The Progressive Quakers, though long forgotten by historians, were the radical seed of activist American religion in much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Remaking Friends is the first book to tell their unique, exciting story. Emerging in the decades before the Civil War, the movement included pioneer crusaders for abolition and women's rights. They challenged authoritarianism in churches and questioned many traditional dogmas. They stood for applying reason to doctrine, the Bible and theology; yet they were also welcoming to the burgeoning spiritualist movement. Come right down to it, the Progressive Friends were just darned interesting. They also shaped the contemporary liberal stream of the Quaker religious movement. Among many other outstanding figures of the era, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and William Lloyd Garrison were associated with them.
The Progressive Friends have long deserved to have their story told. Finally, in Remaking Friends, they are. In Remaking Friends, the saga of the Progressive Friends comes to vivid life, with sketches of some of their outstanding leaders (and their dogged antagonists), their struggle for a voice, recognition, and impact. Beginning as a band of pacifists, some agonized over the Civil War, while others joined up to end slavery and rebellion. Then we follow their evolution and impact through the post-Civil War decades, into the first "Gilded Age," and the emergence of modern imperialism and militarism--all issues they addressed, with striking contemporary resonance. It shows their ultimate success in shaping today's liberal Quakerism, even as their separate identity faded. Based on ground-breaking research in a wide range of original sources, the book includes more than thirty illustrations.