The Shaker Compendium

The Shaker Compendium

The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, are a millenarian restorationist Christian sect founded circa 1747 in England and then organized in the United States in the 1780s. They were initially known as “Shaking Quakers” because of their ecstatic behavior during worship services. Espousing egalitarian ideals, women took on spiritual leadership roles alongside men, including founding leaders such as Jane Wardley, Mother Ann Lee, and Mother Lucy Wright. The Shakers emigrated from England and settled in Revolutionary colonial America, with an initial settlement at Watervliet, New York (present-day Colonie), in 1774. They practice a celibate and communal utopian lifestyle, pacifism, uniform charismatic worship, and their model of equality of the sexes, which they institutionalized in their society in the 1780s. They are also known for their simple living, architecture, technological innovation, music, and furniture.

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