History of Postal Jobs and the USPS
The USPS has been one of the oldest standing institutions in the United States. The evolution of the USPS has gone hand in hand with the evolution of postal jobs. Over the years, the USPS has undergone many changes which have allowed it to not only contribute to the growth of the US but also in society as well.
With a rich history, the USPS has garnered a lot of attention and there are many historical facts about it. The following are some of the best historical facts about the USPS and postal jobs:
1.The USPS Had the Harshest Punishments
When it comes to punishment for theft, the USPS imparted the harshest punishment of all. While today, theft of mail can earn someone a lot of jail time, in the past, they were sentenced to death. This is because the USPS was relied upon by many people to send money. At the time, it was the only official channel to do so and theft caused heavy losses.
To dissuade people, the penalty for theft was set by Congress to a public whipping for first-time offenders and 10 years in prison. Second time offenders were sentenced to death. This was applied since 1799 but was changed in 1872.
2.The First Office Was a Bar
The first U.S. Mail office was actually part of an old fashioned tavern bar. It was established in 1639 by Richard Fairbanks in Boston. The tavern was a natural choice because of how many travelers from all over the country frequented it. Passing of notes or holding them for others was already the norm but, Fairbanks was the first person to bring some more order to this process.
3.A Job Applicant Needed Connections
While today, the USPS practices non-discrimination in hiring and relies on the Postal Exam to get candidates for postal jobs, in the past, there was a completely different tactic. One had to have connections to get their foot through the door.
Starting from 1828, the practice of relying on connections to get a position in the USPS continued for over 141 years. It was eventually abolished by President Richard Nixon in 1969 to ensure that presidents didn’t hire civilian employees to give their postal jobs to people who were also party supporters.
4.Recipients Were Required to Pay
While it is very common now for senders to shoulder the postage fee, in the past, this was the responsibility of the recipient. People started to actively avoid getting letters so that they won’t have to pay. This in turn would mean that USPS had to spend money to give the letters back to the sender. However, the issue was resolved once pre-paid postage stamps were introduced by 1847.
5.Collecting Mail Was the Recipients Job
While today, the mailman will come to your door to give your letters, in the past, the responsibility for this feel on the recipient. If they had a letter, they had to come to post office to collect it. It was only during the Civil war that Joseph Burgs, a postal clerk in Ohio decided to deliver letters when he saw worried wives and widows standing in long lines in all kinds of weather, just to get letters from loved ones.
As you can see, the USPS and postal jobs have a rich history behind them which make very attractive for one!