The aspects of Henkin’s argument that I found particularly intriguing had to do with Americans using the Post Office in the Nineteenth Century for pecuniary purposes. Specifically, Henkin wrote, “ For most Americans, and certainly for the Post Office Department, the enclosure that attracted the most interest was money. In an era before personal checking accounts and before money orders (which were introduced by the Post Office in 1864), Americans relied on the mails to conduct financial transactions.” I found this passage and the few paragraphs that followed particularly interesting because it gave insight into a function of the Post Office that was unfamiliar to me. I never thought of the need to complete financial transactions and how inconvenient it must have been because in today’s society it is extremely convenient. Thus, finding out that by 1855 one hundred million dollars in cash was being passed through the mail each year was fascinating. This fact provides a concrete example of just how much people trusted the Post Office in the nineteenth century; however this trust did not come easily. Merchants, the primary conductors of financial transactions through the Post Office, started off by sending drafts, checks and other forms of money but as the process continued to be smooth for the merchants, they began using money itself in their transactions. The trust in the Postal Service was a main reason for the huge usage of this institution Nineteenth-Century America. It is very interesting that so much money was being circulated throughout the Post Office and there was such a high success rate in these transactions. Nowadays, with various forms of technology to send money to other people, the use of the Postal Service for this reason is very limited; however, in the nineteenth century, this was the most secure and quickest way to complete a financial transaction, so merchants relied on it to conduct their business in a timely fashion. This brings up another point about the Post Office, the fact that merchants were primary patrons of this service. The accessibility of the Post Office was integral to the merchants and their need to conduct business in places far from their shops. The Post Office, hence, was important for merchants in Nineteenth-Century America, as its functions served as a great pathway for merchants to conduct their business. The last point of interest from this passage was the transition from counting every dollar bill as a separate sheet of paper, which made it very costly to send money through the Post Office, to not treating it that way. This was a major cause of the influx of patrons using the Post Office to send pecuniary transactions. This passage made me think more about communications in America at this time and just how efficient it was becoming in the nineteenth century. With the efficiency of communication in America rising at a rampant rate, were people far from each other geographically getting the same news? Also I am wondering how much money was lost/stolen from patrons of the Postal Service who used it to complete financial transactions, and if said people, were able to sue the Post Office for their lost/stolen money? Communication was so crucial to America at this time, so was the Post Office the major pathway for communication to travel? These questions, I can imagine, will be answered by the end of the semester, as we will complete our study of this topic, but they were provoked in my mind by reading this fascinating argument in Henkin’s book.
 David Henkin, The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America (The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2006), 52.