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Members Only Join or Die T-Shirt

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On May 9th, 1754, Benjamin Franklin drew the famous image of a separated snake on a woodcut background with the words Join or Die. Each segment of the snake represented a key colony at the time. Published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, it soon became a symbol of the colonies’ need to unite against the French.

In 1765, with the passage of the British Stamp Act, the Join or Die snake image grew in importance and was viewed as a symbol of colonial unity against the oppression of British Rule. In some states, the image was printed in the paper every single day.

Once the war began, the Join or Die image, in many variants, became a common standard for colonial militia.