Today a community executed its will.
The Puritans and the Quakers have a somewhat intertwined history. Both emerged to prominence in Britain in the 17th century, though starting earlier and embracing the structures of organization and authority, the Puritans were the dominant of the two. Both religions felt that the Church of England had been corrupted (or that it had corrupted the original intentions of Jesus Christ, even if not as horribly as had the Catholic Church). But while the Puritans saw the need to reinterpret community and political life in terms of their strict religious convictions, the Quakers rejected nearly all such order, opting instead for informal local communities with no authority figures, not to mention religious services that had no set rules (sometimes amounting to nothing more than shared silence). Quakers didn’t have much time for the Bible, believing that the word of God originated in all people in real-time. The Puritans…not so much.
Both groups god kicked around in Britain pretty badly (though Cromwell’s Puritanism let them get in a few kicks before he was replaced), and they fled persecution to the New World as quickly (and as often) as possible. Puritans all but owned the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and once they found themselves in charge they felt that it was important to aggressively persecute Quakers, first with forced banishment and then the threat of death. Two Quakers — Marmaduke Stephenson and William Robinson — purposefully went to Massachusetts to challenge the law and were forcibly exiled. When they returned, they were imprisoned and sentenced to death, and their execution happened on this day in 1659 on a gallows erected in Boston Common. Both went to their deaths professing their faith, as did Mary Dyer and William Leddra over the next two years. It took an edict from King Charles II in 1661 to stop future killings. He’d subsequently revoke the colony’s charter and send over a royal governor to enforce laws that would include a broad Religious Toleration Act of 1689.
There’s never been anything necessarily egalitarian, fair, or inherently good about the the Will of the People.