Benjamin Franklin: Postmaster Extraordinaire


In 1775 Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster General after serving as Postmaster of Philadelphia for sixteen years, a position he used to circulate his paper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. Smart, but does that present an ethical difficulty? I mean, using his office to promote his own gain? That doesn't sound quite right but it was a different day.

Franklin, known for his inventions, did not invent the odometer but pressed it into postal service by designing one to attached to the front wheel of letter carriages. By multiplying the number of revolutions by the wheel's circumference carriers could calculate the distance traveled on their routes each day. In this way Franklin determined which were the quickest routes. Efficiency matters. Clever. 

After the Hutchinson Affair (you can read about it HERE) he was dismissed from his post. You will remember that things were growing more unpleasant between Britain and the Colonies at that time. When the Continental Congress was established, Franklin was elected to head a committee to establish a new postal system by the Colonies and for the Colonies. This system would later be the basis for the United States Postal Service. Well done, Ben.

According to the Smithsonian, the Colonies had organized underground mail networks which became the "Constitutional Post." The Continental Congress then turned the Constitutional Post into the Post Office of the United States. Interesting. I hadn't known that before.

Please direct comments to this post to: Mrs. Duffy P.O. Box 196 Kingsburg, CA 93631 See you in the mail!

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