Today, the nation celebrates its 245th birthday. Did you know that in just a few weeks the U.S. Postal Service will mark its 246th? That’s right, July 26, 1775 — the day the Second Continental Congress appointed Ben Franklin as its first postmaster general — is recognized as the start of America’s postal services. Franklin was the perfect candidate to helm the new nation’s own mail system, as he oversaw the British colonial mail service that was being replaced.
Less well-known is the fact that the colonial postal operations played a supporting role in the planning stages of the American Revolution as well as in establishing the new republic. As reported in Smithsonian magazine:
“By the early 1770s, Franklin’s fellow patriots had organized underground networks, the Committees of Correspondence and then the Constitutional Post, that enabled the founders to talk treason under the British radar. In 1775, before the Declaration of Independence was even signed, the Continental Congress turned the Constitutional Post into the Post Office of the United States, whose operations became the first — and for many citizens, the most consequential — function of the new government itself.”
Please join the OIG in wishing both the United States and the United States Postal Service a very happy birthday!