JOIN or DIE
Many fans of the “JOIN or DIE” image might be surprised that its origin was not exactly centered around revolutionary times in the late 1700’s. In fact, this this memorable cartoon was created by Benjamin Franklin in 1754. That’s right, the “JOIN or DIE”words under a cut snake was one of the earliest political cartoons to reach the public via Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette, well ahead of more turbulent times to come in the colonies.
Mr. Franklin created this picture to underscore the need for the British colonies to work together after a recent British military loss to the French.The French threat required unity among the colonies in order to provide colonial security and counter the opposing empire. Franklin dreaded the fragmented nature of the colonies at this time and knew that the emerging states would have more power if they united under a common banner.
Because the loss was grave and the situation facing the colonies quite dire, the public had zero problem understanding the imagery Franklin used. It is reported that during this time in early American history, there was a superstition that a snake cut into pieces would come back to life if the pieces were put together before sunset. Thus,the message was not a threat to the colonies but a warning that division would lead to their death and unity would save them.
Subsequent meetings by the colonial representatives at the Albany Congress that summer, motivated by his publication, constructed a unified colonial government plan. However, the British government nor the colonial governments themselves never acted on the plan.
Despite this setback in the colonies, the imagery lived on and gained popularity again during the revolutionary period 20 years later. Unity again was the only choice for the colonial people as they faced the threat of their own empire bearing down on them.
For patriots in the year 2020, the situation is no different –united we stand, divided we fall. Our “JOIN or DIE”patch allows you to spread this message of unity and remind your fellow citizens of the situation we face today using an unforgettable message.
- Hook backing
- JOIN or DIE T-Shirt