Class Notes (839,113)
United States (325,789)
English (113)
E 270 (34)
Lecture

French and Indian War, rattlesnake, Don't Tread on Me, Sugar Act, Stamp Act, The Liberty Song, John Dickinson, Declaration of Independence, Phillis Wheatley

4 Pages
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Department
English
Course Code
E 270
Professor
Zachary Hutchins

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24 February 1754-63: French and Indian War North American front of Seven Years War (France vs. Britain for global influence) Political equivalent of Great Awakening Bringing colonies together Franklin – Albany Plan of Union Congress with chief magistrate Colonies → larger political entity Crown and colonies both think it will lessen their own power First political cartoon – Join or Die The Rattlesnake: A Symbol of National Unity Benjamin Franklin introduced the image and idea of the rattlesnake into American political discourse. In 1754, to promote his own Albany Plan of Union, and the need for all British colonists to oppose their French and Indian enemies with a united front, Franklin published a woodcut widely recognized as the first political cartoon published in America. In the cartoon Franklin depicts a rattlesnake divided into eight labeled segments – one each for N[ew]. E[ngland]., N[ew]. J[ersey]., P[ennsylvania]., M[aryland]., V[irginia]., N[orth]. C[arolina]., and S[outh]. C[arolina] – with the legend “Join, or Die” below, a rather ironic image since the rattlesnake was a serpent more closely indentified with the Native American enemies Franklin warned of than the English colonists he sought to unify. Over the next twenty years Franklin’s woodcut was adopted, adapted, and widely reprinted by newspapers from South Carolina to Massachusetts, and by the time of the Revolution the original, segmented serpent had largely been replaced by a single, whole snake with thirteen rattles to symbolize the effectual and edenic “union of the colonies” in the United States. The warning “Don’t Tread on Me” typically accompanied this representation of national unity, and during the war for independence the rattlesnake became an official symbol of the United States military. Marc Leepson notes that Charles Gadsden mounted the snake and motto on a field of yellow silk and gave it to Esek Hopkins, commodore of “the first Continental Navy fleet, in December 1775.” The Gadsden flag, as it became known, was apparently the banner raised by John Paul Jones when he “hoisted the flag of America, with his own hands, the first time it was ever displayed,” and Gadsden later presented a second flag to the Continental Congress, which hung the standard “in the southwest corner of that room, at the left hand of the President’s chair.” A 1775 flag employed at Bunker Hill displayed the snake on a crimson field with a Union Jack in the canton, the Culpeper Minutemen standard featured a black rattlesnake on a white field, and other banners depicted the rattlesnake stretched from the bottom right to the top left corner against a field of red and white, or sometimes red and blue, stripes. A rattlesnake even graced the official 1778 seal of the War Department. By the end of the Revolutionary War, the rattlesnake may have been the single most widely recognized symbol of colonial unity and the new, paradisiacal nation. Sugar Act
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