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How the post office created America: a history

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Pub. Date:
2016
Language:
English
Description
A masterful history of a long underappreciated institution, How the Post Office Created America examines the surprising role of the postal service in our nation’s political, social, economic, and physical development. 

The founders established the post office before they had even signed the Declaration of Independence, and for a very long time, it was the U.S. government’s largest and most important endeavor—indeed, it was the government for most citizens. This was no conventional mail network but the central nervous system of the new body politic, designed to bind thirteen quarrelsome colonies into the United States by delivering news about public affairs to every citizen—a radical idea that appalled Europe’s great powers. America’s uniquely democratic post powerfully shaped its lively, argumentative culture of uncensored ideas and opinions and made it the world’s information and communications superpower with astonishing speed. 

Winifred Gallagher presents the history of the post office as America’s own story, told from a fresh perspective over more than two centuries. The mandate to deliver the mail—then “the media”—imposed the federal footprint on vast, often contested parts of the continent and transformed a wilderness into a social landscape of post roads and villages centered on post offices. The post was the catalyst of the nation’s transportation grid, from the stagecoach lines to the airlines, and the lifeline of the great migration from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It enabled America to shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy and to develop the publishing industry, the consumer culture, and the political party system. Still one of the country’s two major civilian employers, the post was the first to hire women, African Americans, and other minorities for positions in public life. 

Starved by two world wars and the Great Depression, confronted with the country’s increasingly anti-institutional mind-set, and struggling with its doubled mail volume, the post stumbled badly in the turbulent 1960s. Distracted by the ensuing modernization of its traditional services, however, it failed to transition from paper mail to email, which prescient observers saw as its logical next step. Now the post office is at a crossroads. Before deciding its future, Americans should understand what this grand yet overlooked institution has accomplished since 1775 and consider what it should and could contribute in the twenty-first century.

Gallagher argues that now, more than ever before, the imperiled post office deserves this effort, because just as the founders anticipated, it created forward-looking, communication-oriented, idea-driven America.
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ISBN:
9781594205002
9781469034546
9780399564031
9781469034553
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work IDd57d02c0-b25b-8e1b-f711-7c0de1101665
Grouping Titlehow the post office created america a history
Grouping Authorwinifred gallagher
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2022-08-14 03:25:20AM
Last Indexed2022-08-14 04:02:48AM

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display_description
A masterful history of a long underappreciated institution, How the Post Office Created America examines the surprising role of the postal service in our nation’s political, social, economic, and physical development. 

The founders established the post office before they had even signed the Declaration of Independence, and for a very long time, it was the U.S. government’s largest and most important endeavor—indeed, it was the government for most citizens. This was no conventional mail network but the central nervous system of the new body politic, designed to bind thirteen quarrelsome colonies into the United States by delivering news about public affairs to every citizen—a radical idea that appalled Europe’s great powers. America’s uniquely democratic post powerfully shaped its lively, argumentative culture of uncensored ideas and opinions and made it the world’s information and communications superpower with astonishing speed. 

Winifred Gallagher presents the history of the post office as America’s own story, told from a fresh perspective over more than two centuries. The mandate to deliver the mail—then “the media”—imposed the federal footprint on vast, often contested parts of the continent and transformed a wilderness into a social landscape of post roads and villages centered on post offices. The post was the catalyst of the nation’s transportation grid, from the stagecoach lines to the airlines, and the lifeline of the great migration from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It enabled America to shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy and to develop the publishing industry, the consumer culture, and the political party system. Still one of the country’s two major civilian employers, the post was the first to hire women, African Americans, and other minorities for positions in public life. 

Starved by two world wars and the Great Depression, confronted with the country’s increasingly anti-institutional mind-set, and struggling with its doubled mail volume, the post stumbled badly in the turbulent 1960s. Distracted by the ensuing modernization of its traditional services, however, it failed to transition from paper mail to email, which prescient observers saw as its logical next step. Now the post office is at a crossroads. Before deciding its future, Americans should understand what this grand yet overlooked institution has accomplished since 1775 and consider what it should and could contribute in the twenty-first century.

Gallagher argues that now, more than ever before, the imperiled post office deserves this effort, because just as the founders anticipated, it created forward-looking, communication-oriented, idea-driven America.
format_catalog
Book
eAudiobook
eBook
format_category_catalog
Audio Books
Books
eBook
id
d57d02c0-b25b-8e1b-f711-7c0de1101665
isbn
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9781469034546
9781469034553
9781594205002
itype_catalog
Adult Book Non-Fiction
last_indexed
2022-08-14T11:02:48.729Z
lexile_score
-1
literary_form
Non Fiction
literary_form_full
Non Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog
383.4973 G162 2016
owning_library_catalog
Sacramento Public Library
owning_location_catalog
Central
Colonial Heights
McKinley
Rancho Cordova
Walnut Grove
primary_isbn
9781594205002
publishDate
2016
publisher
Ascent Audio
Gildan Audio
Penguin Press
Penguin Publishing Group
recordtype
grouped_work
subject_facet
Postal service -- United States -- History
United States Postal Service -- History
title_display
How the post office created America : a history
title_full
How the Post Office Created America A History
How the Post Office created America : a history [electronic resource] / Winifred Gallagher
How the post office created America : a history / Winifred Gallagher
title_short
How the post office created America
title_sub
a history
topic_facet
Business
History
Nonfiction
Postal service
Women's Studies

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