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  • United States Postal Service

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    The full eagle logo, used in various versions from 1970 to 1993 The United States Postal Service (USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service) is an independent agency of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States, including its insular areas and associated states. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. The U.S. Mail traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. The Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin's operation, elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, and transformed in 1971 into the U.S. Postal Service as an independent agency. The USPS as of 2017 has 644,124 active employeees and operated 211,264 vehicles in 2014. The USPS is the operator of the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world. The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has exclusive access to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail" and personal letterboxes in the United States, but now has to compete against private package delivery services, such as United Parcel Service and FedEx. Since the early 1980s, many of the direct tax subsidies to the Post Office, with the exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters, have been reduced or eliminated in favor of indirect subsidies, in addition to the advantages associated with a government-enforced monopoly on the delivery of first-class mail. Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume, after which Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act which mandated that $5.5 billion per year be paid to fully prefund employee retirement health benefits, revenue dropped sharply due to recession-influenced declining mail volume, prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit.

  • Registered mail

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    A 1936 registered letter from Canada to Great Britain sent via the RMS Queen Mary. A registered parcel sent from India to the UK with electronic barcode registration.Registered mail is a mail service offered by postal services in many countries, which allows the sender proof of mailing via a mailing receipt and, upon request, electronic verification that an article was delivered or that a delivery attempt was made. Depending on the country, additional services may also be available, such as: a chain of custody, where the posted item has its details recorded in a register to enable its location to be tracked, sometimes with added insurance to cover loss; return receipt, called an Avis de réception, which provides a postcard or electronic notification with the date of delivery and recipient signature; restricted delivery, which confirms that only a specified person, or authorized agent, will receive the specific mail.The name of this service varies from country to country, and postal services in some countries offer more than one level of service under different names (e.g., "certified mail" and "registered mail" in the U.S.). See the country-specific information below for details.

  • Express mail in the United States

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    1944 13¢ Special Delivery stamp The United States Postal Service (USPS) provides Priority Mail Express for domestic U.S. delivery, and offers two international Express Mail services, although only one of them is part of the EMS standard. One is called Priority Mail Express International and the other service is called Global Express Guaranteed (GXG). The latter having no relation whatsoever to "EMS" International service as provided by the EMS Cooperative. The USPS Global Express Guaranteed (GXG), by which USPS offices act as drop locations for international packages which are then handled by FedEx international delivery network. In some countries, import rules for packages received by courier services have different tax brackets and duties than parcels received on the postal system, and thus EMS service (Express Mail International) is preferred over FedEx's co-branded Global Express Guaranteed. The term Priority Mail Express International is often confused with their domestic service called Priority Mail Express, which is a specific classification of mail for domestic accelerated postal delivery within the U.S.

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