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Post Offices of Europe 18th – 21st Century

A Comparative History


Edited By Muriel Le Roux and Sébastien Richez

The cursus publicus, established by the Roman Empire to connect all its conquered territories, may be considered to be the ancestor of all modern post offices. Therefore, mail service networks are part of an organization, dating from Antiquity, which is common to the entire European community.
From the 18 th century onwards, the French mail service network may be divided into three successive phases. First, the consolidation of the transportation system that was being set up. Second, the development of the system’s ability to deal with increasing traffic (through broader human resources). Thirdly, the diversification of its operations and the development of its technical modernisation.
What was the situation in other European countries? Are there similarities and differences in how their networks were set up and organized? Finally, how did European Post Offices cooperate with each other in spite of their differences?
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The Basic Premise of a Universal Postage Tax.The 1892 Project: Iwona Wierzchowiecka



At the beginning of the Second Empire, commercial treaties that clearly supported free trade tried to eliminate the obstacles and hindrances to international operations. In the final years of the 19th century, economic life witnessed a period of prodigious growth as the product of the ever-expanding power of capitalism; overall production increased and means of communication were expanded. Without a doubt, this economic evolution dominated the social and political domestic life as well as the foreign policy of nation-states. In order to satisfy national interests in the international arena, these countries created diplomatic and consular services that were responsible for defending national interests and working with local authorities to accommodate the interests of their respective countries with the host country.

Technical developments accelerated the process of transformation at an astonishing pace during the second half of the 19th century. The need for expedient communication and the exchange of ideas and especially products from one country to another became more and more apparent. Confronted by these social and economic phenomena, each nation sought to protect the interests of its own nationals in this incipient global competition. They succeeded in regulating their relations by coordinating national activities and creating international business organizations. These organizations were expected to consolidate the activity of different national services in order to ensure cooperation between nation states. And so the concept of international administrative organization was born.1 ← 443 | 444 →

Among the most interesting and significant of these international projects...

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