Ponderin' The Past....With The Amish, part 1 - The Origins

I've read a lot of Amish books and recently let Katy borrow a few and we became very interested in learning about the Amish culture. It made us curious as to where the came from and what their background is, so I thought it would be the perfect history post for today. But since the Amish culture is such a fascinating and curious subject, I decided to stretch this subject into several posts. So, this post I will discuss the origins of the Amish, in the next I will discuss the Religion, and in the last I will discuss the Lifestyle. :-)

The Amish originated in Switzerland in around 1525. They are said to have broken off from the Mennonites and are direct descendants of the Ana-Baptists. They didn't like the church and state unionizing and disagreed with infant baptism. They baptized their members when they were about the age of eighteen. In that time it was a crime to baptize adults, and the Amish knew many hardships in that time. They were brutally murdered, sacked and tossed into rivers. They were nearly extinct, but a man named William Penn offered them a free place to worship and live as they chose in America. Since then, the Amish have flourished in many places in America.

There were a few problems later when people realized that the Amish only send their kids to school until 8th grade, but the Supreme Court in the Wisconsin vs. Yoder case ruled that it was unconstitutional for the Amish to be forced to put their kids in highschool, therefore the practice stayed the same and the community went back to normal, much to the relief of the Amish.

The Amish live in nineteen of our states, Canada, and Central America. But astoundingly, 80% of them live in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. The Old Order Amish got their name from an early Swiss Anabaptist, Jacob Amman who was the first Bishop and taught them what is now known as the Amish religion(I will go into what this is in part 2)

Well, there is part 1! If you have any questions about the Amish, be sure to comment and ask! I've done a lot of research on the Amish and enjoy the subject! :-) Tune in in two weeks for my next post about the Amish community!
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Photo credit: Lori Warman