Significance of the telegraph

Posted by Bob on May 04, 2003

In Reply to: Significance of the telegraph posted by Mei on May 04, 2003

: I got some difficulty in understanding the bracketed paragraph. Could anyone do me a favor?

: Six New York newspapers organized themselves into a monopolistic cooperative to launch the Associated Press, a wire service devoted to providing equal access for its members to news from one another and more importnatly, from sources in distant sites. News reports, which had previously travelled by horse and boat took on an enhanced degree of timeliness which had far-reaching implications for the redefinition of a public sphere. This point was underscored by Bennett of the [i]New York Herald [/i] when he commented on the significance of the telegraph for the political public sphere:

: (This means of communication will have a prodigious, cohesive, and conservative influence on the republic. No better bond of union for a great confederacyof states could have be devised...The whole nation is impressed with the same idea at the same moment. One feeling and one impulse are thus created and maintained from te center of the land to its uttermost extremities.)

: Thanks a lot.

: Mei
to paraphrase:
this new way to spread news will tie the nation together in an important way. Nothing else could unify individual states into a single country as well as this, because all the people will be dealing with the same ideas, issues and feelings, no matter where they live.

Before the telegraph was invented, the news that reached the remotest parts of the American frontier was old news in New York*. This invention would level the playing field.

*For example, the Americans won a great victory in 1812 in the Battle of New Orleans ... after the war was over. The news hadn't reached there yet.