In his book Empire and Communications, the Canadian scholar, Harold A. Innis traced the role of media from ancient times, and concluded that major empires have tended to be dominated by media monopolies. Technical circumstances surrounding a new medium have often helped determine which elements of society rose to control. The completeness of a communication monopoly could, however, become a liability. It should be remembered that every step in modern media history—telephone, phonograph, motion picture, radio, television, satellite—stirred similar euphoric predictions. The dangers as well as advantages of a wired system became apparent with the very first such system, the telegraph. As its wires spread, its monopoly implications became clear. With the invention of the telephone in 1876 the monopoly position of the telegraph began to erode: information had an alternative route. Newspapers backing postal telegraph proposals were said to have had disastrous interruptions of service.