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Religious and national diversity characterized the settlements of the Delaware Valley almost from the first arrival of Europeans, and America's first pluralistic society evolved from this colony established by William Penn on the western shore of the Delaware River in 1681.Penn himself set forth a new, ideological basis for pluralism and tolerance, and this transformed a tentative, pragmatic pattern of relative harmony and tolerance into official policy. The English culture transplanted to Pennsylvania was itself fragmented. Quakers and Anglican, for example, had very different religious, social, and cultural values. Colonists from different parts of the British Isles - the Welsh, the Scots, and the Scotch-Irish - did not share common experiences or cultures.

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