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You Got Mail!
Our Postal Service has a long history until unions made it bad. Or something. We celebrate the beginning the delivering the mail!
Happy birthday to the United States Postal Service, established on this day in 1792. Known also as the Post Office, US Mail, The Mail Service, and USPS, the people who bring coupons that you don't need and magazines you bought from the Girl Scouts began their work before the Revolutionary War. The initial effort was to organize a better way to distribute newspapers across the colonies because the internet machine hadn't been invented.
Speaking of electricity, Ben Franklin served as the first postmaster general, a title that far outweighs the powers of authority, for about a year in 1774. Fast forward twenty years, and Timothy Pickering, a man you probably never heard of, served as postmaster general when the Postal Service Act was signed into law by Washington, creating a cabinet-level position.
The United States Postal Department, as it was initially titled, grew as rapidly as the country itself. It assisted expansion in the west with quick, inexpensive ways of communicating. Along with newspapers, carriers also delivered letters. The Post Office takes credit for improving literacy. Show me how they are wrong.
In 1896, the creation of the Rural Free Delivery helped farmers receive the mail directly rather than walk long miles to pick it up at an office. In 1914, Charlotte May Pierstorff was mailed to her grandparents, and boy did that party had to stop.
Post offices used to serve as banks, where people could trust their savings when they lacked faith in actual banks. They took over the air in 1918, making delivering packages from sea to shining sea that much quicker. Gradually over the years, the demographics of postal workers shifted from white to black. About six in ten workers are nonwhite.
Then 1970 rolled around. New York postal workers went on strike, like all union workers, over silly nonsense like wages and labor conditions. The strike spread across the country. President Richard Nixon helped bring it to an end by signing the Postal Reorganization Act. Now eliminated as a cabinet position, and instead a corporation facing competition from UPS and FedEx. Surprisingly, it hasn’t posted a profit since 2006. The guy in charge now is named Dejoy, and he has been a dejoke. I thought businesspeople were supposed to run things better. MARKETS!
I actually love getting mail. One summer during college, I wrote a bunch of friends, and they wrote back, and we had a fun time reading the things we were doing. I don't talk to them anymore, though. I don't even email them. I'm sure they are okay.
The real question is, which child would you ship to your parents.