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The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers.

Historically, Quakers have been known for their use of thee as an ordinary pronoun, refusal to participate in war; plain dress; refusal to swear oaths; and opposition to alcohol. Quakers are also known historically for founding banks and financial institutions including Barclays, Lloyds and Friends Providence; and manufacturing companies including Clarks, Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry's, and for the philanthropic work which they did with some of the wealth they created, which included funding anti-slavery, prison reform, and social justice projects.

In England in the late 1640s, following the English Civil War, a young man, Georges Fox, became convinced that it was possible to have a direct experience of Christ without clergy. He travelled around England, preaching, bringing together like-minded people. His central teaching was Christ has come to teach his people himself. They considered themselves the restoration of the true Christian Church after centuries of apostasy. They described themselves using terms such as true Christianity, Saints, Children of the Light, and Friends of the Truth, reflecting terms used in the New Testament by members of the early Christian church.

In 1650, George Fox was brought before magistrates Gervvase Bennet and Nathaniel Barton on a charge of blasphemy. According to Fox's autobiography, it was Bennet "who was the first that called us Quakers, because I bade them tremble at the word of the Lord", It is thought that Fox was referring to Isaiah 66:2 or Ezra 9:4. Therefore, the name Quaker was began as a way of ridiculing Fox's admonition, but has now became widely accepted, even being used by some Quakers themselves.