In 1843, Congress financially support the building of the first telegraph system from Washington D.C. to Baltimore and, in the next year, the first electronic message was successfully sent. This invention had a dramatic effect on American society because it completely revolutionized communication. Messages which had previously taken weeks to travel across the country could now be delivered in minutes.
At this time, America was quickly moving from a regional and predominantly agricultural-based economy to a national, industrialized one. The introduction of the telegraph enabled merchants to exchange information with potential new clients across the country, thereby eliminating the need for an often-costly and time-consuming personal visit to drum up business. The telegraph also gave many small, local firms the opportunity to grow into larger, national businesses. They could now communicate cheaply and quickly from any part of the country. Western Union is one such example - they grew to become one of the biggest companies of the nineteenth century.