Join, or Die

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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.

Credits

Image, U.S. National Archives.

 

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