[an error occurred while processing this directive] Edens Lost & Found . Pick a Place Slideshow: Philadelphia . Philadelphia's History | PBS [an error occurred while processing this directive]
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Philadelphia's History
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"That an example may be set up to the nations… for such a holy experiment."

William Penn, 1682
Founder of Philadelphia

Philadelphia's founder, William Penn, was a pacifist and budding Quaker in his native England. Expelled from Oxford and imprisoned for his radical views (including refusing to doff his hat in the presence of the king), his father kicked him out of the family home and eventually sent his rebel son to America.

In this new world, William Penn felt he had a calling from God to create a utopian society free of violence and tyranny, a haven for religious tolerance, and representative government. In the mid-1600s, he named Philadelphia after the biblical city literally meaning "city of brotherly love."

City Plan
Philadelphia City Plan, circa 1683

The first city planner in the new world, Penn planned the city around the concept of a green town with large grid-like streets, green belts, parks and public squares. Philadelphians, rich or poor, were to live in their own homes, each of which had a garden separating them from their neighbors. Agriculture was encouraged as Penn considered it the most healthy, moral way to make a living.

Philadelphia went on to achieve many more American firsts; it was the first capital of the United States, the first American flag was stitched in Philadelphia by Betsy Ross, and the U.S. Constitution was first drawn up and read in the City of Brotherly Love.

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