Why Is Free Postage Called The "Franking Privilege"?


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Nisha Fernandes answered
Free postage is sometimes referred to as franking privilege owing to the fact that back in the seventeenth century government officials were permitted to carry out official correspondence absolutely free of charge.

The origin of the term 'franking privilege' is quite fascinating. In 1660 in England the House of Commons demanded that letters sent to or addressed to members during sessions should be delivered free. This practice was the centre of much controversy and was finally abolished in 1840 when the uniform penny rate was introduced.

The franking privilege was first introduced in the United States of America only in 1776. It was given to all those soldiers who were engaged in the American War of independence. Slowly this right was bestowed upon all members of the public service even president's widows. Here too, however the right was restricted and today it only applies to certain high officials.

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