JOIN, or DIE. is a political cartoon, attributed to Benjamin Franklin and first published in his Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754. The original publication by the Gazette 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.
During the French and Indian War, the image 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.
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.
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