A Conversation for 'Join, or Die' - the Political Cartoon by Benjamin Franklin

snake discusion

Post 1


There were many diffrent snakes that appeared in various different places including flags. The symbology may go all the way back to the tribe of Dan as being "an adder by the way" from Genesis 49. However I favor a much less ancient typology. The snakes of America were the type that would jump and strike at someone or thing that got too near them.

Certainly the colonies could be symboloized by a snake since they were a narrow band of civilization between the ocean and the mountains. In many respects the unpleasantries in 1776 were merely a type of civil war much like there had been in Ireland and Scotland over sovereignty and representation.

snake discusion

Post 2

Mr. Legion

Benjamin Franklin, during his time in Paris at the American Embassy, worked as an agent for British Intelligence ("Agent No. 72") selling shipping details to the British which resulted in many American losses. This would seem to suggest that he had, at the very least, divided loyalties, and could go some way to explaining why he chose the snake, a negative image, as his symbol for the colonies.

snake discusion

Post 3


There were many who had divided loyalties. It was the Deists like Franklin that found it best to work both sides though. They had little to lose. In many respects the revolution was a "religious" war. Dissenters out numbered Anglicans in the colonies by three to one. While they represented only ten percent of those in England.

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snake discusion

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