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"For the first half century of [the U.S. Postal Service's] founding, its main function was to circulate newspapers to a national audience. . . . That all changed in 1845 when Congress enacted the first in a series of laws that sharply reduced the cost of sending letters. The new rates led to a vast surge in personal correspondence. They set up a communications revolution that the historian David Henkin has chronicled in an engaging new book called The Postal Age."