01 June 2009
An American Serpent
For my American Garden of Eden and apple tree, I chose a uniquely American serpent, a famous political cartoon created and published by Benjamin Franklin in 1754. Join, or Die is a woodcut showing a snake severed into eighths, with each segment labeled with the initial of a British American colony or region. During Franklin's time, there was a superstition that a snake which had been cut into pieces would come back to life if the pieces were put together before sunset, so the cartoon helped make his point about the importance of colonial unity. The pieces were labeled with the names of the colonies, although New England was represented as one colony, rather than the four colonies it was at that time. I kept the New England label on my serpent, since this series explores the early settling of New England.