|By the President of the United States of America
In the history of this Nation, there has been a small number of men and women whose contributions to its traditions of freedom, justice, and individual rights have accorded them a special place of honor in our hearts and minds, and to whom all Americans owe a lasting debt. Among them are the men and women who founded the thirteen colonies that became the United States of America.
William Penn, as a British citizen, founded the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in order to carry out an experiment based upon representative government; public education without regard to race, creed, sex, or ability to pay; and the substitution of workhouses for prisons. He had a Quaker's deep faith in divine guidance, and as the leader of the new colony, he worked to protect rights of personal conscience and freedom of religion. The principles of religious freedom he espoused helped to lay the groundwork for ...read full document