- United States Postmaster General
The United States Postmaster General is the executive head of the
United States Postal Service. The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitutionand the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklinwas appointed by the Continental Congressas the first Postmaster General, serving slightly longer than 15 months.
Until 1971, the Postmaster General was the head of the Post Office Department (or simply "Post Office" until the 1820s). [ [http://www.usps.com/cpim/ftp/pubs/pub100/pub100.htm Publication 100 - The United States Postal Service: An American History 1775-2002 ] ] From 1829, he was a member of the President's Cabinet.
The Cabinet post of Postmaster General was often given to a new President's campaign manager or other key political supporter, and was considered something of a
sinecure. The Postmaster General was in charge of the governing party's patronage, and was a powerful position which held much influence within the party. For example, James Farleyused his position as Postmaster General during Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Dealadministration to reward party loyalists within Congress who supported Roosevelt's initial "100 days" legislation with federal patronage for their states. Federal appointments, except for a small handful, were screened by Farley before the President could approve the appointments due to the patronage position of the Postmaster General.
In 1971, the Post Office Department was re-organized into the
United States Postal Service, a special agency independent of the executive branch. Thus, the Postmaster General is no longer a member of the Cabinet and is no longer in line to be President.During the Civil War, the Confederate States of Americaalso had a Confederate Post-Office Department, headed by a Postmaster General, John Henninger Reagan.
The current Postmaster General (who is also CEO of the U.S. Postal Service) is
John E. Potter.
Postmasters General under the Continental Congress
Postmasters General under the U.S. Postal Service, 1971–present
* [http://www.usps.com/communications/organization/pmg.htm Official site]
* [http://www.usps.com/postalhistory/pmhistory.htm List of Postmasters General]
* [http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/listofholdingshtml/finding_aids_s.html Papers of Arthur E. Summerfield, Postmaster General, 1953-1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library]
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