Site of the Month for October 2011

Site of the Month for October 2011 relates to Pennsylvania Business. Click Pennsylvania links to related websites on Pennsylvania and surrounding area. The visitors may find business, shopping, travel, finance, health, society, directory, guide, lodging, real estate, etc.

Overall History of Pennsylvania

In 1681 William Penn, a Quaker, founded his colony as a ‘holy experiment’ that respected religious freedom, liberal government and even indigenous inhabitants. But it didn’t take long for European settlers to displace those communities, thus giving rise to Pennsylvania’s status as the richest and most populous British colony in North America. It became a great influence in the independence movement and, much later, an economic leader through its major supply of coal, iron and timber, followed by raw materials and labor during WWI and WWII. In the postwar period its industrial importance gradually declined. Urban renewal programs and the growth of service and high-tech industries have boosted the economy, most notably in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Quakers founded Pennsylvania on the principle of religious tolerance − a stance that attracted other minority religious sects, including the well-known Mennonite and Amish communities − and an accepting attitude still prevails in most of the state. The current governor, Edward Rendell, is a moderate Democrat.

The American Revolution and a New Nation

Important Pennsylvanians of both dominant political parties emerged as leaders of the Revolutionary movement—Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, Joseph Reed, Thomas Mifflin, John Dickinson, Robert Morris, and Haym Salomon. In 1776 a provincial convention dominated by radical patriots created the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under one of the most democratic of the new state constitutions.

The state was invaded by British troops, and notable engagements were fought in 1777 on the Brandywine and at Germantown. Philadelphia was occupied by the British, while Valley Forge witnessed the heroic endurance of Washington’s troops in the winter of 1777–78, making the site a shrine of patriotism. In the postwar period, Pennsylvania’s role as the geographical keystone of the new nation was strengthened by its resolution of boundary disputes that had persisted throughout the colonial period: agreement was reached with Maryland in 1784 by acceptance of the Mason-Dixon line; with Virginia and New York in 1786; with the United States and the Iroquois Confederacy in 1789; and with Connecticut in 1799 after bitter dissension in the Wyoming Valley.

Philadelphia, host to the First and Second Continental Congresses (1774, 1775–81) and scene of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for many years the nation’s leading city. It was the site of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, served as the seat of the new federal government from 1790 to 1800, and became a financial center through the organization of the First Bank of the United States (1791) and the U.S. Mint (1792). In 1790 it was also the site of a convention that replaced the radical state constitution of 1776 with a more conservative one patterned after the federal Constitution, while retaining such liberal achievements as the act (1780) providing for the gradual abolition of slavery. Philadelphia was not, however, typical of the state as a whole.