On May 9, 1754, “Join, or Die,” considered to be the first American political cartoon, was printed in The Pennsylvania Gazette. The impetus for the cartoon, which is thought to have been devised by Benjamin Franklin, was concern about increasing French pressure along the western frontier of the colonies.
To find out more information about how the colonies eventually united with the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, see the online exhibition Declaring Independence, Drafting the Documents.
- The collection, Documents from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789, includes a timeline, beginning in 1764, of events leading up to the Revolution.
- Search Today in History on revolution to find more material. See also the feature on the nation’s first daily newspaper.
- Search on Benjamin Franklin in the Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606 to 1827 or in the George Washington Papers to find correspondence between Franklin, Jefferson, and Washington.
- For images of Benjamin Franklin and other Revolutionary War leaders, search on their names in Photos, Prints, Drawings on loc.gov.
- Learn more about Benjamin Franklin’s work and life. See the online exhibition Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words, which includes a chronology of his life and a bibliography. For even more links to resources see Finding Franklin: A Resource Guide.
- The collection of Benjamin Franklin Papers highlights Franklin’s diplomatic roles as well as his diverse interests as a scientist, inventor, and observer of the natural world.
- View selected images from Cartoon Drawings: Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon, which contains 2,085 drawings, prints, and paintings related to the art of caricature, cartoon, and illustration. Read more about cartoon-related research at the Library of Congress.