For other uses, see Post Road (disambiguation).
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2010)|
||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
A post road is a road designated for the transportation of postal mail. In past centuries, only major towns had a post house and the roads used by post riders or mail coaches to carry mail among them were particularly important ones or, due to the special attention given them, became so. In various centuries and countries, post road became more or less equivalent to main road, royal road, or highway. The 20th century spread of postal service blurred the distinction.
In the United States, colonial post roads developed as the primary method of transporting information across the original thirteen colonies. Post riders rode horses between towns on the road and milestones marked the distance between cities. Many of these milestones still exist on older highways such as the Boston Post Road. Before the advent of electronic communication, post roads were crucial in spreading news and knowledge across the colonies.
The Articles of Confederation authorized the national government to create post offices but not post roads. Adoption of the U.S. Constitution changed this, as Article I, Section Eight, known as the Postal Clause, specifically authorizes Congress the enumerated power "to establish post offices and post roads." This was generally interpreted liberally, to include roads that could also be used for other purposes. U.S. Supreme Court justice Joseph Story defended the broad interpretation that had become dominant in his influential Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833).  A law of 1838 designated all existing and future railroads as post roads.
Notable American post roads built for the purpose include:
- Albany Post Road, connects New York City to Albany, the capital of New York state
- Boston Post Road, traverses New England from New York to Boston
Notable Post Roads in Europe and Asia
- Jalan Raya Pos (English: Great Post Road; Dutch: De Grote Postweg), from Anyer to Panarukan, Indonesia, which was built during the governancy of Herman Willem Daendels of Dutch East Indies from 1808 to 1811.
- Dutch Post Road, (German: Niederländischer Postkurs) established in 1490, connected the Netherlands with coaching inns in Germany and Italy.
- Antwerp-Venice Post Road, similar to the Dutch Post Road.
- Bremen-Hamburg Post Road, approved by the king of Sweden on July 5, 1665 to establish regular mail service. A second route was routed from Cuxhaven through the Land of Wursten to Lehe.
- "Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7: Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:§§ 1119–42, 1144–45". Press-pubs.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2008-10-28.