In 1990, at the annual convocation of the Penn State History Department, the editors of this volume were lamenting the paucity of accessible knowledge about the American Revolution in Pennsylvania apart from state or national politics and what happened in Philadelphia. At the same meeting, we realized that the unpublished work of our colleagues at several campuses in the Penn State system addressed the Revolution in different parts of the state. Using this material as a core, we commissioned others also to write chapters in order to cover as much of the state as possible. With the exception of Gregory Knouff's chapter on Revolutionary soldiers' perceptions of Indians, which serendipitously came our way, we asked all our authors to address specifically (1) the nature of the population and settlement in a particular county or region as of the 1760s; (2) what happened in the Revolution in that area -- that is, the nature of the participation in the Revolution and who opposed and supported it; and (3) how the Revolution transformed social, economic, and political life. We hope that these chapters answer these questions for much of Pennsylvania far more thoroughly than before, although, as the Introduction points out, no single pattern describes the entire state's experiences.
We thank John M. Murrin and Robert M. Calhoon for careful, critical readings of the entire manuscript; Paul Douglas Newman and George Franz for astute comments on six chapters given as papers at the 1996 annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Historical Association; and Peter J. Potter and the staff at Penn