What Would Ben Franklin, Our First Postmaster General, Think Of Louis Dejoy?Historians in the News
tags: Postal Service, USPS, Ben Franklin
The postal service was a mess when Philadelphia’s 47-year-old postmaster general was appointed in 1753 to help run it. His name: Benjamin Franklin.
The Colonial postal service was still run under the Crown as a moneymaking venture for Britain. The service was expensive and used mostly by lawyers and businessmen to send legal documents. Franklin got paid with any profit was left after mail service was conducted. For years, it ran a deficit, and Franklin realized the best way to turn a profit was to improve services instead of gutting them.
The future Founding Father — a statesman, scientist and shrewd businessman — believed in efficiency and innovation. Some historians say he would have been alarmed at the Trump administration’s threats to slash operations of one of the nation’s founding institutions.
“Franklin would be outraged,” historian Richard John, author of “Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse,” said in a phone interview. “He was an institution builder — he wants to build things up, not tear things down.”
This week Franklin’s 21st-century successor, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, promised to drop some of his cost-cutting changes, including shortening retail hours at post offices and removing drop boxes and mail processing equipment. But he is apparently considering significant after the election that could slow mail delivery in parts of the country and hike prices for some services, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
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