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Petition for Post Roads, January 8, 1844

Citizens of Springfield, Illinois, petitioned their members of Congress for this direct mail route, which would reduce delivery time between northeastern cities and Springfield from 10 to 12 days to only 36 hours. One petitioner was Abraham Lincoln, then a lawyer in Springfield.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Petition for Post Roads

Building the First Communications System

Post roads, so called because mail was carried over them, date to colonial times. They were the major land routes linking towns. So vital were these links that both houses of Congress established a Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads as one of their first standing committees. As mail was the only means of long-distance communication until the invention of the telegraph in the 1840s, the speed of mail delivery affected every citizen.