Mail Subsidizing Stagecoaches

In 1785, barely two years after the Revolution ended, the post made the first of its greatly underappreciated contributions to America’s transportation network by subsidizing stagecoaches to carry the mail, starting on certain major routes. The coaches were slower and much more expensive than the post riders, but they could carry much more mail, particularly the bulky newspapers, and do so more securely and dependably. Moreover, as Congressman Charles Pinckney of South Carolina emphasized, the government’s investment improved both mail service and transportation by encouraging “the establishment of stages to make intercourse between different parts of the Union less difficult and expensive.”