UNITE Long Sleeve Bone
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Inspired by Benjamin Franklin and his 1754 publishing of the "JOIN, OR DIE" editorial and political cartoon.
Benjamin Franklin owned and ran the Pennsylvania Gazette, a Philadelphia-based newspaper that featured the cartoon. He also had been chosen as a delegate for an upcoming conference in Albany, New York, to deal with a combined threat to the British colonist from French forces. Franklin was concerned about a recent military loss to the French and he was clearly pondering a colonial alliance to confront more French aggression
Accompanying the article was the “JOIN, OR DIE” cartoon, with a snake cut into eight pieces that symbolized the British colonies. Franklin’s message hit home as the cartoon and article started appearing in other colonial newspapers.
The cartoon depicts the early American colonies as a snake divided into eight segments. Toward the head of the snake, “NE” represents New England, followed by “NY” (New York), “NJ” (New Jersey), “P” (Pennsylvania), “M” (Maryland), “V” (Virginia), “NC” (North Carolina) and “SC” (South Carolina). Even though there were four “New England” colonies, Franklin lumped them into one category to stress the need for colonial unity.
The snake has powerful, superstitious connotations. During Franklin’s era, there was myth that a severed snake would come back to life if the pieces were put together before sunset. The cartoon, which appeared alongside Franklin’s editorial about the “disunited state” of the colonies, symbolically portrays an either/or fallacy: unite or be attacked by the French.
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