Quaker Discussion, 6/15/2018

For our July 15th Quaker Discussion, we will have a guest speaker to talk to us about his thesis on Quaker history. Details are below:

Jason Aglietti earned his Bachelor’s Degree in history from Towson University in December 2014. He went on to earn his Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he graduated in May, 2018. At UMBC, Jason primarily studied Public History (museum work), the American Revolution, and early American Christianity.

His master’s thesis: The Friends They Loathed: The Persecution of Maryland Quakers During the Revolutionary War, was researched and written between 2016 – 2018 and successfully defended in April, 2018.

Professionally, Jason is a public librarian in Baltimore County where he serves as the collection coordinator for the Catonsville Branch and the Catonsville History Room, a small archive. Jason had an article published through the digital encyclopedia at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and is working on turning part of his thesis into an article for a peer-reviewed journal. He is also a consulting historian at the Maryland State Archives.

Jason has been married to his wife Sara since 2012 and they just had their first child in May, 2017.

ABSTRACT

Title of Document: THE FRIENDS THEY LOATHED: THE PERSECUTION OF MARYLAND QUAKERS DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

Jason B. Aglietti, Master of Arts, 2018

Directed by: Associate Professor Terry Bouton, Ph.D., Department of History

Maryland’s Revolutionary government persecuted Maryland Quakers for their declared neutrality throughout the Revolutionary War in more extreme ways than the governments of neighboring states. Quakers were targeted because their long-held religious beliefs in pacifism and against oath-taking put them in direct violation of new laws requiring citizens pledge allegiance to Maryland’s new state government, support the war effort thorough military service, and pay war related taxes. Maryland Quakers refused to pay any war taxes, take any oath of allegiance, muster with any militia, or declare loyalty to any side in the conflict. This created tension between a new but insecure Maryland government that was facing open rebellion in some British-supporting areas of the state, while trying to navigate a host of internal division and dissension. Facing so much opposition from a wide range of the citizenry — including those who thought Maryland’s relatively status-quo affirming revolution did not go far enough —Maryland’s government targeted Quakers as an easy group to punish. The subsequent persecution Quakers experience during the wartime years largely took the forms of personal property confiscations that penalized Quaker resistance to paying war related fines. While many Quakers living in other states experienced similar forms of oppression, Quakers living in Maryland experienced persecution on a magnified level. By comparison, Maryland Quakers appear to have experienced economic persecution at three times the effective rate of Quakers living in neighboring Pennsylvania, the state that historians typically use as a proxy for the experience of all American Quakers during the Revolutionary War. By revealing the unique experiences of Maryland Quakers and examining how they differed from Quakers in other states — particularly the standard interpretation based on Pennsylvania Quakers — this thesis broadens and complicates our understanding of the hardships and persecution faced by different groups of Quakers during the American Revolution.

A link to the full thesis will be provided at a later date.