Attacks on government related to the telegraph in the nineteenth century research Note

By Kristopher A. Nelson
in March 2018

100 words / 1 min.
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In a 1983 article, “The Rise of Communications Regulation: The Telegraph Industry, 1844-1880,” Richard B. Du Boff discusses the growing power of industry (Western Union, especially) and the resistance of the growing telegraphic monopoly to government regulation—even as it routinely accepted government subsidies.


Richard B. Du Boff writes, in relation to the telegraph in the mid-nineteenth century:

Even though opposition to “government” was on the rise and unceasing attacks on alleged government waste and ineptitude were beginning to erode the democratic process, the dependence of the telegraph industry on public sector aid was undeniable.

His brief article on “The Rise of Communications Regulation” covers a wide variety of business-related points, but I found this sentence particularly resonant in 2018.