On this day in 1792, President George Washington signs legislation renewing theUnited States Post Office as a cabinet department led by the postmaster general, guaranteeing inexpensive delivery of all newspapers, stipulating the right to privacy and granting Congress the ability to expand postal service to new areas of the nation.
William Goddard, a Patriot printer frustrated that the royal postal service was unable to reliably deliver his Pennsylvania Chronicle to its readers or deliver critical news for the paper to Goddard, laid out a plan for the Constitutional Post before the Continental Congress on October 5, 1774. Congress waited to act on the plan until after the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Benjamin Franklin promoted Goddard’s plan and served as the first postmaster general under the Continental Congress beginning on July 26, 1775, nearly one year before the Congress declared independence from the British Crown. Franklin’s son-in-law, Richard Bache, took over the position on November 7, 1776, when Franklin became an American emissary to France.
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