Module I

To put some perspective on Penn’s Frame of Government, his personal compact with the First Purchasers was based on what E. Digby Baltzell calls “the property theory of government”. By that Baltzell suggests that, said and done, the Penn sole proprietorship of Pennsylvania awarded by, and subject to, the King was Penn’s personal property, which upon his death would be inherited by his successors. Legally–cynically, Pennsylvania was a very large manor, as far as the King and 17th century English law considered it. His Proprietary was modeled after the Calvert Maryland (Baltimore) Proprietary issued forty-seven years before. The King had learned a lot in those years (mostly from an obdurate Massachusetts), and it was changed in one major respect. Within five years of approval, all major laws were to be submitted to the Privy Council, which with Crown approval could void the legislation. While ostensibly a limit on Penn, it proved to be more a limit on an energic legislature. The King specifically mentioned the infamous Navigation Acts in his grant–there would be no legal escape from London’s colonial “system”. That Act asserted the right of the Crown to pass English taxes on to the colonies. There it is, “taxation without representation” applied to Pennsylvania.

Having said this, the Crown deposited political powers in Penn personally–included at the discretion of Penn was the role and impact of an elected legislature. So long as Penn’s laws conformed to English laws, Penn himself had free “reign”. Whatever governance Penn established within English tradition, recognizing the rights of an English citizen (which did not include the franchise), was compatible with the grant. He did envision some sort of public-private “partnership” which, in his mind, rested firmly on its Quaker majority composition. But lodged in his personality, if not in the back of his mind, was a style of governance that he personally  exercised. He did not see fundamental or foundational decisions as requiring public input.  His critical “personal”  responsibility was to mediate the operation of the Pennsylvania colony with the intentions/policy of the King, Parliament, Privy Council and the Board of Trade. That personalism, the core of the sole Proprietary, I contend, is the chief reason Pennsylvania followed its own path to political development, a path seriously different from most other colonies. It was a path that traveled through its own unique territory, and encountered its own particular issues and problems that shaped its institutions and political development.

As we shall see Penn transferred the political structures, but he personally devised the relationships among these structures–and he did so to facilitate his personal goals, Holy Grail Experiment for Quakers, and his real estate profit ambitions for himself and his family. We have discussed the former previously, now we dwell on the latter. No surprise I suspect,  to the reader, this had rather direct ties to our economic development history.

Holy Experiment and Real Estate–His real estate campaign was remarkable. Baltzell credits him with being an excellent salesmen and publicist, which is confirmed by another historian, William I Hull who asserted “The private motives of his perspective colonists to which Penn appealed … were religious, political and economic[99] William I Hull, William Penn (New York, Oxford University Press,, 1937), pp. 221. Penn  saw the colony as a Holy (Quaker) Experiment, but ran/managed it more as a real estate venture. His policy system, composed of his Frames and series of legislation collectively known as the Charter of Privileges (his de facto constitution) exposed him as intending to establish some sort of investor-resident corporation managed by his proposed policy system. In its institutions and fundamental economic base, he merely intended to copy his perceived sense of English 17th century local government/economic base, and install the First Purchasers as the governing class of the colony–its landed elite. Property, principally land ownership, was the entry into his policy system.

Land sales and land ownership were (1) his goal, and (2) the chief source of power in the administration of the very large English manor that was Pennsylvania. He may have had his designs and plans, which set contemporary  planner’s hearts all atwitter, but they were plans developed in England and never were successfully applied in any but the smallest details once in Pennsylvania. The rhetoric of “greene” city planning has carried on to this day; Two wide streets, today’s Broad and Market) connected to a grid, within which were four neighborhood open areas (Franklin, Washington, Rittenhouse Squares and Logan Circle). The “on the street” reality was that deviances were numerous. The plan was soon rendered obsolete after its initial outline was settled (if not before). Despite some good inclinations and intentions, Penn quickly lost whatever planning vision he held for his urban-export-capitol in the chaotic press to settle and close land sales.

Over the next several decades Philadelphia was to be left to its own fate and dispositions. Land sales decisions, compromises with topography, and with Swede-Finn-English already resident, spread out his waterfront, and in a matter of a few years, devolved into a series of mixed and conflicting uses. The sustained in-migration of new settlers meant a never ceasing drive to the city periphery, beyond Philadelphia’s predetermined boundaries,  spilling over to independent boroughs/towns–the suburbs. Penn held a firmer hand over the hinterland, using his incorporation powers, combined with requirements for rapid sale of land, and people attraction marketing efforts. In all this we see the seeds of Penn’s future approach to Pennsylvania settlement, as a profit-making strategy, dominated by his real estate perspective. This real estate perspective, a core of early Pennsylvania histories, got pushed off to the margins in the next two centuries.

Frankly, over the years, historians, without challenging the real estate/economics theme, simply focused more on the political aspects of Penn’s colonial administration. In many ways there was a need to do so; the political crisis Penn unleashed with his deficient “Frames” provincial constitution–combined with the tolerance motif of Quaker Pennsylvania political culture (protruding into Indian relationships, tolerance of religion, and openness to different ethnic groups) was the larger story. When that story bumped into the politics of the American Revolution, all other perspectives dropped off the table.

Herein lies the problem. Penn, often loosely identified as a Whig of sorts, did not establish a Whig policy system in Pennsylvania. His Frames constitution clearly at best created a policy system that was to dominated by a land aristocracy:(1) his First Purchasers as his most clearly defined electoral constituency; (2) his conception of Philadelphia municipal governance as a English city with the guild substituted for his “Frist Purchasers” Society of Free Traders; (3) his lack of empowerment of the Pennsylvania legislature; (4) his failure to embrace separation of executive, legislative and judicial branches; and most outstandingly, if subtle, (5) his focus on the township (and then on the county), rather than provincial governance reflected his desire for a decentralized colonial government. Penn followed a “bottoms up” settlement strategy that from the very beginning centered on the township. Penn’s decentralized policy system which he rightly deemed more congruent with his real estate focus, and his desire to generate profits and revenues for the support of himself and his family. But his was not just a “property” conception of government; it was also “medieval manorial” — agricultural economic base, supplemented by the necessary incorporation of a traditional English city government to govern his port and process its exports/imports. He seemed amazingly blind to the vacuum in that urban governance left  without its central engine: the guild oligarchy policy system.

In any event, there was precious little actual democracy in this policy system that rested within the pages of his first two Frames of government.

The Penn Proprietary–It is going to be no surprise that the town, land sales and real estate permeated in his design of the township (and later initial county) governance. The City of Philadelphia was also caught up in this as well. His Frames concentrated his Proprietary powers into dominance of the local government functions and deliberative/judicial bodies that were crucial instruments of his settlement strategy. His proposed framework for provincial matters was a lower legislature limited in franchise and powers which “suggested” initiatives and policies for its upper house or the Proprietor. An empowered upper chamber dominated by Proprietary appointments, and either himself as Governor or his hired Deputy Governor essentially were to make the decisions on fundamental provincial matters. Bureaucracy, such as it was, consisted of the judiciary which he largely appointed, and his Personnel Secretariat, headed by his Superintendent and his Land Office, through which he conducted his real estate functions. Settlement of townships was the core economic development strategy, and development of a “urban” capitol city-port city, his less well-thought through secondary strategy. From his perspective, control of land and settlement translated into personal profits, stable politics, and Proprietary political dominance.

