Federal Centralization: A Study and Criticism of the Expanding Scope of Congressional Legislation

By Walter Thompson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE POSTAL CLAUSE

IT is through the post office department that the average individual comes most frequently into contact with the federal government. By land, by water, and by air this department is daily reaching the millions of people whom it serves. Its numerous branches extend into every village, hamlet, and isolated rural district. Even our remotest insular possessions are reached by it. It is the largest of the executive departments in number of employees, its personnel numbering more than a quarter of a million. In 1920 nearly a half billion dollars was spent to maintain this service. In the crowded metropolis, on the sparsely settled plains, and in the remote forests its agents are to be found. Every day the post office department handles over twenty million letters. Every year it handles more than fifteen billion pieces of mail. Isolated indeed is the individual who does not sometimes depend upon the federal government for this service.

Considering the size and importance of the postal service at the present time, it is interesting to note that in the Constitutional Convention the postal clause provoked practically no discussion. It may seem strange that the delegates who were jealous of states rights should not have protested against the vesting, without qualifications, of this important function in the federal government. This was probably due to historical considerations.

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