The case of Springfield and Upper Darby, two predominately Quaker townships in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in the late 1700s and early 1800s, shows how transitions to capitalism in the nineteenth century were rarely uniform. The townships persisted in maintaining subsistence characteristics even as other parts of southeastern Pennsylvania were transitioning to capitalist accumulation and urbanization. The principal mediums for this resistance were geographical and religious. However, by the 1820s, the introduction of mill technology eroded geographical resistance and encouraged the outmigration of entrepreneurs to urban environments. Also, a religious schism within the Quakers and the lure of evangelical Protestant sects undermined the religious cohesion of the townships. Springfield and Upper Darby transformed themselves into commercial farm communities with significant industrial components that “tethered” them to distant markets, and in which Quakerism ceased to serve the dominant religious worldview.

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