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Chappe network. In the United States and (until the1870s) in Britain, thetelegraphs were operated by private companies; elsewhere, they weregovernment-run. Telegraph lines soon crisscrossed nations and continents.In Western nations, governments, newspapers, businesses, and private citi-zens eagerly took to the telegraph, stimulating theﬂow of commerce and thetransmission of news. In exchange for free access to the telegraph, railwaysencouraged telegraph companies and administrations to erect lines alongtheir tracks to coordinate trains and prevent accidents. Banks began totransfer funds instantaneously by telegraph, speeding up commerce.