Technology

Beginning in 1844, electronic technology began to affect communications in the House. Five technologies revolutionized the way information was disseminated from Congress in Washington to constituents in home districts: telegraph, telephone, radio, television, and computer. Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message from the Capitol to Baltimore, Maryland. Later some of the nation's first telephone lines were placed in Washington, D.C. The House was more cautious about embracing radio and television on the House floor. Although special events were occasionally televised, the first broadcast of legislative proceedings did not take place until 1977. As the computer revolution spread in the 1990s and the House of Representatives was quick to join in 1993 with the first Internet, e-mail constituent service. In the more than 150 years since Morse's telegraph each development has made the legislative process more accessible to Americans.