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Franking Privilege: Historical Development
by Congressional Analyst
- Origins of the Franking Privilege: British Colonial Period
- 1660: British House of Commons instituted free mail to many colonial officials.
- Pre-1789 Period:
- In 1775 the First Continental Congress passed legislation giving Members mailing privileges so they could communicate with their constituents, as well as giving free mailing privileges to soldiers;
- In 1782, under the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress granted its members, the heads of various departments, and military officers the right to send and receive letters, packets, and dispatches under the free frank.