Postal Service

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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-== Postal Service == 
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In an act of independence from the British government, the Second Continental Congress created the '''Post Office Service'''<ref>This article is based on KKO, Monticello Research Report, August 14, 1992.</ref> in July, 1775, appointing [[Benjamin Franklin]] as Postmaster General. Despite a clause in the Articles of Confederation to establish a federal post office, Congress waited until 18 October 1782 to pass "An Ordinance for Regulating the Post-Office of the United States of America." After ratification of the Constitution in 1789, giving Congress the power "To establish Post Offices and post Roads," the Postal System became part of the Treasury Department and remained so until 1829. Before the end of Washington's second presidential term in 1797, the number of post offices, miles of post roads and amount of postal revenues had quintupled. In an act of independence from the British government, the Second Continental Congress created the '''Post Office Service'''<ref>This article is based on KKO, Monticello Research Report, August 14, 1992.</ref> in July, 1775, appointing [[Benjamin Franklin]] as Postmaster General. Despite a clause in the Articles of Confederation to establish a federal post office, Congress waited until 18 October 1782 to pass "An Ordinance for Regulating the Post-Office of the United States of America." After ratification of the Constitution in 1789, giving Congress the power "To establish Post Offices and post Roads," the Postal System became part of the Treasury Department and remained so until 1829. Before the end of Washington's second presidential term in 1797, the number of post offices, miles of post roads and amount of postal revenues had quintupled.

Revision as of 11:26, 19 November 2007

In an act of independence from the British government, the Second Continental Congress created the Post Office Service[1] in July, 1775, appointing Benjamin Franklin as Postmaster General. Despite a clause in the Articles of Confederation to establish a federal post office, Congress waited until 18 October 1782 to pass "An Ordinance for Regulating the Post-Office of the United States of America." After ratification of the Constitution in 1789, giving Congress the power "To establish Post Offices and post Roads," the Postal System became part of the Treasury Department and remained so until 1829. Before the end of Washington's second presidential term in 1797, the number of post offices, miles of post roads and amount of postal revenues had quintupled.

Originally, the postal recipient paid postage. Rates were set by the Post Office Act of 1792, ranging from six cents for a one page letter carried up to thirty miles to twenty-five cents for one taken more than 450 miles. Letter carriers first appeared in cities in 1794. In lieu of salaries, they collected two cents plus postage for each letter they delivered. The use of adhesive postal stamps was authorized by Congress on March 3, 1847.

On November 8, 1775, Congress resolved "That all letters to and from the delegates of the United States Colonies, during the sessions of Congress, pass, and be carried free of postage, the members having engaged upon their honor not to frank or enclose any letters but their own."[2] This controversial privilege was extended to many others beyond the Confederation period. During all the years Jefferson held federal office, and during his retirement from public service, he was able to enjoy the franking privilege.

Footnotes

  1. This article is based on KKO, Monticello Research Report, August 14, 1992.
  2. *Journals of the Continental Congress, (Washington, D.C.: GPO), 3:342.

Further Sources