Monday, March 05, 2007

Chapter 3

Quote: "By assuming direct control of postal routes, Congress opened a direct political channel for local demands that would spur the development of a broader network" (p. 88)

Comment: On a fundamental level, human activities and societal processes sustained by the exchange of printed information depended on the inter-institutional relations of the post office and press. Before the advent of the telegraph, the postal system afforded the only widespread and regular means of transmitting public information. In short, the post office and press together constituted the most important mechanism for the dissemination of public information at least until the Civil War, and the intelligence thus communicated affected many spheres of life in the growing nation, including politics.
Interests of various kinds maneuvered to obtain advantages-whether political, cultural, or business by influencing postal operations. In the late 1700s, the government declared the entire transportation system, including postal service, to be the exclusive domain of the state, “a direct political channel”, as well as the opportunity to increase state revenues, naturally fueled expansion of the communication network.


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