The Religious Society of Friends, known as Quakers, originated in the cauldron of the 17th-century English Civil War, one of many new religious groups to appear at that time.
The Reformation begun by Calvin and Luther sought to rid the Church of objects and rituals that had been added since apostolic times. The Quakers completed the process, removing anything perceived as interfering with a direct experience of God.
The Society of Friends began in the vision and ministry of George Fox (1624-1691), the originator of the uniquely Quaker concept of the Inner Light. His Journal and other writings still influence the movement today.
The Friends' scripture is the Bible, but the Bible is not the source of all faith and practice. The Holy Spirit speaks to anyone who follows the Inner Light, and the Spirit has higher authority than the written word.
The profound impact of Quaker thought and action on American history and polity has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, as have the diplomatic and practical benefits of Quaker approaches to peacemaking.