When Dwight L. Moody left his native town of Northfield, Massachusetts, for Boston in 1854, he was one among hundreds of young men flocking to urban centers in hopes of achieving greater prosperity and “success” in mercantile careers than their families had attained through agricultural pursuits or village commerce. This trend was part of a larger pattern of urban growth that began in the early nineteenth century, fueled by both foreign immigration and the expansion of industrial capitalism. In the decades prior to the Civil War, Boston's population expanded exponentially, reaching nearly 140,000 at the time of the 1850 census, a six-fold increase since 1800. Of this number, nearly one-half were of “foreign” birth or parentage, and an additional 25,000 were “Americans” who had migrated to Boston from rural New England and other areas of the United States. Only around 50,000—or 35 percent of the total population—had been born and raised in Boston. This rapid influx of newcomers to the city provoked growing concern among native Bostonians, as the presence of rural youths, Irish Catholics, and other “outsiders” began to challenge and transform traditional patterns of social, economic, political, and religious life.