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JOIN, or DIE. is a political cartoon, attributed to Benjamin Franklin and first published in his Pennsylvania Gazette
Pennsylvania Gazette
on May 9, 1754.[1] The original publication by the Gazette is the earliest known pictorial representation of colonial union produced by a British colonist in America.[2] 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
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.[3] 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.

Contents

1 Role during the Seven Years' War 2 Role prior to and during the American Revolution 3 Legacy of the cartoon 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading

Role during the Seven Years' War[edit] Further information: Great Britain in the Seven Years War Also known as the French and Indian War, the seven years were a war (and choice) for the colonies against Britain, France, and their native allies. They wanted to fight for the land west of the Appalachian Mountains. At that time, the colonists were divided on whether to fight the French and their Native-American allies for control of the land west of the Appalachian Mountains. It became a symbol for the need of organized action against an outside threat posed by the French and Native-Americans in the mid 18th century. Writer Philip Davidson states that Franklin was a propagandist influential in seeing the potential in political cartoons.[4] Franklin had proposed the Albany Plan
Albany Plan
and his cartoon suggested that such a union was necessary to avoid destruction. As Franklin wrote:

The Confidence of the French in this Undertaking seems well-grounded on the present disunited State of the British Colonies, and the extreme Difficulty of bringing so many different Governments and Assemblies to agree in any speedy and effectual Measures for our common defense and Security; while our Enemies have the very great Advantage of being under one. Direction, with one Council, and one Purse....[5]

Role prior to and during the American Revolution[edit]

Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Spy, July 7, 1774

Franklin's political cartoon took on a different meaning during the lead up to the American Revolution, especially around 1765-1766, during the Stamp Act Congress. British colonists in America protesting British rule used the cartoon in the Constitutional Courant to help persuade the colonists. However, the Patriots, who associated the image with eternity, vigilance, and prudence, were not the only ones who saw a new interpretation of the cartoon. The Loyalists saw the cartoon with more biblical traditions, such as those of guile, deceit, and treachery. Franklin himself opposed the use of his cartoon at this time, but instead advocated a moderate political policy; in 1766, he published a new cartoon MAGNA Britannia: her Colonies REDUCED,[6] where he warned against the danger of Britain losing her American colonies by means of the image of a female figure (Britannia) with her limbs cut off. Because of Franklin's initial cartoon, however, the Courant was thought of in England as one of the most radical publications.[4] The difference between the use of Join or Die in 1754 and 1765 is that Franklin had designed it to unite the colonies for 'management of Indian relations' and defense against France, but in 1765 American colonists used it to urge colonial unity against the British. Also during this time the phrase "join, or die" changed to "unite, or die," in some states such as New York and Pennsylvania. Soon after the publication of the cartoon during the Stamp Act Congress, variations were printed in New York, Massachusetts, and a couple of months later it had spread to Virginia
Virginia
and South Carolina. In some states, such as New York and Pennsylvania, the cartoon continued to be published week after week for over a year.[4] On July 7, 1774 Paul Revere
Paul Revere
altered the cartoon to fit the masthead of the Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Spy.[7] Legacy of the cartoon[edit] The cartoon has been reprinted and redrawn widely throughout American history. Variants of the cartoon have different texts, e.g. "Unite or Dead", and differently labeled segments, depending on the political bodies being appealed to. During the American Revolutionary War, the image became a potent symbol of Colonial unity and resistance to what was seen as British oppression. It returned to service, suitably redrawn, for both sides of the American Civil War.[8]

The Latin translation of Join, or Die
Join, or Die
(Jungite aut Perite) is used as the official motto of the Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia Union
soccer team. A snake is also featured in their logo as an allusion to this cartoon.[9] A flag featuring this cartoon was prominently displayed in the opening credits of the TV miniseries John Adams and was the title for the first part of the miniseries. The Late Late Show former host Craig Ferguson
Craig Ferguson
has this cartoon tattooed on the inside of his right forearm reaching his wrist, to commemorate becoming an American Citizen.[10][11] Ferguson also named his comedy-talk show on the History Channel, Join or Die with Craig Ferguson, after the cartoon. The show began airing in February 2016.[12] An image of the Join, or Die
Join, or Die
snake was delivered as a threat to a victim in the NCIS episode "Dead Air". It was used as a symbol for a Military At Home terrorist group.[13] "Join Or Die" is the name given to the special edition of the video game Assassin's Creed III, it being set during the American Revolutionary War. The cartoon is on a T-shirt worn by Justin Walker (Dave Annable) in episode 4 of season 4 ("From France
France
with Love", 2009) of the American television series Brothers & Sisters. In the TNT show Falling Skies, when Pope and his gang of outlaws are cornered at gunpoint by Tom Mason, Pope asks Mason for options, to which Mason replies "Join, or Die!". Part of Mason's backstory included him being a Boston University
Boston University
history professor who taught the American Revolution
American Revolution
as part of his curriculum. On the Fox show Sleepy Hollow in the episode "Magnum Opus" in Season 2 Episode 10, the original Join or Die cartoon is shown and described as being drawn by Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
to secretly indicate an actual river. Looking at actual map, the place where the mouth of the snake is located is where the main characters find an enchanted sword. A Poster with the Join or Die cartoon on it appears inside the "Red Rocket Station" and in the cellar of the "Gorsky Cabin" in Fallout 4. Kinda Funny cofounder Colin Moriarty has the "JOIN, or DIE." text tattoed on his left forearm.

