The Religious Society of Friends, also referred to as the Quaker Movement, was founded in England in the 17th century by George Fox (1624-91). Fox and other early Quakers, or Friends, were persecuted for their beliefs, which included the idea that the presence of God exists in every person. Quakers rejected elaborate religious ceremonies, didn’t have official clergy and believed in spiritual equality for men and women. Quaker missionaries first arrived in America in the mid-1650s. In 1681, William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the colony of Pennsylvania as a haven for religious freedom. Quakers, who practice pacifism, played a key role in both the abolition and women’s rights movements. Many, but not all, Quakers consider themselves Christians.