The United States Postal Service (USPS), (also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service), is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. The U.S. Mail traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. The Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklins operation, elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, and transformed in 1971 into the U.S. Postal Service as an agency of the U.S. government. The USPS as of February 2015 has 617,254 active employees and operated 211,264 vehicles in 2014. The USPS is the operator of the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world. The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has exclusive access to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail" and personal letterboxes in the United States, but still competes against private package delivery services, such as the United Parcel Service (UPS) and has part use with FedEx Express.