"Post Office Department" redirects here. For the defunct Canadian Post Office Department, see Canada Post
The Post Office Department (1792–1971) was the name of the United States Postal Service prior to it being a Cabinet department, and during the time that it was at cabinet-level, officially from 1872 to 1971. It was headed by the Postmaster General.
The Postal Service Act signed by President George Washington on February 20, 1792, established the Department. Postmaster General John McLean was the first to call it the Post Office Department rather than just the "Post Office." The organization received a boost in prestige when President Andrew Jackson invited his Postmaster General, William T. Barry, to sit as a member of the Cabinet in 1829. The Post Office Act of 1872 (17 Stat. 283) elevated the Post Office Department to Cabinet status.
During the Civil War (1861–65), postal services in the Confederacy were provided by the CSA Post Office Department, headed by Postmaster General John Henninger Reagan.
The Postal Reorganization Act was signed by President Richard Nixon on August 12, 1970. It replaced the cabinet-level Post Office Department with the independent Postal Service on July 1, 1971.
See also