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“Join or Die” cartoon (1754)
This political cartoon was the first to appear in any newspaper in the colonies. It ran in Benjamin Franklin‘s newspaper, the Philadelphia Gazette, on May 9, 1754. Based on the superstitious notion of the time that a snake cut in two would come to life if the pieces were joined, the cartoon urged the colonies to unite. Franklin would go on to write the Albany Plan of the Union with Thomas Hutchinson in 1754, the first formal proposal for a permanent union of the thirteen colonies. The Albany Congress adopted Franklin’s plan, but the colonial assemblies rejected it.