See also[edit]

United States portal Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
portal Philadelphia portal

Live Free or Die Gadsden Flag

References[edit]

^ "Join, or Die". Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Gazette. Philadelphia. May 9, 1754. p. 2. Retrieved January 19, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  ^ Margolin, Victor. "Rebellion, Reform, and Revolution: American Graphic Design for Social Change". Design Issues Vol. 5, No. 1, 1988 ^ "Join or Die Snake
Snake
Historical Flag". Flags Unlimited. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2011.  ^ a b c Olson, Lester C. Benjamin Franklin's George Washington Vision of American Community. University of South Carolina
South Carolina
Press, Columbia, 2004 ^ "The Writings of Benjamin Franklin: Philadelphia, 1726 - 1757". historycarper.com. Archived from the original on May 12, 2006. Retrieved May 1, 2006.  ^ "Political cartoon: MAGNA Britannia : her Colonies REDUC'D". Library Company of Philadelphia. Retrieved April 29, 2007.  ^ "A More Perfect Union: Symbolizing the National Union of States". Library of Congress. Retrieved November 3, 2010.  ^ "'Join, or Die' - the Political Cartoon by Benjamin Franklin". BBC. 2003. Retrieved December 13, 2006.  ^ "Philadelphia Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer
Team Reveals Identity to the World". Major League Soccer. May 11, 2009. Retrieved November 3, 2010. [permanent dead link] ^ "22 September 2009". The View. September 22, 2009. ABC. Retrieved November 3, 2010.  ^ "The Rallying Cry of the Robot Skeleton Army". Plixi. February 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2010.  ^ "History Channel Shows".  ^ "NCIS Recap: Dead Air". CBS. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

Copeland, David. "'Join, or die': America's press during the French and Indian War." Journalism History (1998) 24#3 pp: 112-23 online Olson, Lester C. "Benjamin Franklin's pictorial representations of the British colonies in America: A study in rhetorical iconology." Quarterly Journal of Speech 73.1 (1987): 18-42.

v t e

Benjamin Franklin

January 6, 1706 – April 17, 1790 President of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
(1785–1788), Ambassador to France (1779–1785) Second Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
(1775–1776)

Founding of the United States

Join, or Die
Join, or Die
(1754 political cartoon) Albany Plan
Albany Plan
of Union

Albany Congress

Hutchinson Letters Affair Committee of Secret Correspondence Committee of Five Declaration of Independence Model Treaty

Franco-American alliance Treaty of Amity and Commerce Treaty of Alliance

Staten Island Peace Conference Treaty of Paris, 1783 Delegate, 1787 Constitutional Convention Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Provincial Assembly Postmaster General Founding Fathers

Inventions, other events

Franklin's electrostatic machine Bifocals Franklin stove Glass armonica Gulf Stream exploration, naming, and chart Lightning rod Kite experiment Pay it forward Associators

111th Infantry Regiment

Junto club American Philosophical Society Library Company of Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Hospital Academy and College of Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Contributionship Union Fire Company Early American currency Fugio Cent United States Postal Service President, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Abolition Society Master, Les Neuf Sœurs Other social contributions and studies Gravesite

Writings

Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood
letters (1722) A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725) The Busy-Body
The Busy-Body
letters (1729) Pennsylvania Gazette
Pennsylvania Gazette
(1729–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack
Poor Richard's Almanack
(1732–1758) The Drinker's Dictionary (1737) "Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress" (1745) "The Speech of Polly Baker" (1747) Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc. (1751) Experiments and Observations on Electricity
Experiments and Observations on Electricity
(1751) Birch letters (1755) The Way to Wealth
The Way to Wealth
(1758) Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Chronicle (1767) Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One (1773) Proposed alliance with the Iroquois (1775) A Letter To A Royal Academy (1781) Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America (1784) The Morals of Chess (1786) An Address to the Public (1789) A Plan for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks (1789) The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
(1771–90, pub. 1791) Bagatelles and Satires
Bagatelles and Satires
(pub. 1845) Franklin as a journalist

Legacy

Franklin Court Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
House Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Institute of Technology Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
National Memorial Franklin Institute Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Medal Depicted in The Apotheosis of Washington Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
statue, Washington D.C. In popular culture

Ben and Me (1953 short) Ben Franklin in Paris
Ben Franklin in Paris
(1964 musical play) 1776 (1969 musical 1972 film) Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
(1974 miniseries) Liberty! (1997 documentary series) Liberty's Kids
Liberty's Kids
(2002 animated series) Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
(2002 documentary series) John Adams (2008 miniseries) Sons of Liberty (2015 miniseries) Sons of Ben (supporters group for the Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia Union
soccer club

Refunding Certificate Franklin half dollar One-hundred dollar bill Washington-Franklin stamps

other stamps

Cities, counties, schools named for Franklin Franklin Field State of Franklin Ships named USS Franklin Ben Franklin effect

Related

Age of Enlightenment American Enlightenment The New-England Courant The American Museum magazine American Revolution

patriots

Syng inkstand

Family

Deborah Read
Deborah Read
(wife) Sarah Franklin Bache
Sarah Franklin Bache
(daughter) Francis Franklin (son) William Franklin
William Franklin
(son) Richard Bache Jr. (grandson) Benjamin F. Bache (grandson) Louis F. Bache (grandson) William Franklin
William Franklin
(grandson) Andrew Harwood (great-grandson) Alexander Bache (great-grandson) Josiah Franklin (father) Jane Mecom (sister) James Franklin (brother) Mary Morrell Folger (grandmother) Peter Folger (grandfather) Richard Bache
Richard Bache
(son-in-law) Ann Smith Franklin (si

.