Even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the founders established the post office as the circulatory system of America’s body politic. Unlike European postal systems, America’s Post was based on a radical goal: to create an informed electorate by delivering news about public affairs to every citizen.
Winifred Gallagher’s How The Post Office Created America recounts how the U.S. Post was instrumental in developing the national transportation grid, from stagecoach lines to airlines. It organized a wild, rural landscape with roads, villages, towns, and addresses. The postal service was the lifeline that supported the great migration and expansion West. It also enabled America to shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy, and was integral to the development of the publishing industry, consumer culture, and the political party system.