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Binding nation together has never been more important




When the founding fathers gathered in 1775 to create our national government, one of the first acts of the Continental Congress was to establish the Post Office. Why start with the mail? One important reason was to “bind the nation together” by delivering free, uncensored news about our fledgling country and the freedom and democracy on which it was built.

A free press remains one of the cornerstones of our democracy. Individual small town publishers and the delivery of the news and other information by the Postal Service are important reasons why the United States is a beacon of freedom to the world.

Today, creating and delivering the news is no small endeavor. In 2006, the Postal Service processed and delivered more than nine billion newspapers and publications – everything from local weekly newspapers to Time, Newsweek and the Washington Post.

The first U.S. periodicals, such as Benjamin Franklin’s The Pennsylvania Gazette, covered a wide range of local issues and events. This legacy continues today through community newspapers. However, Americans also enjoy specialty publications that inform us about a host of specific subjects – magazines and fliers on everything from artifacts to zoology.

Before the American Revolution, a postmaster could charge whatever he wanted in terms of postage, and use his office to put rival publications out of business. However, Franklin changed that by accepting all newspapers at reasonable and equitable postage rates. Today, U.S. periodicals still enjoy some of the lowest postage rates in the industrialized world.

After more than two centuries, the Postal Service and community newspapers still help Americans communicate with each other. Our partnership in binding the nation together has never been more important – delivering news, opinions and information that keep us informed, and help to keep us free.


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