Concentrating upon his Secretariat Bureaucracy and leadership, the Penn Proprietary pursued its settlement/real estate growth strategy. As we shall see in a later module, the urban Philadelphia element went its own way, and was left pretty much untouched by the Secretariat, who used it only to export what was grown or taken from its hinterland backwoods. The political unit associated with the settlement strategy was the hinterland town/ship. Penn controlled that process from start, town-building, to its independence as an incorporated town, or borough. In this he had undisputed right to confer, without anyone (the legislature, for instance) having any say in the decision. Penn was also the only source of land for purchase, all unsold land being his personal untaxed property. It was the job of the Secretariat to assemble, subdivide, plat, sell, close and collect any quitrents and terms of the land sale. The first step was purchase of the land from Native Americans, a requirement that Penn imposed upon himself, Quakers, and the legislature in its turn adopted. A clear title for land sale started only with acknowledged treaty purchase of the land from the resident tribe. We shall see this aspect of the strategy, while not perfect, was the gold standard of colonial settlement strategy–and remarkably successful through to the 1730’s.

Next to follow was his surveyors and land plat bureaucracy, including local courts of jurisdiction. Some areas were developed for speculation, but in Penn’s first years he worked with larger purchasers and was able to settle a town with a collection of these “land investors”, Germantown for example. He required purchased land to be settled within three years, or title would revert to Penn. Other than survey and plat, infrastructure was left to the town once incorporated–this proved to be a major deficiency. Penn retained as his own personal property ten percent of the land purchased–of his own choosing– for personal speculation. The town bureaucracy, including the town court and justices (a fused legislative-judicial system of several units). This governance collected annual quitrents and implemented the terms of the land sale, and conducted the affairs of the new community. This town-county government nexus was the heart, soul  and purpose, to the extent such existed in the turbulent period that followed, of the Proprietary Executive Branch.

We shall go into much greater detail in a following module, but the take away is the Penn Proprietary became the de facto executive branch of colonial Pennsylvania after 1701 . The Executive Branch concentrated its power base and a good deal of its attention to real estate and the sub-provincial levels of government. To be sure, Penn Frame-based policy system, resting on himself, a near-monarch, or his deputy governor (in his absence), an upper legislature which served as his Privy Council/Cabinet, and a lower house, the Assembly, which arguably was the Frame’s weakest institution. The Frames left no doubt that Penn intended to control provincial politics and policy-making as intensely as sub-state government. The Assembly offered input, but it could not even decide when it came in and out of session. It could not approve legislation–that was done in the upper house, and it had no taxing powers. Moreover, its basis of legitimacy was left unspecified-just who did it represent? The First Purchasers? Quakers? Property-Owning Residents? Or, perish the thought, the People in a proper Whiggish-Lockean sense?

As we go on to discuss below, Penn’s vision of the Assembly did not work out–at all, and from the start. It was the Assembly that launched the civil war, in the very first sessions it met in 1683. It twice rejected his Frames (actually his second Frame was an effort to bridge a compromise). It also rejected his governance for Pennsylvania, the Society of Free Traders–a Municipal Corporation. All that plus the near succession of the Lower Three Counties (the future State of Delaware) and his fight with Calvert’s Maryland over boundaries translated into an administrative-structural chaos by the time Penn left for England in 1784. His departure, caused by a variety of reasons (including one wonders if he was quitting, or had been fired) only made things worse. He was absent for almost fifteen years (1699), and during that time just about everything went wrong that possibly could have.

That included his being stripped of the Proprietary for three years, and his replacement by the New York royal governor, who mostly was as absent as Penn. It also included a war, a Quaker heretical fragmentation with enormous political implications–and to top it off his wife’s death, and his constant flirting with bankruptcy–caused of all things by his inadvertent signing away of his proprietary rights to his personal financial advisor which commenced a decade or so of legal battles. Did I mention the Glorious Revolution in 1689 kicked out Penn’s King, Charles I, and replaced him with William and Mary who held totally different ideas about colonial administration? It was not until the new royal administration decided it wanted a little to do with governing Pennsylvania–which was nothing but trouble in their short reign–and returned the Proprietary to Penn (1696), who by that time had serious thoughts about selling it. After securing some legal comfort, Penn would return to Pennsylvania for a second spin at governance in 1699, which we will discuss shortly. But in the meantime (1685-1699), while Penn’s “bad times rolled on, offering little respite that would soothe Penn’s soul”, another development had evolved that made the context of Pennsylvania governance significantly different from when he first left: an organized political group had coalesced around an opponent who did not share Penn’s vision expressed in his first two Frames, and who had secured serious influence over the still frustrated and largely powerless Assembly. In his absence the political civil war had begun. Let’s see what happened.

Module II: Time of Troubles

Previous to his first departure, Penn, from the rather diverse lot of First Purchasers, recruited a number of individuals, and supplemented them with family, friends and acquaintances armed with vital skills to form his core political leadership that was to exercise day-to-day administration of the colony subject, of course, to his direction . As Baltzell observes “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 [wealth] rather than leadership qualifications [99] E. Digby Baltzell, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia (The Free Press, 1979), p. 127. Most were Quakers, but over the years Scots Irish, Scots and English wandered into the mix–creating a bit of religious chatter by the Quaker majority. By no means did Penn’s cast of characters be compared to Virginia’s “royalist” cast, nor New York’s manor-mercantile elite, Charleston/South Carolina’s Barbadian plantation owners, or even New England’s more governmentally focused Puritan elite. Penn’s Proprietary elite was more free-flowing, opportunistic, with an entrepreneurial bent whose view of political affairs reflected their economic plans than their political visions and values. When Penn left town for the first time in 1684. one man emerged as a key leader, Thomas Lloyd, and he is the individual entrusted to handle affairs when he left in 1685. Did that prove to be a mistake.

It  was Penn’s well-to-do allies who held the upper hand during the first decade of the colony’s existence. Working through the Council (the upper house-Cabinet) these men affixed to Penn’s grant of executive power certain judicial and legislative functions which had been reserved to the Proprietor, appointing judges to county courts, and to the Provincial Court, and submitting laws on the Council’s authority for the Assembly’s approval.


