By SUSAN SCHULTEN , NYTimes.com
The advent of the Internet has prompted endless claims that we are living through an unprecedented revolution in communication, one that has annihilated the concept of distance. Yet the real revolution came with the arrival of the telegraph in the 19th century.
The innovations of Joseph Henry and Samuel F.B. Morse, among others, led to the first telegraphed message in 1844, and by the late 1850s President Buchanan was famously exchanging pleasantries with Queen Victoria. Over 50,000 miles of telegraph wire were strung across the country in the prior two decades, and by November 1861 a transcontinental network was complete.
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