The classic Benjamin Franklin cartoon “Join Or Die” became a uniting symbol for early Americans. It's message from back then is still important today as the United States continue to go through trials and tribulations. You can find the Join Or Die logo on flags and clothing
throughout the country today, as Americans stand up for their rights and defend their freedom for future generations.
Ben Franklin first created the Join Or Die cartoon as a call to unite the colonies. It was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754. The cartoon depicted a rattlesnake divided into eight sections, with each segment labeled with the initial of a British American colony. Much like the snake couldn't survive if cut into parts, Franklin urged the colonists to unite with one voice against British rule.
Join Or Die did become a uniting symbol amongst colonists in the years leading up the the Revolutionary War. It first functioned as a symbol for the need for unity against the French during the French & Indian War. After that war, Patriots began to see it as a symbol for all that was good in each colony. They attributed things like vigilance and prudence with each section of the snake. Loyalists saw the cartoons as the exact opposite – they attributed all that they felt was wrong in the separatist movement.
Franklin's Join Or Die cartoon
went on to inspire several famous symbols of the Revolution, including the Gadsden Flag
and later the Culpeper Minutemen Flag
. Both sides used it (redrawn as appropriate) during the American Civil War as well. It has stood the test of time and continues to be reprinted today. Fly this flag as a symbol of your unity and use it to rally your troops during times of unrest. We are always stronger together than we are on our own!