce a profit for the company, and if at all, only secondarily to promote settlement in the New World. Unfortunately for the Jamestown Company, it succeeded in the latter and failed miserably in the former. It went bankrupt in 1724 and was replaced by a Crown-appoint Royal Governor who ran the colony, sort of, straight to the Revolutionary War–which may offer a clue as to how well that went.

As we now know, Pennsylvania was governed by the sole proprietorship of William Penn and his descendants. Penn created his own family-owned corporation and it ran Pennsylvania, for the most part, straight through the American Revolution–which may offer a clue as to how well that went also. The starting point for this module, however, is 1701 when Pennsylvania’s first policy system commences. At that point, so early on, Pennsylvania will not resemble Virginia’s–and by 1750, it really won’t compare well to Virginia. Pennsylvania started out different from Virginia, and evolved in different ways. The Twig was bent by 1701, and that was all it took.

That the Pennsylvania twig was bent was due more than anything to several realities: Pennsylvania and Virginia were situated in two different regions (geography, topography and climate), two different periods of time (nearly seventy-five years apart), the political cultures they forged, and their chief architects were different. William Berkeley the Royal Governor and William Penn, the sole proprietor who was in the midst of pursuing his Holy Experiment, in much the same way as Monty Python pursued his Holy Grail. Penn would live in Pennsylvania only about three years, and for all practical purposes was given the boot twice–although the sole proprietorship bumbled on till the end in 1776. BTW, William Berkeley and William Penn were cousins, and they knew each other. Berkeley was dead by the time Penn got started in Philadelphia.

Penn bent the Pennsylvania twig by defining and running his sole proprietorship to pursue different goals and instilled different values and governance to further those objectives. Penn mixed Quaker religious values with his personal mercantilist profit expectations, and his Holy Experiment revolved around a religion-based moral settlement, that somehow was to make him money. The two sets of tension-filled values and goals worked ok at first, especially in how they handled affairs with the Native Americans. Penn bought the land, not stole it, and for better or worse, the Lenapi tribe sold it. Virginia didn’t handle it that way and fought brutal Indian wars, off and on, through its entire colonial history. This is not an insignificant matter either morally or for the purposes of this history–there is a reason why Virginia plantation owners were frequently referred to as “Colonel”, and why Thomas Jefferson’s father was a renowned Indian fighter and surveyor–the former was required to do the latter. Pennsylvania, as we shall discover in this module, did not have any form of a militia until the end of the module–not so Virginia.

In any event, by the time Penn sighed the 1701 Charter of Privileges, which set up the first Pennsylvania policy system, Penn had polarized his Quaker political and demographic base, and his political governance, outlined in his Frames of Government had incorporated key Quaker religious values into his political structures–and his inadvertent but determined intention of copying, transferring the the New World, the political-economic institutions and provincial structures o English governance poured the foundations for Pennsylvania provincial and sub-provincial governance along different lines than the Jamestown Company had poured theirs.

Since the Jamestown Company was not especially interested in settlement or governance of Virginia, it did little to interfere with the settlement patterns of its opportunistic entrepreneurs that planted tobacco, America’s first economic cluster. Penn, however, consciously chose to diversity his economy, recruited and sold land to create an agricultural hinterland, centered on a great commercial urban center, Philadelphia. His plans looked good on 1681 paper, and they are still in the current day textbooks, but he also sold the land for profit to his “First Purchasers”, and they wound up doing wherever their entrepreneurial bent took them–and make no mistakes, whatever else they were, Quakers had within their community a very developed self-made entrepreneur class. In order to recruit these folk and entice them into the Holy Experiment, Penn had to sign into the land sales contract terms and conditions which in essence created a First Purchaser democracy in provincial and local governance–nothing of the sort had happened in Virginia–just the opposite.

From the very first year in Pennsylvania, the First Purchasers polarized into pro-proprietor and anti-Penn groupings–and Penn’s inconsistent management style, his desire for personal profit at the perceived expense of the First Purchasers redefined what Penn’s city of Brotherly Love was intended to be. The two groupings somehow managed to combine a mutual desire for a limited government with a nasty, brutish and very religious-based partisan politics–sort of the dark side of the “Quaker force”. The dark side won and in 1701 Penn signed the Charter of Privileges and like the Dodge City sheriff, left town, never to return. Berkeley was kicked out also, but when he left he left behind a county-level plantation-owner oligopoly in charge of the Virginia legislature. Over the next one hundred years, that Legislature either fought the imposed Crown-appointed royal governor, or more often, the royal governor either went native or cut his deal with the legislature, leaving more often than not, a frustrated London. In Pennsylvania, the Crown discovered it could play off the domestic legislature, and the sole proprietor–and the sole proprietor was either a buffer to the Crown serving as its lightning rod, or something useful to prop up. But the sole proprietorship took some of the rough edges out of British Navigation Acts and colonial governance; Pennsylvanian democracy fought against the sole proprietor, not the Crown.

