Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rex A. Martin
The telegraph was an electrical network that enabled transmission and receiving of coded electrical signals across wires. The system, used first in Britain and then the United States, was largely developed by Samuel F. B. Morse, and was first demonstrated publicly in 1844. Few new communication technologies have had the impact on society and culture that the telegraph did. It helped open the American West and maintain European colonial empires, revolutionized warfare and business, and changed the way people thought and what they thought about. People could stay in touch with distant relatives, order products from distant stores, and remain connected to a broader culture. But perhaps its most profound effect was on the nature of news. Readers, through reports brought to their local paper by telegraph, came to understand events as connected, to think globally and to see similarities between themselves and those in far away places. The public's ...