With the Revolutionary War imminent, the Continental Congress assembled and enacted the “Constitutional Post.” This act ensured that communications between the public and patriots, or those fighting for America’s independence, continued. On July 26, 1775, the Second Continental Congress chose Benjamin Franklin as the nation’s first Postmaster General. The establishment of the organization that became the United States Postal Service nearly two Houston TX post office later traces back to this date and Ben Franklin. In 1760, Franklin reported a surplus to the British Postmaster General.
Franklin dedicated himself in this position, as well as many others, to fulfill George Washington’s dream of an information highway between the citizens and government. Like Goddard, whose idea was to become united, Washington believed, that as a nation, we could forever be bound together by a communication system of roads. When Franklin left office in November of 1776, post roads operated from Florida to Canada and mail between the colonies and England was operating on a regular schedule.
America’s present day postal service descends from an unbroken line of the system Franklin created, planned, and placed in operation. History rightfully affords him major credit for establishing the basis of the postal service that has performed magnificently for the American people.
The Post Office and the Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation (our countries first written form of government) gave Congress the right and power to establish and regulate post offices from one state to another, and to exact postage on papers passing through the same as may be required to so to defray expenses of the post office.
The Postal Act of 1792 further defined the role of the Postal Service. Under the act, newspapers were allowed in the mails at low rates to promote the spread of information across the states. To ensure the sanctity and privacy of the mails, postal officials were forbidden to open any letters in their charge unless they were undeliverable. These provisions enlarged and strengthened the duties of the Post Office and unified the organization by providing rules and regulations for its development. One of which was the transportation of mail. Other than by railroad or steamboat, the delivery of mail would only be given to bidders who offered stagecoach services.