Created in 1789 as the Department of the Post Office, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) commenced operations as an “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States” in 1971. USPS has a legal mandate to provide “fundamental service” to the American people at “fair and reasonable rates.” USPS fulfills its universal service requirement by offering a variety of classes of mail service within which the price does not vary unreasonably by customer for the level of service
Universal service is generally understood to entail six-day-per-week delivery to every address in the United States for one flat rate. To compensate for this obligation, USPS holds a monopoly on the delivery of non-urgent letter communications and on the use of mailboxes.
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