On the eve of the American Revolution, the followers of a small group of Shakers reached the western frontier of New York State. They had acquired the name Shakers because of the religious frenzy which shook them during their rituals. The period was one of religious fervor and revivals, and the Shakers soon had a large following. Hundreds of believers from different ways of life joined them. A few years later they would be the nucleus of a large communal movement, the most extensive and stable of all the American communes (with the exception of the Hutterites, whose communes have existed for over 450 years, but most of them outside of America). They would play a vital part in the crystallization of the communal tradition in the United States during the last century.