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Communications Revolution: The Telegraph and The Telephone

            Science and technology have always played a major role in the development of the United States. The birth of the nation nearly coincided with the first stirrings of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Industrial Revolution helped to transform the United States from a nation of farms and small towns to an industrial power and an urbanized society. Today, technological change is transforming the country again as jobs move away from traditional industries like manufacturing to service industries. People are so used to technology as a fact of everyday life that it can be hard to appreciate how sweeping the changes have been in the United States in a relatively short time.
             Throughout most of human history, most messages could travel from place to place only as fast as they could be carried on horseback, by ship, or, by the 19th century, by rail. Then, in the 1830s, Samuel F. B. Morse invented the telegraph, a machine that used electricity to send messages in code over wires. In 1844, the first telegraph line was strung from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland. Morse's first message on the new line was "What has God made!" Morse's invention changed the speed of communication forever. For the first time in history, reliable messages could move faster than people. .
             Few inventions have changed life as quickly as the telegraph. Within ten years, 23,000 miles of telegraph wire crisscrossed the country. Messages that used to take weeks to travel from one coast to the other now could be flashed across the continent in minutes. Speedy communications made railroad travel safer and allowed businesses to operate far more efficiently and profitably over long distances. By allowing news to travel quickly, the telegraph helped to unite the rapidly expanding nation. .
             Thirty years after the first telegraph line opened, another inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, began toying with the idea of transmitting human speech telegraphically.

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