By enabling people to instantly communicate with others across great distances, the telephone forever changed the way humanity interacts. Even in its emergent form with basic voice quality, the telephone immediately captured the focus of American society and quickly became a necessity of life.
Of Alexander Graham Bell's 19th century invention of the telephone, Thomas Edison said it "annihilated time and space and brought the human family in closer touch." It is true that having the ability to hear the voices of loved ones over great distances changed how the American people thought about moving farther away from their roots. The telephone quickly became a tool for grassroots organizations, expanding democratic participation and leading to greater advances in communication.