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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

"Join, or Die"

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Benjamin Franklin, "JOIN OR DIE" [WOODCUT] (1754). Courtesy the Library of Congress.

Creator Benjamin Franklin
Context The colonies were becoming more powerful and more aware of their relationships with each other-though more slowly than Franklin hoped for.
Audience Residents of the colonies
Purpose To prompt the colonists to think of what they had in common

Historical Significance

Political changes accompanied social and economic developments in the thirteen colonies. Colonists desired political autonomy as they grew larger and more prosperous. Through the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, colonial governments interacted with England much more frequently than with each other. The Albany Congress of 1754 presented an opportunity to change that, as 23 delegates from seven colonies met to discuss dealing with Indian nations on the eve of the French and Indian War. Benjamin Franklin, a learned delegate from Pennsylvania, tried to persuade the congress that it should create a continental government, complete with an executive and a Grand Council, which would deal with Indian affairs and defense. But Franklin's proposal excited little interest on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Franklin published this cartoon in his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette.

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