The first part of 1876 was a thrilling time for Americans. Parts of the South were still occupied by federal troops and the country was still feeling the effects of the Panic of 1873, but the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia showcased industrial and scientific progress—like the new telephone—that demonstrated the growing economic might of the country. Indeed, advancements of science seemed to presage a future of peace for all nations. An editorial in the Alta California on June 26 reminded readers of the thirty-second anniversary of the invention of the telegraph and how it had made rapid communication possible between their city of San Francisco and the rest of the world. “It has linked all civilized nations together, annihilated space and time, and, we really believe, done much toward annihilating their misunderstandings, and so making wars less likely to occur,” claimed the editorial. “The telegraph brings the different Governments face to face, and misunderstandings can be explained before the people at large know anything about it; and so national antagonisms are prevented by seasonable [sic] telegraphic correspondence.” 1