Who Drew The First American Political Cartoon?
- Dave Jackson
Father Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States of America, is considered to have been one of its early practitioners. In 1754, he produced a cartoon entitled “Join or Die,” which depicted a serpent that had been cut into parts to represent the American colonies.
Who published the first political cartoon?
On this day in 1754, Benjamin Franklin released the Join or Die woodcut, which would go on to become one of the most well-known cartoons in history. The artwork created by Franklin was accorded the status of an early political communications masterpiece despite its very minor significance at the time.
- Benjamin Franklin served as the publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette during this time period.
- In addition to this, he had been selected as a participant for a meeting that would soon take place in Albany, New York, to discuss how the British government might respond to the combined danger posed by French and Indian soldiers.
In what would later be known as the Albany Congress, delegates from seven different colonies, including Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, were scheduled to convene in order to discuss the threat posed by the French and work on a treaty with the Iroquois Confederacy.
- As the Albany Congress drew near, Benjamin Franklin was understandably anxious about a recent military defeat at the hands of the French, and it was evident that he was considering forming a colonial alliance to combat further French aggression.
- A few days after the minor military setback, Benjamin Franklin published an essay on the defeat.
The account was given by George Washington, who was serving as a young major in the Virginia Regiment. Franklin wrote in his letter that “The Confidence of the French in this Undertaking seems well-grounded on the present disunited State of the British Colonies, and the extreme Difficulty of bringing so many different Governments and Assemblies to agree in any swift and effectual Measures for our common Defense and Security.” Franklin was referring to the fact that it was extremely difficult to get so many different governments and assemblies to come to an agreement on any swift and effectual measures.
“They presume that they may with Impunity violate the most solemn Treaties subsisting between the two Crowns, kill, seize and imprison our Traders, and confiscate their Effects at Pleasure (as they have done for several Years past), murder and scalp our Farmers, with their Wives and Children, and take an easy Possession of such Parts of the British Territory as they find most convenient for them,” Franklin concluded, warning that the British presence in North America was dangerous.
Franklin believed that Along with the story came a cartoon titled “JOIN, OR DIE,” which depicted a serpent that had been chopped into eight sections, each of which represented a different British colony. The significance of Franklin’s message became clear as the cartoon and article spread among the various colony newspapers.
- Karen Severud Cook did a survey of the brief but intriguing historical interpretations of the cartoon in an essay that was published in The British Library Journal in 1996.
- According to Cook, Benjamin Franklin’s cartoon was also a symbolic map.
- The initials that were placed next to the segments of the serpent were arranged in the same order as the colonies, and there was a crude approximation of a shoreline.
Due to the fact that Franklin was so occupied with his political career, it is highly unlikely that he personally engraved the etching. In addition, Franklin’s political cartoon “Join or Die” was not the first cartoon of its kind that he had ever published; in 1747, he had created another picture for a pamphlet.
The words “se rejoindre ou mourir” were printed next to a picture of a severed snake that appeared for the first time in a book published in France in the year 1685. (will join or die). And it’s possible that the rattlesnake illustrations that nature historian Mark Catesby created influenced Benjamin Franklin as well.
As the Albany Congress drew closer, the image that became symbolic garnered a significant amount of attention. At the months of June and July, the Congress convened, and during one of those meetings, Benjamin Franklin made an early proposal for an united colonial government.
- A Grand Council of delegates would be nominated by each of the colonies, and a President General would be appointed by the crown.
- The extent of Franklin’s administration was restricted, as it was only able to charge taxes and provide for unified military defense.
- The idea was authorized by Congress, but the British government and the colonies never followed through on putting it into action.
In following years, the cartoon “Join or Die” made an appearance on several significant events. During the conflict over the Stamp Act, the insignia resurfaced once again in colonial publications. During the time of the American Revolutionary War, several cartoon iterations of the snake appeared in newspapers, sometimes even as an integral component of the masthead.
What was the name of the first political cartoon?
For further information, see:
- “Join, or die: America’s press during the French and Indian War.” Copeland, David. “Join, or die.” Online version of Journalism History volume 24 issue 3 pages 112–23.
- “Benjamin Franklin’s graphic depictions of the British colonies in America: A study in rhetorical iconology.” Written by Lester C. Olson.18–42. Quarterly Journal of Speech, Volume 73, Number 1 (1987).
