Benjamin Franklins Propaganda Essay

1523 words - 6 pages

Gregg-4Benjamin Franklin's PropagandaThroughout early American history, political figures used political cartoons in an attempt to persuade the American opinion toward aggressor nations. Benjamin Franklin produced two of the most influential early American political cartoons that were directed at two different conflicts. The first of his cartoons was titled "Join or Die", which was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette and depicted a snake cut into 8 pieces and labeled with 8 of the original 13 colonies initials. The second famous cartoon Franklin produced was titled "Magna Britannia, her colonies Reduc'd ". The two images were produced to show how the unity of the colonies was essential in both the defeat of an enemy and their essential role, in a global aspect, for the country of Great Britain. Also these images depict the shift in franklin support for England. In "Join or Die" the image was meant to show how when the colonies were united in a cause, they were poised to be a formidable foe. Furthermore in the "Magna Britannia, her colonies Reduc'd'" Franklin used the dismemberment of Britannia as a symbol to the colonies role in her status as a world super power. This would help drive the early American people into a revolution towards freedom; both from a foreign oppressor and from the mother land herself.Franklins first image was that of "Join of Die" which was produced in 1754 before the French-Indian war. At that the time the British colonies were divided on weather of not to fight the French-Indian aligned armies for control of the land west of the Appalachian Mountains. Franklin chose to depict a snake that had been cut into eight pieces; each piece was labeled with the initials of 8 of the original 13 colonies. Franklin would use this propaganda to drive for unity of the colonies against the foreign foe (Black lecture 3/12/14). The image was also used to show without British support the colonies would remain un-unified and would ultimately parish with out the support of the British Empire. Later Franklin would use the colonies as a major support group for Britain herself.At the time of Magna Britannia, her colonies Reduc'd's production the English parliament had extended a harsher tax on the colonies and their goods which were being exported, after a survey was conducted showing the minimal amount paid in taxes by the new America (Black 3/18/14). The new law required that all goods being shipped to or from America were to pass through British ports and British tax collectors collected these taxes. The young American economy was already restricted to trading with the English empire thus giving them no other option but to abide by the rules established by Parliament. The British officials charged with enforcing these taxes were allowed the freedom to search ships and their cargo without due cause or warrants, which the colonists felt was a direct violation of their rights set forth in the British Bill of Rights (Black 3/12/14). A year...

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