Congress & Other Roadblocks

Congressional Voting 1842

Congressional Voting in 1842 on the appropriation of funds for the Telegraph system proposed by Samuel Morse

Estimated Costs of the Telegraph system

Consideration of costs of the proposed system during congressional deliberations

Morse very quickly realized that in order for his vision of a nation linked from the swamplands of Washington D.C to the frontiers of Oregon to become a reality he would need a grant for additional funds from the federal government as his own personal funds were becoming inadequate for the scale of this new development. Morse petitions Congress in 1842 and succeeds in eventually getting congressional appropriations after much discussion and deliberation on the side of congress in 1844.

The new Telegraph system would be very expensive as the cables that allowed the technology to function would have to physically connect every location that wanted to receive signals. Morse also feared that competitors would look to steal his designs and claim them for their own with false proclamations that theirs was faster or more efficient in an attempt to gain a piece of the success of this new communication network.

The creation of this new communication network was done slowly, it was not until 1850 that the telegraph system designed by Morse began to have widespread use. The manpower required for the expansion of this technology was also daunting.

Similar to the creation of the Erie Canal and the railroads crisscrossing the country by 1850, the telegraph system created jobs for working class Americans as materials had to be acquired for its development, as well as the manpower to lay the thousands of miles of cables to connect the major cities in the United States.