The Erie canal construction was begun on July 4, 1817. Goods, people and their ideas moved faster. Some of the ideas that moved down this water superhighway were religious. This speed has accelerated ever since.
The link author says Mormonism moved down the Erie. So did Adventists, spiritualists, apocalyptics and communal utopians. Of course there were preachers traveling about before, but the easier the journey the more and faster new religious ideas spread.
It is interesting that Europe has state churches which did not allow or foster innovative religions to fire up. Europeans came to the U.S. and spread all over the place coming up with all kinds of religious ideas.
Now parent religions in the U.S. are racing about trying to stamp out the innovation that allowed them to grow here in the first place. Consider the efforts to stop gay marriage and/or gay preachers from holding church positions. There are plenty of theological reasons to justify gay pastors but many doors are closed to them.
The printing press which published the first 5,000 of Joseph Smith’s first book in upstate New York came there on the Canal. The books moved on south and west to establish this indigenous U.S. branch of Christianity.
Today we know new branches of Christianity and other faiths are popping up almost daily. That is because transporting ideas is a gazillion times faster and cheaper than the Erie Canal.
Ideas and the changes they bring about keep moving faster. Hang onto your hat.