Indeed as he held power, the proprietor’s friends became his uneasy allies, jealous of their newly-gained prerogatives, and thus wary of their instructions from England. And from their position of economic advantage, they were dissatisfied with Penn’s land policy [i.e. the settlement nexus discussed above]; it barred speculation [by them] which was financially stifling; and it was inconsistently applied, especially regarding the proprietor himself who retained one tenth [of land sales, which lay] mostly idle, and, of course did not pay quitrents [taxes] which were to be exacted from all other real property [99] Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 46

It was Penn’s real estate based settlement strategy, the path to Penn’s personal profit that rubbed his allies raw. Now that he was in England, he looked more an more like an absentee landlord who was abusing his tenants. Remarkably more than sixty years later, that charge would constitute Benjamin Franklin’s, then Speaker of the Assembly” indictment of the Penn Proprietary–and the principal bottom line reason why the colony need to fire him and replace him with a royal governor. As early as 1686, in light of this criticism and warnings that an insurrection was afoot, he reorganized his executive branch and centered it in a Commission composed of a number of his still key allies; they included men like his deputy governor Markham, his surveyor and Secretariat Thomas Holmes, James Claypoole, and Thomas Lloyd–his new choice for Deputy Governor (he was a Welsh Quaker, Oxford educated). Instead of decentralizing power and sharing the benefits, Penn’s Commission only centralized it in the hands of one institution, and made no disposition to share any goodies that came out of the colony. Brotherly love apparently had its economic limitations and his absence did not make Pennsylvania Quaker’s heart go fonder.

Lloyd, Penn’s choice for Deputy Governor turned it down, and Penn appointed (1688) John Blackwell, a Puritan with a strong military background in his place. It all went south [for Penn} after that. Penn’s woes and intransigence had left Lloyd adrift; Penn’s leadership style and the lack of any popular opinion in his favor, enabled, if not pushed Lloyd to operate independently from Penn, becoming “the first in a long line of bosses [which as we shall later see included Benjamin Franklin] who dominated Pennsylvania politics for much of the state’s history” [[99] E. Digby Baltzell, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, p. 127. Lloyd who still held the position of President of the Commission refused to recognize Blackwell’s authority, and instead used the Commission to bypass the Deputy General–a sort of internal coup which Penn 3,000 miles away could not make a timely counter-attack. Lloyd then used the Council [the upper chamber] and transformed that into his base of power by 1692.

The Glorious Revolution occurred during this period, and Penn himself was hanging onto the Proprietary by his finger tips–he was unable to respond to Lloyd’s de facto power grab. In an attempt to reform his power base, Penn allowed Lloyd to pass in 1691 a bill establishing the Municipal Corporation of Philadelphia–incorporating it as a city. But Lloyd was able to patronize it with his supporters. The events of the day, however, quickly overwhelmed the Corporation, essentially rendering it still-born. Still the incorporation had mobilized commercial and trading elites of the city, and given them a potential stake in fighting the proprietorship.

When the Council in 1692 raised property taxes to pay their bills, all hell broke loose. The Assembly refused to pass it, and Lloyd himself was under attack. If Penn couldn’t run affairs, apparently neither could the Commission-Council. To complicate the picture a Quaker preacher, with strong political inclinations, spread a rigid view of Quaker fundamentalism that he argued had been made necessary by the “laxness” of living in the Pennsylvania wilderness. That polarized Quakers, their monthly and Annual Meetings. Lloyd was able to regain his luster somewhat by leading the opposition to the heresy, and by the end of 1692, nearly every political institution in Pennsylvania was fighting against the others, while the Quaker elite was itself hopelessly polarized.

Penn is Fired, Pennsylvania has a Royal Governor— In 1688, Britain entered into the “Nine Years War” (1688-97)  which is known in the colonies as King Williams’s War. Fought most savagely in Europe, along the Rhine and Ireland, it spread to the West Indies-North American colonies after 1691. This was a major, and culminating war launched by the aggressive policies of Louis XIV, and was regarded by Britain as very much a crisis of empires. As the war evolved, its effect on British colonial policy and administration was profound, and page-turning. A bottom line transformation was London, its newly created Board of Trade, and the Crown itself began a series of multi-year Parliamentary hearings, with an eye on making better use of its colonies for the general stability and growth of William and Mary’s new realm.

A new leadership and regulatory bodies were established, and a centerpiece reform was to revamp economic trade to be an active and serious contributor to the British (domestic) economy. All trade would flow to and from British ports, British lending institutions would be provided a monopoly for colonial investment capital, the colonies were restricted in the issue of cheap money in order to support the hard capital reserves and loans of British banks, and the colonies were expected to help pay for their own defense, and assist in supplying/financing military units to fight. A concern with Proprietary colonies governance, and the imposition of royal governors throughout the thirteen colonies triggered a period (after 1689) of general political instability–Pennsylvania went through its own distinctive period, which we now describe.

In this section, then, the reader should interpret the discussion from the prism that the “external environment of Pennsylvania policy system”, or our term the global competitive hierarchy, became a major player in internal Pennsylvania policy-making and politics. Through its first decade, Penn had sheltered Pennsylvania from the Crown’s attention and colonial administration. Pennsylvania Quakers were not rigidly regulated, and their dysfunctional politics and their chronic anti-authoritarian pushback against colonial administration more or less tolerated. That era was over by the very early 1690’s–indeed Penn himself was under attack, and his Proprietary charter under scrutiny.

Between 1692 and 1696 (or so) fundamental structural reform of Pennsylvania governance was introduced to Pennsylvania by the Crown, and the disruption and dysfunction caused and wreaked on Penn’s now-imploded Frames of Government was massive, and durable. In that short period, the clash of political structures, my so-called seventy-five year political civil war between Proprietary and the Legislature was launched. From this point on Penn’s Frames of Government were damaged beyond repair–and like Humpty Dumpty they fell off the wall, never to be put back again. Moreover, after 1696, London/Crown had essentially rejected management of a Pennsylvania through as a Crown Colony (using a royal governor), closing the door to the radical change in Pennsylvania government/policy system restructure. No matter, it would seem, how bad Pennsylvania policy-making deteriorated, London had determined it was Penn’s (and his family) problem to fix. No matter how dysfunction the political civil war evolved (and there were times that decision was questioned), until 1776, the Proprietary was going to be London’s dog in the hunt. The Proprietary could not collapse, no matter how hard the Penn family worked to make it do so.

Quakers supposedly do not “war”, but when the war came to Pennsylvania, Quakers fiercely resisted involvement in, and financial support of that war. Anti war Quaker pacifism saturated the politics of the colony–and if that were not sufficient, the Quaker “government”, particularly the Assembly, provided aid and comfort to Philadelphia smugglers, laundering pirate booty, and even assisting privateers in milking the West Indies–a key point of battle in the war. Parliamentary hearings focused attention on how much Pennsylvania and other colonies were hurting Britain’s economy and war effort. The Navigation Acts were revamped to reflect change as described above, and Pennsylvania, among others, failed to comply, and flaunted their resistance. The reaction was surely predictable:

By 1691 … the global war with France convinced virtually everyone in London concerned with affairs of the empire that the colonies in both economic and strategic terms were crucially important in the competition with France for trade and empire. Heretofore a concern for regularity and discipline had inspired colonial reform; now nothing less than the fate of England’s overseas possessions was at stake. Inspired by the critical nature of the colonial defense problem, and also by recent reports form the Governor of Maryland that Pennsylvania merchants were trafficking with the French and pro-French Indians. the Lords of Trade recommended in October 12, 1691 that Pennsylvania be placed under royal government, and annexed to either New York or Maryland. A full year passed before Captain Benjamin Fletcher, royal governor of New York, was commissioned to assume the government of Pennsylvania, and another six months elapsed before Fletcher arrived in Philadelphia [99] Gary B. Nash, Quakers and Politics, 1681-1726 (Northeastern University Press, New Edition, 1993), pp. 182-3

So the Crown removed William Penn as Proprietor, and his Deputy Governor Blackwell was fired. The Proprietary Charter seemingly had been revoked. In his stead the royal governor of New York assumed the title and responsibility as Pennsylvania governor, a royal Crown governor. Given the power to replace the Frames, Fletcher, a military official and Anglican did so. The Royal Governor set up a lower house, the Assembly, as a representative body to represent its citizenry, as was the practice in the other royal colonies. Its powers were minimal; the governor had a veto, could call and end legislative sessions, and he had powers similar to Penn’s over local government and the judiciary. If anything the Legislature was weaker than in the Frames, although its legitimacy as the representative of the general population was established. The provincial structures of Penn’s executive branch proprietary were terminated, and a new Council, to advise the Royal Governor was named.

