The Hicksite Schism and Its Consequences
This chapter examines the causes and ramifications of the 1827–1828 Hicksite-Orthodox split among Friends, arguing that theological and personality differences sparked the divide. In the 1820s, Orthodox Friends, influenced by evangelical Protestantism, found the theological liberalism of many Quakers increasingly unacceptable. When they tried to impose theological orthodoxy on the Society, they triggered a separation within most of the American yearly meetings. In the Baltimore Yearly Meeting, to which northern Virginia Friends belonged, Hicksites predominated, lessening conflict. But the split undermined local Friends' morale and diverted the energies of Quaker leaders away from the Society's social concerns (including antislavery) as they tried to avoid further internal conflict and seek reconciliation with moderate Orthodox Friends. At the same time, the split enabled the region's women Friends to take on new leadership roles and responsibilities.
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