In 1777 twenty-two Philadelphia Quakers were arrested by the new American government, who suspected the Quakers harbored loyalist sentiments. They were unable to support any charges against them with evidence. To keep these Quakers incarcerated, the government denied them a hearing, removed them from Pennsylvania, and had them imprisoned at a farm in Virginia. Far from home and denied a hearing, the exiled Quakers resorted to publishing petitions, letters, and pamphlets to argue for their release. This article will show that these arguments succeeded because they employed the same rhetoric and ideals that the Revolution's leaders used to justify the fight for Independence. Quaker use of this rhetoric forced the Revolution's leaders to meaningfully confront the contradictions between their promises about liberty and their actions, and established the Friends' response strategy as an effective tool for similar groups to use in the future.

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