Subsidized Delivery of Newspapers

After the Revolution, America needed a central nervous system to circulate news throughout the new body politic. Like mail service, knowledge of public affairs had always been limited to an elite, but George Washington, James Madison, and especially Dr. Benjamin Rush (a terrible physician but a wonderful political philosopher) were determined to provide the people of their democratic republic with both. Their novel, uniquely American post didn’t just carry letters for the few. It also subsidized the delivery of newspapers to the entire population, which created an informed electorate, spurred the fledgling market economy, and bound thirteen fractious erstwhile colonies into the United States. For more than two centuries, the founders’ grandly envisaged postal commons has endured as one of the few American institutions, public or private, in which we, the people, are treated as equals.