Fletcher, after offering THOMAS Lloyd presidency of the Council, he refused. Thomas Lloyd, an active, perhaps prime player in supporting smuggling, laundering, and trade with British enemies, (and at this time, a major player in the 1691 incorporation of the Philadelphia Municipal Corporation) shifted his political “machine” into the Assembly. In 1694, Thomas Lloyd died. Nevertheless, the Assembly had not only assumed the role of leading the opposition to Royal Governor Fletcher, it was in position to continue the actions and policies that had invited the overthrow of the Propriety. The shift of power to the Assembly from Penn’s upper  house/cabinet/Commission was real and proved durable, if dependent completely on continued governance by a royal-appointed governor. Fletcher, in reaction, appointed Lloyd’s opposition, a good deal of whom were Penn Proprietary (Markham, Claypoole as examples) and others were inserted into the local and judicial offices of the government. Penn’s political allies, in essence, had been inserted into the new royal Crown regime–and Penn’s enemies into the Legislature.

Finally, Fletcher, with Markham’s influence, reached an agreement with the Lower Three Counties (future Delaware).  Markham had set up a sort of federation in which the Upper Three counties had their own legislature, and the Lower Three their own in 1691, and agreed to by Penn. Markham became their “deputy governor”. When royal governor Fletcher came on the scene, he engineered a compromise uniting the two, by appointing Markham as Pennsylvania’s deputy governor of the Lower Counties, and the young DAVID Lloyd as the Upper Deputy Governor. In one form or other, this federation-like distinction between the lower and upper counties persisted to 1776. Always a thorn in the Proprietary side, the Lower Counties, until the Revolution, possessed a degree of autonomy from Philadelphia that became a bedrock fixture of the policy system.

What also became a fixture in the Pennsylvania policy system was the rigid and unqualified opposition of the Assembly to whomever was Governor: Fletcher, or William Penn, the ghost from the past. The opposition, dominated by the two Lloyds:

embarked on a program of obstruction. Previous Quaker officeholders shunned such [offices] as Fletcher offered them on the new county courts, unseated county clerks, refused to yield up the court records to their successors, and the Quaker leaders on the Council [Lloyd’s machine] quickly moved to obtain seats in the new Assembly. Thereafter, the game was a familiar one played against [Penn’s Proprietary and his Deputy Governor]: refuse to admit the governor’s power until threatened with treason, stall for time, bargain for laws investing the Assembly with wider powers, narrow the scope of appointed officials and county courts, and word legislation acts so ambiguously that they meaning would be open to endless questioning [99] Gary B. Nash, Quakers and Politics, 1681-1726 (Northeastern University Press, New Edition, 1993), pp. 186

Totally sandbagged, Fletcher eventually left town, and, complaining bitterly to London about Quaker intransigence, returned to New York.  In the meantime, Penn had been working his connections, but he quickly gathered momentum when it was apparent the London royal governor option had effectively and essentially failed, recognizing “that Quaker cooperation in the defense of the middle colonies had failed dismally under the unpopular Fletcher and might be better obtained through a bargain with Penn”[99] Gary B. Nash, Quakers and Politics, 1681-1726, p. 187. Penn cut a deal, late in 1694 (officially Fletcher turned over authority in March 1695) in which he got the colony returned to him in return for his “compliance with future requests” from London on military assistance and financing–and that he take personal charge of the colony, i.e. go back to Pennsylvania. Penn’s return to power, however, did little to quell the Quaker opposition to the war, or anything else.

By 1696, the pressure was on Penn to stop the smuggling and bring Philadelphia merchants into compliance with the Navigation Laws. Other legislation was threatened; a serious effort was made to establish Vice-Admiralty Courts in the colonies themselves, taking away key provincial autonomy. As usual Pennsylvania was a ground zero in this debate, and Penn stuck around in England to fight or at least temper the legislation. Still, despite headwinds from London, Pennsylvania governance, Lloyd and Markham, did little to inhibit merchants to cease their flagrant support for smuggling and laundering pirate booty; nor did they restrain Pennsylvania courts from failing to convict its violators. Eventually a law was approved in the Assembly “an Act for Preventing Fraud and Regulating Abuses in Trade”, but  its language included a loophole that made it unlikely any Philadelphia merchants brought to court could be convicted–an loophole, lawyer David Lloyd used to recruit support among merchants and traders. With Philadelphia still in non-compliance, pressure on Penn to head back to Philadelphia increased. In early 1699, for his own reasons, and to qualm the uproar in London, Penn returned.

During this period, Markham and Lloyd were negotiating for almost two years to find a way to structure Pennsylvania provincial government so the dysfunctional and ofttimes almost irrational political conflict could be restrained. Markham reached an agreement/compact with Lloyd: “the Act of Settlement”. It included a significant modification to Penn’s 1681 Frame of Government, restructuring both the governance and the franchise. Recognizing the uproar in London, Markham and Lloyd linked Pennsylvania structure reform with a second initiative to appropriate funds for the war effort, and a third bill, which was never approved, to recruit a militia for service in the war. By this point, the Quaker political majority in Pennsylvania had been sufficiently diluted by immigration, that Quaker leadership was concerned Anglicans, whose urban vote was substantial (Philadelphia attracted many New England and New York draft dodgers), could leverage their way into the policy process. It still took two legislative sessions to garner the votes for final approval. Penn, still in England, had finally reached the position that his Frames had to be reformed, especially if he was to secure approval trade, and war effort legislation demanded of him by London. He put aside (for the moment) his substantial concerns for his settlement strategy, and allowed Markham to work his compromise.

Markham was successful in altering the electoral franchise to make it more difficult for Pennsylvania newcomers (inherently less loyal to Penn) to vote, favoring Quakers–Penn’s base; . The property requirements for farmers were broadened so that farmers could be eligible to vote. That broadening was not extended to urban artisans, a grouping that tended to vote in opposition to Penn. A two year residency requirement, an element of the Act of Settlement, provided a salve for healing the tension. On the other hand Markham agreed to significant structural change by empowering the General Assembly. The Assembly was authorized to initiate legislation so it could indeed make policy and not simply react to Penn’s legislation. The body was limited to four delegates per county–cutting its size by half. The Assembly could set its adjournment, and franchise eligibility for its delegates [99] While still lacking critical, if not essential powers, the Legislature was acknowledged as the representative of the populace and as a legitimate branch of government.

