Yet another round of questions that I think I have answered properly, but want to make sure of.
To explain the attraction which a rubbed rod of amber exerted on small objects which were some distance away from it, Isaac Newton suggested that there was an invisible substance in the amber which he called an "electrical spirit".
When the rod was rubbed, this electrical spirit was disturbed and stretched out into the area around the rod. When the electrical spirit contracted again, it pulled with it any small objects that happened to be in its path.
what explanation is used today to explain how electrical forces are able to act upon objects at a distance?
The modern explanation for this occurrence is that dissimilar electrostatic charges attract while similar charges repel each other .
When the amber rod was rubbed, it became negatively polarized and thus attracted the positively charged objects.
Newton's theory explained electrical attraction at a distance. What kind of electrical phenomena at a distance did it fail to explain? How does the modern explanation you stated previously account for this second kind of action at a distance?
Newton's theory does not explain repulsion. Modern understanding, however explains that; just as opposite charges attract each other at a distance, similar charges repel even from distance.