The Political Economy of Postal Reform in the Victorian Age

John, Richard R.

The origins, character, and legacy of the campaigns for cheap postage in Great Britain and the United States raise a number of questions that are worthy of careful historical scrutiny. Who supported these campaigns? What was their rationale? What were their consequences for public and private life? These are large questions, and ones that this essay cannot possibly answer in a definitive way. Yet they are worth posing, since their answers provide a context for understanding later innovations in communications that ranged from the rise of commercial broadcasting to the commercialization of the internet.

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Smithsonian Contributions to History and Technology
Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press

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August 1, 2018