The Post and the Press

a variety of newspapers on exhibit at the museum

Printers vied for the postmaster's job, knowing they would get news first and could mail their newspapers for free and refuse competing papers. As deputy postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin insisted on cheap, impartial delivery of all newspapers.

The 1792 Post Office Act let newspaper editors exchange their papers by mail without charge so that each could print the other's news. By 1825, newspapers circulated in-state or within 100 miles of publication for 1 cent, and for 1-1/2 cents beyond that range. Newspapers and magazines still enjoy special rates, based on the revolutionary conviction that knowledge is power, not to be taxed.