The Act of Settlement was approved in Pennsylvania, but rejected in London–and in 1699 when Penn returned the Act, no longer in effect was an open sore in Pennsylvania’s body politc–a major outrage that demanded immediate rectification.

 Module III

Penn’s Back in Town: Revamp Real Estate/Settlement Strategy and Charter of Privilege

He’s Back in Office–Penn arrived in December 1699. From the beginning he was well aware, he had lost effective control over provincial politics and the Assembly.

Upon arrival in the province, Penn set for himself five tasks: to settle London’s dictate that Pennsylvania had to support Britain’s war effort, to establish conformity with English colonial trade regulations, to stabilize and establish a government accepted by him and the Lloyd faction, to restore the Proprietary prerogatives and rejuvenate the Proprietary, and to reboot his land-settlement strategy to pay off his debts, and generate future profits to himself and his family [99] see Gary B. Nash, Quakers and Politics, 1681-1726 (Northeastern University Press, New Edition, 1993), pp. 217. He was “under the gun”, stressed for time, in each of these tasks. With a crowded agenda, it was always likely that the blowback or feedback loop if one prefers, from each of these tasks was a volatile dynamic in the achievement of any. Given Penn’s own demonstrated lack of political skill, volatile and uneven temperament and curious practice of business management, the future was always, in hindsight, in doubt. In the end, he did better–and worse–than might be expected.

His support in Philadelphia, which had doubled in population since he left in 1684 (it was catching up to Boston the colony’s largest) was restricted to a landed and merchant Quaker budding aristocracy–a minority in both the city elite and populace. His hold over his Quaker co-religionists was marginal:

In both city and [countryside], the majority of Quakers were content to follow the entrenched Quaker leaders, foremost of whom was David Lloyd–“the chief director of government” … Enjoying the support of the Quaker merchants of Philadelphia, and most of the country Quakers, Lloyd’s party clearly controlled affairs at all levels of government. Both the Council (upper house of the legislature] and the Assembly were under its sway, as were the provincial and county courts…. But inversely opposed to the Quaker leaders were [Quaker evangelist/fundamentalist wing] and a growing Anglican minority. [Penn wrote the time his reaction to this] ‘seventeen years faction in Government and almost indissolvable knots in Property’. It is also a colony habituated to self-rule, as turbulent as that might be. Proprietary prerogatives so long as Penn remained in England had been systematically disregarded.

Penn had lost his control over the commanding heights of Pennsylvania’s economic base. Merchants gravitated to Philadelphia and county seats–Pennsylvania’s urban settlements. Their wealth and influence resulted from foreign trade, seaborne trade of food staples/lumber/furs, and Lower County tobacco to the West Indies. From the West Indies these Pennsylvania shippers took on sugar, molasses, run, wine. In England the shippers picked up the commodities needed in Pennsylvania, hard goods, dry and manufactured goods. Like Boston and New York a smuggling, off the books economy, had also taken root to avoid the British Navigation laws–and preying on all this shipping were the famous pirates we so love. Pirates bought their booty to time where it was purchased by merchants for internal consumption. Other merchants and ship builders stocked and repaired the pirate’s ship.

Penn was caught in the middle, with the Vice-Admiralty Courts and everybody else in London expecting him to honor his deal and break up this anti-English nexus. Enjoying a honeymoon of sorts he was able to pass a strong bill condemning the maritime abuses and securing the praise of his British overlords. Penn was victorious in part because his discussions with Lloyd had made it clear Penn was willing to renegotiate the Frames, so long as he could secure a strong bill supporting Britain’s maritime. The victory, however, ended his love affair with Philadelphia merchants, and consumed much of his already limited political capital. His relations with the Anglican merchants, and Anglicans in general deteriorated almost immediately. Penn appoint a court of inquiry,, composed exclusively of Quakers, to investigate and determine the validity of Anglican concerns with his Proprietary and himself. This did not go well from anyone’s perspective.

The few allies Penn still held (Markham, the most important), were remnants from the now departed royal governor’s administration, and moderate Quakers who opposed aggressive Quaker fundamentalism that polarized Pennsylvania’s Quaker community. These moderate, relatively pro-Penn forces maintained a tenuous hold on the upper chamber (the Provincial Council, and its derivative the Commission). Since Penn could no longer rely on his closeness to the King, he was able to take advantage of his contacts in Parliament and Whitehall to advocate for the merchants. He also could “play off of’ William and Mary’s all-too-obvious determination to bring Pennsylvania into the colonial fold. On a personal level, he had a new wife and a new set of sons and daughter. Penn was no longer the charismatic religious leader he was fifteen years previous; rather he was a battered shell of his former Holy Experiment self. On a good day, however, he was a disillusioned realist. More damaging to his larger interests, he sat on a precarious jumble of personal debt/legal troubles and debt resulting from his financing of Pennsylvania colony. If he had tempered is religious mission, his personal finances became his obsession. His land/ settlement/fur trade/quitrent Secretariat tasked with the implementation of the economic strategy of getting his family out of debt–at almost any cost to his larger image and standing in the colony.

The Land Sales/Property/Settlement Strategy –Penn had left Pennsylvania in 1684 due in large measure to his mishandling of land sales, and his micro-management/capricious. of not arbitrary, settlement strategy  crudely tilted to generate profits to him personally. His Personnel Secretariat handled this matter, but once incorporated land administration was mostly taken over by local government: township and county courts and their judicial bodies. Quitrent collection, for the most part fell into the Secretariat, but enforcement in the judicial bodies. To the land owner in particular, a flood of administrative and elected offices got involved with whatever land problems arose, including subsequent private land sales.

In Penn’s absence this bureaucratic morass collapsed completely, with a strong aroma of Proprietary corruption and incompetence permeating throughout the general population, which by nature of daily life could not escape its grasping and incompetent tentacles.  Upon his arrival Penn, determined that restoring his finances meant rejuvenating the agencies with new personnel and mass termination of his previous employees. He launched upon his revival a revamped Secretariat, under his young twenty-five year old protégé, James Logan, with orders to clean up the mess, and start the flow of money into Penn coffers.

Upon arrival Penn began terminating his own previous administration, from customs and wharves, to Secretariat, to courts and personnel in general. This, of course, made former allies, enemies. Several were well-connected in London, and back they went to stir up the natives in Whitehall. Over his tenure in Pennsylvania, concerns arose in London as to what exactly Penn was doing? Was he undermining colonial policies and administration or supporting it? Worse, was he setting up his own power base to the detriment of British colonial governance? In the end, it was a combination of these issues and concerns, which really prompted Penn to return to England (permanently) after only about eighteen months in Philadelphia. The perceived reality of many in Pennsylvania, on the other hand, was they had given him the boot. For many the popular antipathy to Penn was caused by his land sales-settlement-quitrent program carried out by Logan.

