|Lysander Spooner in his later, and more radical years. He turned to individual anarchism following the Civil War.|
Ironically, this is what Spooner expected the government would do. He was already known to be somewhat of an agitator, having campaigned against burdensome government in the past. Earlier in the 1830's he had somewhat successfully challenged the Massachusetts laws governing the process to become a lawyer, arguing it discriminated against the poor who wished to practice law. He actually operated as a lawyer outside this process in defiance of the law for several years. So when postal agents acted against his enterprise he took his crusade against monopoly through the court system. Then, as now, that process can be long and expensive. Spooner was able to successfully hold off the post office for seven years until he exhausted his financial resources and was forced to shut down the American Letter Mail Company in 1851. However, the venture a partial victory because in 1847, in reaction to his company, the post office released its first standardized stamp priced at 3 cents per half ounce. Because of the American Letter Mail Company, the price to send mail was drastically reduced. And although the monopoly he loathed remained for many years, the rates were never so high again. It was people like Spooner and his company that would later inspire the creation of private entities like Federal Express and UPS in an era when the post office was not so afraid of the competition.
|The design of the ALMC stamp|