Join, or Die

Join, or Die Visual Arts American History American Revolution Law and Politics Social Studies

Benjamin Franklin created this famous political cartoon. He first published it in his Pennsylvania Gazette on the 9th of May, 1754. It is the earliest-known work, by a colonial American, which advocates union of the colonies.

The woodcut depicts a snake, divided into eighths, each bearing the initials of a colony or region. In addition to the cartoon, Franklin wrote an editorial about the "disunited state" of the British colonies.

The image is related to a superstition that if a snake were cut into pieces, it would become alive again if those pieces were rejoined before sunset.

Media Credits

Image, U.S. National Archives.


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"Join, or Die" Oct 07, 2013. Oct 04, 2015.
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