The Electric Telegraph:A Revolutionary Invention
                 While looking for a topic to research, we wanted to do the History Fair project on an invention, a communication-based one in particular since we knew that there would be plenty of reform movements following it and that whatever invention we picked must be revolutionary in some way or another. The telephone was the original invention that we had in mind; however, upon finding out that the electric telegraph was one of the first forms of long-distance communication, we realized that it was a better decision since it was more revolutionary. 
                We found two books, What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe and The Telegraph by Lewis Coe, which gave us detailed descriptions of how the telegraph was revolutionary.  Also, we used another book that was referenced elsewhere, called The Lightning Man, the Accursed Life of Samuel F.B. Morse, a biography about the life of Morse that gave us a great description about several reactions to the electric telegraph.  On the Internet, we found a documentary (“Samuel Morse: The Telegraph”) centering on the invention of the telegraph, giving relevant reactions to the telegraph and various reforms.  Another source was a scholarly journal article called “The Politics of Innovation,” (Daedalus 4) giving us a reaction and reform known as the Telegraph Act of 1866.  We found another primary source, The Invention of the Telegraph, written by Alonzo B. Cornell in 1866.  Cornell wrote a very detailed account of the introduction and application of the telegraph in America as well as the events/ reforms that preceded it.  Next, we found a book containing journals and letters of Morse, another primary source.  The source gave us first-hand information about how Morse made the telegraph and his personal reactions to it and we found some good quotes from his writings.
When we created our website, we separated it into the three pages: Revolution, Reaction, and Reform.  Then, we also added an extra page giving some background information about the telegraph.  We used a variety of media including videos, pictures, quotes, and some of Morse's sketches.
                The electric telegraph is revolutionary because it made long-distance communication faster and more efficient and it helped to better unite the country.  However, there were negative reactions regarding Morse code, involving chaotic competition involving telegraph companies, time efficiency and still having to send messages to Europe via ship.  Several reforms that later occurred were laws such as the Telegraph Act of 1866, the Transatlantic Cable, and other inventions including the teletype and telephone.  These reform movements made long-distance communication faster, efficient, and more reliable.