|hide v t e Benjamin Franklin|
|President of Pennsylvania (1785–1788) Ambassador to France (1779–1785) Second Continental Congress (1775–1776)|
|Founding of the United States||Join, or Die. (1754 political cartoon) Albany Plan of Union Albany Congress Hutchinson Letters Affair Committee of Secret Correspondence Committee of Five Declaration of Independence Model Treaty Franco-American alliance Treaty of Amity and Commerce Treaty of Alliance Staten Island Peace Conference 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution Libertas Americana Treaty of Paris, 1783 Delegate, 1787 Constitutional Convention Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly Postmaster General Founding Fathers|
|Inventions, other events||Franklin’s electrostatic machine Bifocals Franklin stove Glass armonica Gulf Stream exploration, naming, and chart Lightning rod Kite experiment Pay it forward Associators 111th Infantry Regiment Junto club American Philosophical Society Library Company of Philadelphia Pennsylvania Hospital Academy and College of Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Contributionship Union Fire Company Early American currency Continental Currency dollar coin Fugio cent United States Postal Service Street lighting President, Pennsylvania Abolition Society Master, Les Neuf Sœurs Gravesite|
|Writings||The Papers of Benjamin Franklin Founders Online Silence Dogood letters (1722) A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725) The Busy-Body columns (1729) The Pennsylvania Gazette (1729–1790) Early American publishers and printers Poor Richard’s Almanack (1732–1758) The Drinker’s Dictionary (1737) “Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress” (1745) “The Speech of Polly Baker” (1747) Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc. (1751) Experiments and Observations on Electricity (1751) Birch letters (1755) The Way to Wealth (1758) Pennsylvania Chronicle (1767) Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One (1773) Proposed alliance with the Iroquois (1775) A Letter to a Royal Academy (1781) Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America (1784) “The Morals of Chess” (1786) An Address to the Public (1789) A Plan for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks (1789) The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1771–1790, pub.1791) Bagatelles and Satires (pub.1845) Franklin as a journalist Franklin’s phonetic alphabet|
|Legacy||Franklin Court Benjamin Franklin House Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology Benjamin Franklin Parkway Benjamin Franklin National Memorial Franklin Institute awards medal Benjamin Franklin Medal Royal Society of Arts medal Depicted in The Apotheosis of Washington Treaty of Paris (1783 painting) Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky (1816 painting) Revolutionary War Door Boston statue Columbus, Ohio, statue Philadelphia statue Portland, Oregon, statue San Francisco statue Stanford University statue Washington D.C. statue Jefferson Memorial pediment In popular culture Ben and Me (1953 short) Ben Franklin in Paris (1964 musical play) 1776 (1969 musical 1972 film ) Benjamin Franklin (1974 miniseries) A More Perfect Union (1989 film) Liberty! (1997 documentary series) Liberty’s Kids (2002 animated series) Benjamin Franklin (2002 documentary series) John Adams (2008 miniseries) Sons of Liberty (2015 miniseries) Benjamin Franklin (2022 documentary) Refunding Certificate Franklin half dollar One-hundred-dollar bill Franklin silver dollar Washington–Franklin stamps other stamps Cities, counties, schools named for Franklin Franklin College, Yale University Franklin Field Mount Franklin State of Franklin Sons of Ben (Philadelphia Union) Ships named USS Franklin Ben Franklin effect|
|Related||Age of Enlightenment American Enlightenment The New-England Courant The American Museum magazine American Revolution patriots Syng inkstand|
|Family||Deborah Read (wife) William Franklin (son) Francis Franklin (son) Sarah Franklin Bache (daughter) William Franklin (grandson) Benjamin F. Bache (grandson) Louis F. Bache (grandson) Richard Bache Jr. (grandson) Andrew Harwood (great-grandson) Alexander Bache (great-grandson) Josiah Franklin (father) James Franklin (brother) Jane Mecom (sister) Mary Morrell Folger (grandmother) Peter Folger (grandfather) Richard Bache (son-in-law) Ann Smith Franklin (sister-in-law)|
Who is the father of political cartooning?
External connections –
- Website that is official.
- The Thomas Nast collection at the Princeton University Library includes around 600 of Nast’s original drawings as well as published wood engravings.
- The Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.
- Thomas Nast-related project for the National History Day competition
- Harper’s Weekly’s coverage of elections from 1860 through 1912, including news, editorials, and cartoons (many by Nast)
Cartoons with a bad attitude produced by Ohio State University
- Additional contributions by Thomas Nast
- Cartoons with a nasty focus on the Chinese Exclusion Act. “Providing Evidence of the Chinese Exclusion”
- Pictures from the Civil War taken by Thomas Nast
- Caricatures by Thomas Nast depicting many topics and events, such as the American Civil War, Reconstruction, Santa Claus, Napoleon, Catholicism, Boss Tweed, and Tammany Hall.
- Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, published in 1900, has an entry titled “Nast, Thomas.”
- Beach, Chandler B. , ed (1914). “That’s Rude of You, Thomas” The New Student’s Reference Work is the book in question. The F.E. Compton & Company of Chicago
- The Thomas Nast Collection, which is housed in the Morristown and Morris Township Public Library in New Jersey
- The portrait of Thomas Nast by History Buff.
- The World Digital Library hosts the painting “Emancipation” by Thomas Nast, which was created in 1865.
- A cartoonist’s campaign against a political boss, as presented on the blog of the Museum of the City of New York Collections, is “Thomas Nast knocks down Tammany.”
- Thomas Nast’s cartoons are included in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University.
- Available on Project Gutenberg are the works of Thomas Nast.
- There are works in the Internet Archive written by Thomas Nast or concerning him.