Join, or Die

Join, or Die

Benjamin Franklin published this now-famous cartoon to make a political point. Released in his Pennsylvania Gazette—on the 9th of May, 1754—it is the earliest-known cartoon, used by a colonial American, to advocate union of Britain's American colonies.

The woodcut depicts a snake, divided into eighths, each bearing the initials of a colony or region. In addition to the cartoon, Franklin published 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. Original woodcut created by an unknown artist.


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"Join, or Die" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jul 20, 2018.
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