Globalized Context

Political Cartoon "Laying of the Cable"

Political cartoon satirizing the Transatlantic Cable in 1858

Newspaper Article about the Transatlantic Cable

Newspaper article about the new Transatlantic cable in 1855

Morse Code and the Telegraph made its way even into the inner workings of international politics with the laying of the Transatlantic Cable in 1858. The previous system of physically taking messages back and forth could take a minimum of ten days is now taken down to less than ten minutes. Of course this expansion of technology across the Atlantic Ocean did not come without a price as the process of laying the physical cables that might connect the world together under one communication system proved to be an issue when one of the cables was lost while creating a line of communication with the island of Newfoundland in September of 1855, several years before the completion of this massive feat of engineering

This expansion of communication between now the United States and Europe in 1858 helped establish an era of both closer international relationships, and more complex international conflicts. With foreign nations knowing exactly what is happening in the United States the same day it happens, the window for getting involved in these complex issues opens significantly as the world as a whole becomes a whole lot smaller.

Americans announced the laying of the cable between Europe and the United States not knowing that while this new development could lead to better relations with neighboring countries, it could also breed conflict. Elections became more easily influenced as the information regarding the different political candidates in the elections of the 1860s, which coincidentally coincides with the beginning of the Civil War that divided the nation over the issue of slavery, became more easily misrepresented and distributed to the masses.

The development of Morse Code and the Telegraph lead to an incredible time of interwoven communication networks across the physical boundaries of the nation, connecting the slave states of the south with the free soil and free labor states of the north. This connection allowed for increased economic and political communication be it for good or evil, as well as allowed for the spread of information regarding social issues between groups that previously may have never contacted one another. This increased spread of information allowed for increased conflicts over the issues of slavery, and possibly quickened the pace of the inevitable armed conflict between the distinctive ideologies of the north and south.