Benjamin Franklin Join or Die

On this day in 1754, the first American newspaper political cartoon was published in the Benjamin Franklin owned Pennsylvania Gazette. The illustration showed a snake cut into sections, each representing an American colony with the caption, “JOIN, or DIE.”

Benjamin Franklin Join or Die

Franklin originally designed the cartoon and text to unite the colonies against the French in the French and Indian War.

In 1765, American colonists began to use it to unite the colonies against the British.

What meaning would you ascribe to it today?

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, an 81 year old Benjamin Franklin united the Founders behind prayer, with this quote that inspired Our shirt below:

“I have lived a long time, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

Benjamin Franklin "See... God governs" t-shirt

1 reply
  1. Ryan W. Strause
    Ryan W. Strause says:

    Each section of the snake represented a colony or GROUP OF COLONIES. NE represented the colonies that had united in New England and was important to show the value of cooperation

    Reply

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