As the French and Indian War drew to a close, enterprising Pennsylvanians began laying out thirty new backcountry towns. This “town-making fever,” which peaked in 1761–64, reflected a fresh understanding of the frontier, no longer a defensive line, but an open door to land and opportunity beyond current settlements. Backcountry towns drew artisans, mostly young newcomers, priced out of the market for agricultural land. The men who platted these towns hoped they would draw the trade of the vicinity. As nodal points in networks of credit and commerce, these new towns marked the integration of the backcountry in an Atlantic economy.

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