The telegraph and the telephone were the first electrical communications networks to become hallmarks of modernity. Yet they were not initially expected to achieve universal accessibility. In this pioneering history of their evolution, Richard R. John demonstrates how access to these networks was determined not only by technological imperatives and economic incentives but also by political decision making at the federal, state, and municipal levels. In the decades between the Civil War and the First World War, Western Union and the Bell System emerged as the dominant providers for the telegraph and telephone. Both operated networks that were products not only of technology and economics but also of a distinctive political economy. Western Union arose in an antimonopolistic political economy that glorified equal rights and vilified special privilege. The Bell System flourished in a progressive political economy that idealized public utility and disparaged unnecessary waste. The popularization of the telegraph and the telephone was opposed by business lobbies that were intent on perpetuating specialty services. In fact, it wasnÕt until 1900 that the civic ideal of mass access trumped the elitist ideal of exclusivity in shaping the commercialization of the telephone. The telegraph did not become widely accessible until 1910, sixty-five years after the first fee-for-service telegraph line opened in 1845. Network Nation places the history of telecommunications within the broader context of American politics, business, and discourse. This engrossing and provocative book persuades us of the critical role of political economy in the development of new technologies and their implementation.
The author offers the stories of fair planners and participants who showcased education, industry, and entertainment to sell optimism during the Great Depression, in an engaging history of the 1933 Chicago world's fair that also features more than eighty period photographs and ephemera.
Originally published in 1992. This text is a work from a series entitled ' Bureaucracies, Public Administration and Public Policy. The Politics of Telecommunication regulation: The States and the Divestiture of AT&T is an example of high-quality policy analysis conducted at state level. It substitutes for simple theories of public policy more complex and interesting explanations and relies on massive and time-consuming data-gathering that gives careful attention to measurement issues, providing a sophisticated empirical analysis to evaluate the utility of public policy theories.
Christopher Beauchamp debunks the myth of Alexander Graham Bell as the telephone’s sole inventor, exposing that story’s origins in the arguments advanced by Bell’s lawyers during fiercely contested battles for patent monopoly. The courts anointed Bell father of the telephone—likely the most consequential intellectual property right ever granted.