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I began thinking about writing this book in the mid-1980s, when I was a young master’s degree student in history at the University of Virginia. Undertaking a study of internal migration in early America seemed too daunting at the time, and I filed the idea away in the recesses of my mind. A decade later, when I decided to pursue a doctorate in American history, my research interests had evolved from the study of social history to the study of religion’s influence on the cultural development of the United States. The idea of writing a book on migration thus began to resurface, with one obvious change: I would examine religion’s role in the wanderings of the American people. I owe a number of people my gratitude for helping to turn this rather vague idea into a reality. Aaron Spencer Fogleman encouraged me at an early stage in the project and persuaded me to write a more ambitious book that would include the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Numerous specialists in my field, all of whom were anonymous reviewers, read the manuscript at various stages. Their critiques were, without exception, rigorous and insightful and did much to improve the final product. I especially thank the reviewers at the University of North Carolina Press for their excellent help. In particular, the introduction and afterword benefited from their expertise. I also thank Charles Grench, assistant director and senior editor at the press, for all of his help, guidance, and support during the past several years. I conducted the bulk of the research at the Library of Congress, and I thank the staff there for its assistance. I also thank Nicholas J. Kersten, librarian-historian at the Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society, who mailed me the vital records I needed to write chapter 6, and Jennifer Bean Bower of Old Salem, who assisted in the search for illustrations. I also received assistance from the staff at several other archives, including the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston and the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia. I also owe a big thanks to my colleagues at National Journal, the magazine where I work in Washington, D.C., as copy desk chief. Ryan Morris, a talented graphics editor, took time out of his incredibly hectic schedule to do the maps that appear in this book. Lauren Sandkuhler , our photo coordinator, helped me track down illustrations. And my colleagues on the copy desk graciously tolerate a chief who spends too much of his spare time working on history books light-years removed from the rough-and-tumble world of contemporary Washington politics. Acknowledgments 302 Acknowledgments Most of all, I owe thanks to my family: my wife, Anne, who shares my love of language and books (but not the New York Mets), and my son, Josh, a promising fiction writer at work on his first novel. This book is dedicated to my parents. It was they who introduced me to migration at an early age; in my first ten years on this earth, I lived in five houses in three towns in two states. My parents exemplified the best of the American spirit: they were kind, devout, hardworking, talented, generous, and wanderers to the core. ...


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