The USPS was "as radical an experiment as America itself"

Jul 19, 2016

Even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the founders of the United States established the post office as the circulatory system of America’s body politic.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with New York Times best-selling author Winifred Gallagher, author of How the Post Office Created America.

In her book she explores the founding, settling and growth of the U.S. through the lens of the US Postal Service, which she calls "as radical an experiment as America itself." Prior to the USPS, postal services were for the elite; and suddenly, American citizens had access to newspapers, letters from around the country, and voting ballots.

"One of the main reasons why our post office was authorized in 1775 was because the colonists objected to the fact that the crown postal system was intercepting their mail and delaying their access to newspapers," says Gallagher. "The post office is really in our DNA as a nation."

They also discuss the physical, social, and economic impact of the post office, and the future of the more than 240-year-old institution.