History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the Mckinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 8

By James Ford Rhodes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX

In writing of the reduction of postage in 1851 under Fillmore, who had reached the presidency through Taylor's death, I said that "it has become a governmental axiom that the increase in the revenue of the post-office department and the decline of rates of postage is a true mark of growth in civilization."1 From Fillmore to Arthur there had been no change in rates except that in 1872 one-cent postal cards had been authorized, so that on Arthur's accession, first-class mail paid three cents for half an ounce. For the year ending June 30, 1882 there was in the post-office department a surplus of receipts over cost of service, the first since the reduction in 1851. Referring to this the President said in his message of December 1882: "It has been the policy of the Government from its foundation to defray as far as possible the expenses of carrying the mails by a direct tax in the form of postage. It has never been claimed, however, that this service ought to be productive of a net revenue."2 The President warmly recommended a reduction in letter postage. Congress agreed with the President and found in the surplus of the general revenue an additional impetus to foster letter correspondence by making it cheaper. A member of the House undoubtedly expressed the view of many when he declared that the reduction was a great

____________________
1
History, i. 216.
2
Richardson, viii. 141.

-197-

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History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the Mckinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 8
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • History of the United States from Hayes to Mckinley 1
  • Chapter II 52
  • Chapter III 88
  • Chapter IV 109
  • Chapter V 128
  • Chapter VI 139
  • Chapter VII 161
  • Chapter VIII 180
  • Chapter IX 197
  • Chapter X 215
  • Chapter XI 240
  • Chapter XII 255
  • Chapter XIII 305
  • Chapter XIV 328
  • Chapter XV 341
  • Chapter XVI 365
  • Chapter XVII 380
  • Chapter XVIII 394
  • Chapter XIX 418
  • Chapter XX 443
  • Index 463
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