Hidden-in-plain sight is the 1701 Charter created a single chamber (lower) Legislature, and the Proprietorship held sway over the Executive, and the first battleground was the third branch, the judicial, initially controlled by the sole proprietorship–who BTW also controlled the system of sub-provincial local government as installed by Penn. It was the politics of the actual configuration and control over political structures which consumed a great deal of the first policy system’s attention. The eventual winner, it took forty-seven years, was the single chamber legislature–and that is most of what we will talk about in this module. There is, however, two 800 pound gorillas that entered into the struggle during his period, actually three: Immigration, which led to economic and political development, and mankind’s old friend and ofttimes hobby, war.

But before we start discussing them, we must complete our discussion of the sole proprietorship–by recognizing that it too had to confront these three 800 pound gorillas. After all, the sole proprietorship was legally the boss, the conceptual owner of every inch of land in the colony, and the royal governor rolled up into one corporate entity. It was the Executive Branch and had to get its pound of flesh if it were to sign off on what the Legislature wanted. But here we must alert the reader to its fatal flaw, it was a “personalistic” governance–far different from that of the King and the Crown. The Penn family, and the politics, personalities, and the (economic) priorities of the ruling family caused its actions, non-actions, either of which were reacted to by the Legislature.

Three important Penn-family shifts or disruptions that greatly affected the partisanship and policy of its citizens and policy system were: (1) the death of Penn and his wife (by 1726), and (2) the ascension of his sons, and successors–who whatever else they were or did–abandoned Quakerism, leaving the management of the Holy Experiment to a colonial-era political party that for most of this period dominated the single-chamber Pennsylvania legislature. That (3) by 1730 or so, Pennsylvania Quakers were a minority of the colony’s population and growing smaller with each passing year, opens up a host of thoughts and questions. An estimated 50,000 “Germans” immigrated to Pennsylvania during the period between 1720 and 1750, and during that time four of the five major waves of Scots-Irish also set foot in Pennsylvania. The Scots-irish flood came around 1770 and after, but it is likely during the first half -century were equal to and probably more than the Germans [99] The German figure is cited by Aaron Spencer Fogleman, Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775 (University of Pennsylvania Press,1996), p. 85; for the Scots-Irish James G. Leyburn, Scotch-Irish: a Social History (University of North Carolina Press, 1962), pp. 169-83. By 1750 when Pennsylvania’s “drift to Independence” commenced, the electorate had done a 180 degree upside down in its Quaker composition–yet Quakers still maintained their dominance over the provincial and most local policy systems.

To grapple with these dynamic 8oo pound gorillas, and still to keep our focus on our original purposes and introductory context, requires us to deal with matters one by one. Hence the module will concentrate on the economic development outputs as examples of the struggle with Penn, and then his successors during this period to 1750. That struggle was structural one between the Legislature and the Executive each seeking dominance over the third branch, the policy systems of sub-state Pennsylvania. In dealing with the German/Scotch-Irish migration we will shift to locational distribution, and how and to what extent these new groupings entered into the policy process. In that task we will occasionally touch into political culture, but that topic will be handled with more precision in a later module.

In dealing with the position of the Penn’s and the centrality of economic development to their struggle to maintain control over the policy system, one more often than not settles on their primary priority, to make a personal profit, through land sales. Real estate sales and development was certainly primary and constant with William, and his First Purchasers and his planning conception underlying both Pennsylvania and Philadelphia settlement (city and town building). It also underscored their attitude toward the judiciary which would enforce their land contracts, quit rents, and eviction of squatters. His successors, far less committed to the Holy Experiment, were correspondingly more focused on land sales as their path to family prosperity (and a balanced Pennsylvania fiscal condition).

To them settlement and land sales and family profit were essential prerequisite for understanding the position of the Proprietor party after 1730. As to the Quaker Party, their adherents and even their leadership, were, one way or the other, on the other side of the Penn land sales transaction. A considerable element of their dissatisfaction with Penn lie in their reaction to the terms of the transaction, which they felt exploited them,  and the process of land transactions itself. It did not have to be this way, but the priority the Penn’s placed on real estate and land sales raised the priority and importance of economic development in the first policy system. By no means was economic development the only policy or priority that drove that policy system, but I argue it was the biggest log in the fire that provided the political heat between the Legislature and the Executive during this period–which one exception, war and pacifism, of course (and that too had its land dimension).

Having therefore asserted that Penn’s sole proprietorship rested on Penn’s (1) hope to establish through his Holy Experiment a settlement in the New World where the dreams and aspirations of Quakers could be realized; (2) to define and establish the governance, economic base and physical pattern of the settlement through his planning prescriptions, and (3) to pay for that settlement, and to provide a personal profit for Penn and his family, present and future, through profit from land sales and taxes paid on the land (quit rents), Penn set in motion the path whose end was Pennsylvania’s contemporary expression of modern democracy and economic vitality.  That alongside him on that path, indeed the actual folk that established that democracy and economy were either (or both) opposed to or unmotivated by his vision and we determined to carve out their own apart from his sole proprietorship–and that list included Penn’s friends and allies. It appears Penn’s plans were not left on the shelf, but were taken off it, and thrown back at him.