When Did the United States Open Its First Post Office?

Communication was crucial in the American colonies' fight for independence from British rule. After battles in Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress was convened in Philadelphia in 1775 -- a year before the US was officially born -- and it was decided that the ability to correspond quickly was a key to victory. Benjamin Franklin was designated as the leader of a committee tasked with creating what later became the U.S. Postal Service.

In the process, Franklin received a new title -- Postmaster General. Franklin held the position until 7 November 1776. He was in office when the Declaration of Independence created the United States in July of that year, making him the first official Postmaster General of the United States.

Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night:

  • Postmasters and postal riders were exempt from military duty. Even during the American Revolution, delivery of the mail was a top priority.

  • The Post Office Department was created in 1792, and it became a cabinet-level department in 1872.

  • In 1971, the U.S. Postal Service became an independent agency under the Postal Reorganization Act.

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