The purpose of this was to smooth the progress of interstate communication and to establish a source of revenue for the new nation of the United States. The 1792 Postal Service Act provided for a greatly expanded post office network and guaranteed the privacy of personal correspondence in the United States of America.
History of the US Post Office for kids
Before the establishment of the US Post Office letters were carried by friends, merchants or Native American Indians to their place of destination. In 1639 a tavern in Boston owned by Richard Fairbanks was named as a repository for overseas mail.
US Post Office for kids - Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) played a Important role in the establishment of the US Post Office. Benjamin Franklin had been appointed by the English as the Joint Postmaster General for the Crown in 1753. During this time he successfully established new postal routes and directed the erection of sandstone mile markers (called Franklin Markers). The mile markers were stone tablets (milestones) set up on a roadside to indicate the distance in miles to or from a place. The surveys he conducted resulted in a faster mail service and the milestones provided confidence in all those who traveled along the roads. On July 26, 1775, Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster General, by the Continental Congress. The organization was called the Post Office Department. It was the predecessor of the United States Postal Service.
US Post Office for kids - Postmaster General
Within a year Ben Franklin was appointed Commissioner to France and his son-in-law, Richard Bache, assumed the role of Postmaster General. Ebenezer Hazard (1744–1817) then became US Postmaster General, serving from 1782 to 1789. Samuel Osgood (1747-1813) then held the postmaster general's position in New York City from 1789, when the U.S. Constitution came into effect, until the government moved to Philadelphia in 1791. At this time there were approximately 75 post offices and about 2,000 miles of post roads. Timothy Pickering (1745-1829) took over in 1791.
US Post Office for kids - 1792 Postal Service Act
The Postal Service Act signed into law by President George Washington on February 20, 1792. This was the law that established the United States Post Office Department. It gave the role of Postmaster General greater powers, unified its organization and provided rules and regulations for its development. Under the 1792 Postal Service Act, newspapers were allowed to be carried by the service at low rates in order to promote the spread of information across the states and improve communication in the new nation. To promote confidence in the service postal officials were forbidden to open any letters unless they were undeliverable. Also under the Postal Service Act Congress assumed responsibility for the creation of postal routes. The objective of this was to ensure that mail routes would not only only serving existing communities but expand and develop across the new nation.
US Post Office Notable Events - Postage Stamps and the Pony Express
The mail routes did expand. The first postage stamps were introduced on July 1, 1847, before this time post masters marked how much postage was paid by hand in the upper right corner of the post. The amount of postage charged was based upon how many sheets were being delivered. The Pony Express started on April 3, 1860. The Post Office continued to expand with the advent of new forms of transportation from the railroad to cars and to an airmail service.