April 30, 2007 12:35am CST
After the Civil War (U.S., 1861-1865), the Federal government set up offices in Washington DC to administer benefits to Union veterans. The veterans would go into the office and wait for hours while the clerks sorted through thousands and thousands of bundles of records in order to find the ones for the waiting applicant. The bundles were wrapped in... Red Tape. And that is how that particular phrase came into use.