This proved to be a near-fatal mistake. His advocacy for colonial trade laws and support of the war effort was thrust upon him, in many instances against his natural inclinations. With the Markham 1696 compromise he had demonstrated a willingness to negotiate a meaningful restructuring of provincial government, but his Proprietary land-settlement strategy had never sat well with Pennsylvania residents or their elites. To the general population, the Secretariat was a private government of a landlord imposed on their private property, their homestead or business, and on the local government set up upon settlement. The Lloyd anti-Proprietary party was dead-set against its continuance. for a variety of reasons, including a logical position that all unsold Pennsylvania land was Penn’s personal property, untaxed, and unregulated.

Considering that property extended westerly to who knows where (no agreed upon western boundary), his landholdings was an empire unto itself. The incorporation of towns and boroughs and Penn’s dominance in the governments of towns and counties government/courts made the legislature an island on the top of huge mass of Proprietary land and supportive governments. To be sure in 1700, the Governor Fletcher disruption had allowed Penn’s opposition to gain a foothold in the older local counties and towns, the huge yet unsettled hinterland, was still Penn’s to dominate. In that the fiction that Penn’s return to Proprietorship had restored the Frames, or whatever was left of them, court decisions and bureaucratic administration of land matters was a real burden to any who had to deal with them.

Quitrents in particular, which Quakers seemingly hated almost as much as war, were more than a sore point; civil disobedience was widespread, making a mockery of the terms of Penn’s initial land sale, and opening the door to outright or semi-squatters, who lacking clear title were almost vulnerable and nervous if they ran afoul of Penn and his Secretariat. As we shall see Indian relations figured mightily in the settlement-land sales, and that always contained an element of life or death implications if things went awry. In short, Penn’s land sales-settlement strategy touched nearly everybody in Penn’s Pennsylvania. Get it wrong, and Penn would alienate the bulk of its population, regardless of religion or ethnicity.

Into this minefield stepped young, brilliant, arrogant, headstrong and insensitive twenty-five year old converted newly-arrived Quaker, James Logan. Logan would become one of the two or three most important leaders in the first half century of Pennsylvania, and a man of the Enlightenment to boot; but in these first years he was not the man Penn needed to reboot his land-settlement strategy–at least in the respect of keeping the population from rushing headlong into David Lloyd’s opposition. Logan possessed considerable organizational skills, and a hard, diligent and competent manager he got things back in a business, ship-shape manner–but scattered along the way was a mass of landowners displaced, dispossessed, perceptually harassed, pretty hot-to-trot, mad under-the-collar hinterland resident. The agent of this displease was Penn’s “Court of Inquiry” set up within days of his arrival in December 1699. Merry Christmas, y’awl.  Under Logan it was tasked to inspect all land titles, review all previous land sales, and examine who had paid what (or not) in quitrents.

The response from the start was electric, “a great Agrievance” and “contrary to their Rights and Privileges as Free-born English Subjects, And Not Warranted by any Law, Custom or Usage of this Province“. Few even showed up when called in for a review. “Logan met with nothing but resentment and obdurate refusals wherever he went“. Logan himself in later years in reflection admitted that “Penn was hard to the People; and thereby lost the affection of many who had almost ador’d him[99] see Gary B. Nash, Quakers and Politics, 1681-1726 (Northeastern University Press, New Edition, 1993), pp. 216

the Charter of Privileges–Penn’s political reform agenda was itself pretty crowded. The division between the Lower and Upper Colonies needed attention. The rivalry between the two was substantial, and the former had never reconciled itself to Penn’s Proprietary land grant. Despite a full year of negotiations, no agreement was reached.

In regards to reform of the Frames, Lloyd entered into discussions and negotiations with Penn almost immediately upon arrival. The process consumed a year and a half, and was a clumsy protracted process, marked by fits of temper. It culminated in the final week of Penn’s second stay in Pennsylvania, and parts of it were approved after he left. As he left he enjoyed little leverage in the negotiations, and in Lloyd’s mind the Frames, the constitution, needed considerable modification to allow the Assembly a more significant role in governance and economic life. On top of this. Lloyd mightily disagreed with William and Mary’s colonial policies. and simply hated their reformulated Navigation Laws. Before Penn’s arrival he successfully was able to circumvent the latter through support of pirates, smuggling and competitive trade with West Indies–all of which inured him to Philadelphia’s commercial elite. Probably with Lloyd assistance, many merchants compiled a reform petition from Philadelphia’s commercial elite (September 1701) which was sent to the Assembly. This was to be the legislative counter to the Frames. The petition called for radical changes in property law, land sales and judiciary (the Charter of Properties), and for a restructuring of the Frames government (Charter of Privileges).

David Lloyd was the chief advocate for Pennsylvania’s version of colonial provincial legislature. His authority and voting majority in this Assembly was secured by a Quaker political-economic elite “which showed scant regard  for the proprietor who made their New world existence possible[99] Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 61-2. If this were not sufficient in itself, 1700 was an age that witnessed the rise in colonial popular legislatures. In the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, with  William and Mary’s reform of the Navigation Acts, nearly every American colony went through its own version of transforming its provincial legislature into provincial sovereignty personified in the legislature, the colonial version of Parliament in the wilderness. We shall discuss this in more detail in our discussion of Massachusetts, but ” the common feature of these colonial structures [provincial assemblies] was the rising power of the lower house of the legislature, a body controlled, in Pennsylvania as elsewhere, by the [resident] economic and social elite. Content to mimic the procedures of Parliament at the time, these [legislators] would ultimately consider their respective assemblies the equals of the House of Commons“. As the source of colonial legitimacy, the Assembly were the voice of its people–and to this definition of liberty David Lloyd was fully committed. [99] Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 61

As with the Lower/Upper Counties, a year of negotiation proved fruitless. What finally got everyone’s attention was Penn’s determination in early 1701 that he needed to return to England in order to defend his Proprietary against legislation in Parliament. This forced the issue for both parties. Because the Frames reform always included a reform of his Proprietary land sales-quitrent-no taxes on Penn’s property, and the role of courts and Proprietary offices in the administration of land sales and titles/records, Lloyd the two issues were hopelessly intertwined. It was agreed, under pressure, to separate them into two distinct charters: the political under Charter for Privileges, and the property-court related under the Charter on Property. Tossed into the mix was the incorporation of Philadelphia (Municipal Corporation of Philadelphia, as a third action. That was initiated by Penn and promulgated by his executive order, the day before he left town.

At the time, it was the Charter of Property that drew the most attention, anti Proprietary opposition, and Penn’s resistance. Debate and negotiation on that document stalled. The Charter of Privileges had an easier go because in the end it was easy for both to fall back on the 1696 Act of Settlement (called at the time Markham’s Frame). Lloyd sensing opportunity, carved out special legislation on court structure. The lower county courts were empowered (counties could be created by the Legislature), and although Penn retained his power over judicial appointments, the Legislature was able to delink judges from absolute dominance by Proprietary. A third bill created a special Court for Property, stripping Penn of the right of land sales and the administration of property law. That body included eight men appointed by the proprietor and thirteen elected at large by the province electorate. That law also empowered the Assembly to create counties, and to approve the incorporated of chartered land development corporations. This ability of the Legislative to carve out a legitimate role in the activities of counties (and through counties, towns and boroughs), proved to be a major victory for Lloyd and the Legislature–although it would take the better part of three decades to break the Proprietary hold over local governments. The reader should take note of this as it will be the subject of several modules–and a major element in the legacy of Penn’s colony on the future American state.


