This chapter describes Gettysburg’s pursuit of material gain, improvement, and religious growth from its founding until the antebellum period. The most noteworthy aspect of the town’s economy was a distant-market carriage trade. The chapter also surveys the maturation of religious institutions in Gettysburg, including the Lutheran Theological Seminary. With African Americans, non-English worship, non-Protestants, and small, dissenting, and nonconformist fellowships (Dunkers and Dissenting Presbyterians), the religious community was diverse. Finally, Gettysburg’s location along the border of slavery and its African American population made race relations tense. The chapter describes the local Underground Railroad and Thaddeus Stevens’s antislavery activities. Thus, Gettysburg and the surrounding Border North possessed an interesting mix of ethnicity, religion, and race that was unusually diverse and modern for small town and rural America.
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