Albany Plan of the Union (1754)
This was the first formal proposal for a permanent union of the thirteen colonies. As the threat of war with the French loomed, the royal governors called for a meeting to plan war strategies and prepare a plan of confederation among the colonies. This idea was not well received, although Benjamin Franklin‘s newspaper, the Philadelphia Gazette, ran a political cartoon urging “Join or Die.” Seven of the colonies sent delegates. At Albany, Franklin drafted a plan of confederation. It was similar to the decentralized system of government that would later emerge under the Articles of Confederation. There would be a union of the colonies under a single central government, although each colony would preserve its local independence.
The Albany Congress adopted Franklin’s plan, but the colonial assemblies rejected it because it encroached on their powers. The British government also disapproved, fearing it would be too great a stride towards independence.