Revolutions in communication tend to pull the people away from the élites. (The printing press is the classic example; think of its role in the Reformation. But this happens, to varying degrees, every time the speed and scale of communication makes a leap.) In 1833, refinements in printing technology lowered the cost of a daily newspaper to a penny or two; in the eighteen-forties, newspapers got their news by telegraph; the post office set a special, cheaper rate for newspapers; and, in the eighteen-fifties, newspapers began printing illustrations based on photographs. Meanwhile, literacy rates were skyrocketing. Candidates began campaigning, speaking and writing to the people directly.
Jill Lepore, “The Party Crashers”, The New Yorker (22 February 2016), 24.