|Postal system executive Postmaster General|
|Formed February 20, 1792 (1792-02-20)|
Dissolved July 1, 1971 (1971-07-01)
Superseding agency United States Postal Service
Headquarters Postal Office Headquarters
The Post Office Department (1792–1971) was the predecessor of the United States Postal Service, in the form of a Cabinet department 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, in office from 1823 to 1829, 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 American Civil War (1861–1865), postal services in the Confederate States of America were provided by the Confederate States of America 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 United States Postal Service on July 1, 1971. The regulatory role of the postal services was then transferred to the Postal Regulatory Commission.