Literally, on the night before his departure at New Castle, Penn agreed to the Charter of Privileges. He later claimed he opposed it, but signed it because he believed London would later reject it. In other letters during the negotiating period, he strongly stated that the increase in legislative powers would both provide defense to the colony in the event of another royal governor being appointed, and simultaneously allow the Assembly to not have its leadership determined by any future royal governor. In 1701, with another bill in Parliament threatening his second loss of the Proprietary Charter, these were salient concerns to the viability of his battered Holy Experiment.

The Frame of 1701, better known as the Charter of Privileges, reiterated the fundamental rights of Pennsylvanians–a sort of Holy Experiment Bill of Rights. Whatever their limitations today, these rights were not universally available to all Americans in 1700. Structurally, the 1701 Charter collapsed the two house legislature into one–eliminating the more powerful Upper House, the Provincial Council which was Penn’s structural bastion. Pennsylvania became a unicameral legislature, the only one in the thirteen provinces. Penn assented to the elevation of the Legislature to the level of the Executive Branch by empowering it to control the timing of its sessions, election of its own leadership and delegation of powers to set franchise eligibility for the election of its members. Most importantly it gave to the Assembly the right to submit its own bills for consideration, rather than rely exclusively on those from the (defunct) upper house or the Governor/Deputy Governor. In 1701 not all of the American colonial legislatures had this power–and to many the power was considered radical, an opening to rule by the Mob.

The Frame of 1701 … represented a rejection of the Quaker leader’s thinking on the nature of political institutions . The devices found in the Frames of 1682 and 168– a bicameral legislature, with a powerful upper house, the ballot indirect election, rotation–were omitted from the new instrument of government. Thus the Pennsylvania Assembly became the only such unicameral body in the British Empire, with the right to initiate legislation, elect officers nd appoint committees, and decide who could sit and the length of the session. The [former] Council [the combination upper house and advisory cabinet to the Governor] would be appointed by the Proprietor, but have no role in the legislative process [99] Joseph E Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History, p. 69

A second bill, authored by David Lloyd, created a judicial branch independent of the proprietorship, and defined the jurisdictions of the original and appellate courts created. On the merits, the Judiciary Act of 1701 was solid and corrected what had been at best a very confused, little understood judicial process. The Judiciary in Penn’s original Frame of Governance was, ultimately, subordinate to the proprietorship, and its structure and application of the law did little to enhance popular support or justice.  The fourth bill passed created a municipal corporation for the city of Philadelphia–granting it limited self-rule. By that time, 1701, Pennsylvania’s population was estimated at 20,000,; in 1784 it was about 2,500.


A second bill, authored by David Lloyd, created a judicial branch independent of the proprietorship, and defined the jurisdictions of the original and appellate courts created. On the merits, the Judiciary Act of 1701 was solid and corrected what had been at best a very confused, little understood judicial process. The Judiciary in Penn’s original Frame of Governance was, ultimately, subordinate to the proprietorship, and its structure and application of the law did little to enhance popular support or justice.  The fourth bill passed created a municipal corporation for the city of Philadelphia–granting it limited self-rule. By that time, 1701, Pennsylvania’s population was estimated at 20,000,; in 1784 it was about 2,500.


[the upper house and governor’s cabinet] would be appointed by the proprietor, but have no role in the legislative process [ i.e. functioning as an advisory cabinet to the Deputy and Governor]  [99] Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History, p. 69.

We can see Penn’s Whiggish tendencies best in this–but as remarkable was his willingness to limit his Proprietary rule so fundamentally. Most today tend to ascribe this to his having to confront reality; that such power in Pennsylvania had already been conceded in practice, and nothing was gained in maintaining a constitutional level fiction. In this vein during the course of debate on the Frame of 1701 in the Legislature, the delegates from the three southern counties simply left the Pennsylvania Assembly for their own separate Assembly the de facto legislature of the southern three counties. Much of the “spirit” behind the Frame of 1701 was to update the older Frames to the realities that had befallen them in the nearly decade and half since their first formulation. For its negotiators, there was no going back on the wreck the imposition of the royal governor had rendered on their viability and coherence. The 1701 Frame included a clause acknowledged existence and legitimacy of the two legislatures within his sole proprietorship.

As to the Charter on Property, negotiations continued on the deck of Penn’s ship, becalmed in port, Penn and Lloyd negotiated for three days. Just before the ship sailed, Lloyd delivered a final copy of those discussions, Penn, as only Penn would do, “hastily scanned it” and gave it his provisional support–and then left. On the way home he found Lloyd had inserted material that Penn contended should not have been there. Lloyd’s version would have significantly altered the landlord-property rights of the Proprietor–setting up an independent body to approve and administer most land related activities. Penn formally disavowed the document when he landed in London. The rejection of the Charter of Properties meant that Penn’s Proprietary retained authority and dominance in the settlement of Pennsylvania. That crucial economic development strategy and nexus of policies essential to the growth and development of the colony-province was to be a preserve of the Proprietary, and independent of the Legislature and provincial government. That division of power and authority would remain until the American Revolution threw the Proprietary out Pennsylvania’s door.

To the extent Penn administered the sole proprietorship after 1701, it was from London, through the appointment of individuals to serve as his surrogate Deputy Governor. Penn did not resolve his financial problems, which continued to his death. At his death Penn’s will asserted that he had lost a sum of 2,000 pounds in support of Pennsylvania [99] John Pomfret, the First Purchasers, p. 161. Interestingly, Penn in the future consistently defended Pennsylvania from the Board of Trade, and Parliamentary intrusions–asserting his powers of sole proprietorship as superior to that of those bodies. His sons did as well. Whatever the depth of the family’s despair on the state of Pennsylvania politics and policy, or their own inability to make a living off the economics of the colony, the Penn family held true to an essential element of the Holy Experiment–that Pennsylvania was a refuge from the excesses of royal will, a place where religious toleration and freedom from royal arbitrary governance were cornerstones.

The sole proprietorship, as amended by the Frame of 1701, continued until overthrown during the first month of the American War of Independence in 1776.



Whatever their faults, the three Frames as amended in 1701 are considered as the Constitution of the Province of Pennsylvania. In effect, the nineteen years trial and experience of governance in the colony had served as a nearly two decade long constitutional convention that yielded in a frame of government, but not a Charter of Property, and the beginning of an independent judiciary. It also made Pennsylvania a federation of two sets of counties each governed by their own legislature within the Proprietary Province. Included was a Holy Experiment mini Bill of Rights that exalted religious tolerance, civil liberties, and the right to free opinion and economic opportunity. From it would come, immediately upon its passage in 1701, a political civil war between Pennsylvania’s executive branch, the Proprietary, and its legislative branch, the Assembly. At no point through 1776 were the two branches not locked in their version of mortal combat. In 1765, the war was carried to London, demands for the termination of the Proprietary and the appointment by the King of a royal governor. That too failed, and the two belligerent branches limped on through the final years leading into the American Revolution.

