As the Tea Party Protests of 2009 gathered steam, two symbols become synonymous with them. The first was, of course, tea bags. But the other symbol that became popular with the rise of the Tea Parties is the Don't Tread On Me Snake
. The snake has been a popular symbol in America's history, all the way back to the start of the American Revolution. It stands for the unity and ferocity of the American people. We will defend our rights, and we will stand up for what we believe in. Don't Tread On Me!
In 1754, Benjamin Franklin created the first incarnation of the famous snake that would eventually tell Britain, Don't Tread On Me! Franklin published the first known political cartoon in an American newspaper. The image was of a snake that had been cut into eight sections. Each section represented one of the American colonies. The message behind the cartoon was “Join, or Die”. This was originally a plea for unity amongst the colonies in defending them during the French and Indian War.
The same symbol came back into focus ten years later when America was uniting against the British Empire and the increase in taxes. The Don't Tread On Me snake
stood for the independence the colonists were seeking from England. Eventually, as America began to draw up arms, that famous snake first appeared with the words Don't Tread On Me on a flag given to the Navy
by Colonel Christopher Gadsden.
Today, the Gadsden flag is appreciated for it's rich history just as much as what it stands for regarding America's future. The don't tread on me snake appears on flags, clothing and bumper stickers all over the country, taking the message of our ancestors to people far and wide. Stand proud with your fellow protesters and let everyone know not to tread on you!