Purpose of the Postal System

“The postal system was founded, and form many years was conducted, upon the principle that it should be self-supporting. However, in the fifties there were many Congressmen who did not subscribe to this doctrine. They did not look upon the Post Office Department as a mere business undertaking which must needs be self-supporting. To them the postal service, especially in its western lines, was and should be, primarily a pioneer of civilization; marking the trails and keeping them open to travel, encouraging settlement, and acting as the precursor of the railroad.”