Riding in Pennsylvania 

Jim Thorpe,Carbon county, PA, Sunday May 8 2017

Imagine a modern Chief  of State  owing 3 million $ to one of his rich friends that has contributed to his election. Well, as a reimbursement he grants him a chunk of land in a remote colony. Easy. That’s exactly what happened 3 centuries ago when the King of England Charles II offered William Penn a piece of territory that he called Pennsylvania ( Penn’s woods). A territory as large as England , or  1/5 of France, no less,  for 3 million bucks. Good deal for William Penn…

A territory that was to become the main producer of coal, iron, steel ( Pittsburgh, Bethleem)…and chocolate ( Hershey ) in the US. But also if it’s constitutional texts, starting with the Declaration of Independance in Philadelphia . A “Keystone State” as it is called, the first to garanty freedom of conscience, and several other fundamental values, like the county’s commissions. A Quaker State, even if the Quakers , the Hamish and the Memonites are today a curiosity more than anything. William Penn envisionned a country where people of different creeds and ethnic backgrounds would live in harmony. Not sure his “holy experiment ” was a success, if  we consider the rest of history, the Civil war and among others today’s polarization of American political life. But there remains from the Quaker utopia a deep underlying conviction in the US that it’s values are good , and the best.

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