I place a great deal of responsibility for Pennsylvania’s colonial political and economic evolution on the impact of the Frames constitution. In that the reader ought anticipate the following modules will suggest I am troubled with Pennsylvania’s political development, and strongly suggest that led to Pennsylvania’s failure to “institutionalize” important elements of its policy system-to the detriment of its economic development policy-making. It also fostered a tendency to form political machine-like (bosses) political entities to conduct its affairs. Perhaps more important, that constitution led directly to a very distinctive sub-state policy system–a decentralized one, and a very fragmented one. Both dynamics have been continued to the present day.

Also, one economic development strategy, homesteading-western settlement, figured prominently in the post-1750 evolution of the state, not because it was successfully managed, but rather the opposite. In this dynamic, the clash of political cultures that resulted created by the time of the Revolution an eastern versus western conflict of sub-policy systems that heavily impacted the two American state policy systems that followed after 1776. That clash of political cultures created a serious urban-hinterland regional distinction that is also present in contemporary policy/political life. It also will serve as an important introduction for our discussion of a major theme in this history: populism. These factors I believe also contributed to Pennsylvania’s decentralized tilt to its policy systems.

Perhaps surprisingly, the opposite holds true for Pennsylvania’s economic growth, which on the whole was outstanding in the colonial period. I attribute that to government’s inability to extend itself into the economy or its management, leaving Philadelphia in particular, a sort of colonial free trade zone, for the most part in the hands of its own commercial and financial elites. In fact, the reader will discover that I believe the constitution’s inadequacies fostered a intermittent involvement of private elites into political affairs, and a strong reliance on the private sector to make what in other colonies government-led policy. That reliance on the private sector, what has been called “privatism” continued into the political affairs of the State of Pennsylvania after the Revolution. We will take this a bit father in future chapters, as Pennsylvania’s private elites, those who did not return to England after the Revolution, played a very important role in the post-Revolutionary Federalist and anti-Federalist political movements. Privatism will be very evident as we discover the initial escapades of both Mainstream Economic Development and Community Development.

That is an awful lot to attribute to a “failed” constitution. A good deal of carrying that troubled load, however, is laid upon the failure of the sole proprietor policy system that governed the colony during the colonial period. The constitution is itself a sad expression of the sole proprietorship’s inability to govern effectively. In colonial America, Pennsylvania was the only example of a colony that with a small exception of two or three years, that was governed by a sole proprietorship in which an individual-family, not a business corporation (the other form of proprietorship) governed throughout the entire colonial period. If the reader still remembers our initial question that underlies this history, why are states different but alike, the sole proprietorship offers an excellent start to answering how and why Pennsylvania is different than Maryland, New York,, Ohio on its present day borders, and why it is different from the other twelve colonies in the colonial period–and after. “As the Twig is Bent”–remember.

Delving inside the constitution-making that these modules describe offers several, hopefully helpful insights into ED/CD policy making. First, Pennsylvania constitution-making was not the product of a constitutional convention, or a output of the colonial charter. Almost twenty years of political experience as well as the philosophy and private goals of its founder, William Penn–and crucially the Holy “Quaker” Experiment he conducted served as the core backdrop in its making. Pennsylvania constitution-making was profoundly personal, between Penn and his chief opponent David Lloyd, the “boss” of his opposing Quaker Party machine. Hovering in the background was a past period of great instability and a future period of some unpredictability caused by the evolution of British colonial administration. In our conceptual model we call this an example of a global competitive hierarchy–an external force-dynamic that intrudes upon the Pennsylvania policy system, putting its heavy thumb on the course of Pennsylvania policy decisions.

That colonial administration, personalized by our reference to London, the Board of Trade, or Whitehall, could not avoid being a major player in Pennsylvania–after all Pennsylvania was a colony of England–which in this module has taken a few major steps down the path to becoming the United Kingdom, the proud owner of the emerging British Empire, whose industrial, trade and finance economic base was hugely tilted to benefit the Homeland, not its colonial “possessions”. Pennsylvania’s constitution-making (and sole proprietorship) got caught up in that trip down the path to greatness–as did the other colonies as well. While Pennsylvania was trying to make her constitution, other American colonies, Connecticut for example, was hiding theirs in an Oak Tree.

We shall pick up on that topic in the next chapter on Massachusetts (New England), but suffice it to say here, the British colonial mercantile system was making up colonial policy and trade regulations as it traversed on its path to Empire, English instability and improvisation–and its experience in its path to political democracy–placed enormous pressure on individual colony charters and the constitutions they spawned. The Spanish or French path yielded vastly different outputs and implications–consider poor New Orleans, Texas or even Florida, not to mention the granddaddy of American wacko policy systems, California, and her protégé Oregon. The distinction in colonial systems and their economic and political implications is still another major reason why American states are different today–and have been different throughout this history.

Finally, on the “micro” policy process spectrum, I call attention to poor William Penn’s policy agenda in the 1699-1701 constitution-making period. Talk about a crowded agenda and a limited time span. Penn had a series of highly prioritized policy initiatives, spanning across “war/defense” agenda of his colonial superiors, securing conformity of the province (which BTW in no meaningful way could he control) to its economic and trade program, to constitution-making, structural reform and effective governance, to pursuit of his personal profit through a public program in homesteading and western settlement of Pennsylvania, while still somehow preserving the essentials of his Holy  Experiment. It makes us somewhat cautious regarding the so-called “rationality” behind  ED/CD policy making; it also leaves open a policy making conflict between and among expert professionals and one wonders if it makes sense to think of ED/CD policy-making as non political or even non-partisan. In Pennsylvania even the distinctions between private and public sectors are blurred to the point both are the other.

Each of these initiatives had their own implications on the success and future effectiveness of the others. There was even an implied hierarchy in them–considering the power of the colonial masters. This (i.e. the extended feedback loops of separate policy area policy initiatives) will not be an infrequent matter in our economic development policy-making history. It suggests to me, at least, a warning to my readers that ED/CD policy-making does not occur in isolation of other policy areas, and that ED and CD policy making can even conflict with itself. My concern is too often we think of policy areas and specific policy studies in descriptions in which they are isolated from the effects of other policy making ongoing at the same time. That is one benefit of thinking of ED/CD as a policy output of a policy system–it forces us to think of multi-policy policy-making as a factor in the content, implementation and evaluation of ED/CD strategies, programs, tools, EDOs, and initiatives. ED/CD does not live on a desert policy island (Thank you John Donne).


The Frames “Charter” – Constitution was one province’s story surrounding a turbulent period in British-North American colonial history that began in King James II in 1686 and ended in the first decade of the 18th century. Under the coverall of the Glorious Revolution, a major shift in British political politics and policy system resulted in a new interpretation of the role of British colonies within the fledgling embryonic British Empire. From as early as 1599 England had carved out of the various geographies of the world, ranging from India, Barbados and West Indies, and eventually in North America a number of legally separate “colonies”, whose charters were granted by the sole prerogative of the King. The Navigation Acts were

After the English Civil War, the Restoration, and finally the 1688 Glorious Revolution and the 1707 Kingdom of Great Britain–the forerunner of the United Kingdom of 1800