The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

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Our School is Older than America!

Our+School+is+Older+than+America%21

The exciting 275th anniversary of Wilmington Friends School has brought up many stories of the history of our school, and how the school has developed over the years. In the halls and in the classrooms you may have heard people talking about the astonishing fact that Wilmington Friends is older than America itself. This is in fact true and an intriguing thought to someone unfamiliar with where America was 275 years ago. Well, what we say to be America in the present day. This time was about 30 years prior to the Declaration of Independence, while America was still in the complicated process of developing. 

During the 1740s, Quakers were one of the most relevant religions, not that there were many large religions with which to compete. The only other relevant religion at the time was Catholicism. The Quaker philosophy was dominant among the British colonies’ governments. For example, their unique voting method of liberal voting made an impact in colonies such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and even in the heart of our school’s location, Delaware. The Quakers were also considered the dominant religion in many states surrounding Delaware. They eliminated the church’s obligation to pay taxes, and just as they do today, the Quakers spread peace throughout communities around them. 

Throughout the time prior to the beginning of the American government, America’s land was led by the British. The British commanded the colonies and the land surrounding them. Wilmington Friends Upper School history teacher Mr. Schropp shares the fascinating history of the struggles of slavery and how slavery affected the coming of the American government, “About 50 percent of America’s population was enslaved, this created a very present source from the start.” When immigration of different cultures started to rise, this slowly started to lower the percentage of slavery. Mr.Schropp adds, “A diverse population of immigrants included Protestants, Catholics, and some Jewish, but there was also the presence of slavery.” Voting throughout the colonies was applied early on once it was put into place by the colonies’ local governments. Mr.Schropp explains why this was so important for this time period, “America was being formed, and the idea of local government led to a lot of opportunities because the land was cheap, and it was fairly easy to vote because even though the land was a big deal at the time it was easy.” Many small but important things were put in place by the colonies that have led to the structure of government we have today.

275 years ago there were a lot of people who helped form America. The more well-known influencers in society were people like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and many more who were important to this time. Benjamin Franklin is most famous for the popular story of his discovery of electricity and the creation of a sufficient postal system. Benjamin Franklin also helped free America from the British when he signed all three documents declaring America free. George Washington is one of the most well-known citizens of America, obvious to most that he was the very first President of The United States, along with many other accomplishments he gained throughout his years. Mr.Schropp shares interesting insight into the impact both of these gentlemen had on the creation of America’s politics. “The colonies were carving out a very good political system, and having strong people in charge was crucial.” Making sure that our country had a good start was something Franklin and Washington both had a good understanding of.

Wilmington Friends School is one of the oldest schools in America. Taking a moment to think about all of the different events that have happened over the time that our school has existed is truly remarkable!

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About the Contributor
Annie Rosenthal, Staff Writer
Annie Rosenthal is a writer for the Whittier Miscellany and is new to the program. She is a freshman and is excited to become a stronger and more experienced writer. Annie was first informed about Whittier when she was a new student at Wilmington Friends School in sixth grade while learning about all the great aspects of Wilmington Friends School. Annie’s favorite aspect of Whittier is the freedom to write a large range of topics that interest her. Annie most enjoys writing about different types of arts and occasionally news around the world. 

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