Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Most people think that the postal service started with Benjamin Franklin. Though he did a lot for the American postal service, it did not all begin with this founding father. The beginnings of the American postal service began much further back in time.
In reality, the postal service began as far back as ancient Egyptian and Persian Empires. These empires ruled around 700 B.C. and made a huge impact on our world today. Just one of them was the postal service.
Early postal services in the Middle East and as far away as China began as a means for the rulers and all those in their service could communicate effectively with each other. With men dedicated to transporting documents, letters, and other correspondence communication increased throughout the kingdom and allowed the empires to grow and become the legends that we know.
Every large civilization that left more than a military imprint on us used an extensive postal service that proved highly effective and influential. The Roman Empire developed one of the largest and evolved system that helped the Empire expand. In fact there were roads dedicated solely for postal riders.
As the world advanced and grew so did the postal system. When the Americas were discovered, it did not take long to see the need for a system to transport correspondence. Early in the years of colonization, the most common ways to get letters from one place to another was by looking for travelers passing through. They would carry the letters with them and leave them off at the appropriate destinations or at another stopping point.
The first official move to an organized postal system in the new world was in 1639 when a Boston tavern owned by Richard Fairbanks was designated as the place for all communication between the new world and the old world to be channeled through. Postal service between colonies came about forty years later between Boston and New York. The very first post office was established in Pennsylvania in 1683.
While the north was beginning to develop a postal system, the south mainly relied on slaves to deliver messages between plantations. It wasn’t until 1737 when Benjamin Franklin was given the position of Postmaster by England that the settlements took a large step toward a more developed and streamlined postal service and a united country.
Though Franklin was only thirty-one when took on this position, he was already beginning to show signs of the genius that generations described of him. Upon taking up the position, he examined the postal routes and post offices. The postal routes were reorganized and made more efficient. Communication was increased and the colonies began to band closer together.
Over the years the American postal service grew and evolved into what we know today. Communication still goes through this service despite technology that increases communication even further. Yet, the United States postal service stands strong as the official communication of the young country.