The Shakers

The Shakers, or the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearance, were an offshoot of the Quakers. The Shakers were a progressive organization for the time, and they supported things such as animal right, women's rights, and racial equality. The Shakers were also religiously progressive, instead of having modest sermons, Shakers got up and "shook", hence the name. The Quakers also believed that god was both male and female. The progressive nature of the Shakers may have inspired other progressives from that era with similar beliefs.

Both images come from the Shaker Historical Society. Primary info sources are Wergland, Visiting the Shakers, 1778–1849, Frederick William Evans. Shakers: Compendium of the Origin, History, Principles, Rules and Regulations, Government, and Doctrines of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing : with Biographies of Ann Lee, William Lee, Jas. Whittaker, J. Hocknell, J. Meacham, and Lucy Wright. Appleton; 1859.

The long term influence of Shaker culture is mostly their influence on the rise of progressive culture and progressive ideals in their society, and such ideals continue to influence modern life. In the time of the civil war, the Shakers became the first conscientious objectors in American history due to their decision to support the individual's right to refuse military service during the Civil War.


1: How were the beliefs of other progressive reformers similar to those of the Shakers?

2: Why have progressive Shaker beliefs persisted until today?

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