JOIN, or DIE. is a political cartoon attributed to Benjamin Franklin. The original publication by the Gazette on May 9, 1754, is the earliest known pictorial representation of colonial union produced by a British colonist in America. It is a woodcut showing a snake cut into eighths, with each segment labeled with the initials of one of the American colonies or regions. New England was represented as one segment, rather than the four colonies it was at that time. Delaware was not listed separately as it was part of Pennsylvania. Georgia, however, was omitted completely. Thus, it has eight segments of a snake rather than the traditional 13 colonies. The two northernmost British American colonies at the time, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, were not represented, nor were any British Caribbean possessions. The cartoon appeared along with Franklin’s editorial about the “disunited state” of the colonies, and helped make his point about the importance of colonial unity. It became a symbol of colonial freedom during the American Revolutionary War.
JOIN OR DIE
Published by CJEH Trust
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