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Volume , November 18, 1774.

Ben Franklin Publishes 1st Editorial Cartoon

Ben is at it again, stirring up the pot. As editor of the Pensylvannia Gazzette he has chosen to print a rather interesting editorial cartoon to go along with his writing in support of the Albany Plan of Union from 1754.

Aware of the strains that war would put on the colonies, English officials suggested a "union between ye Royal, Proprietary & Charter Governments." At least some colonial leaders were thinking along the same lines. In June 1754 delegates from most of the northern colonies and representatives from the Six Iroquois Nations met in Albany, New York. There they adopted a "plan of union" drafted by Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. Under this plan each colonial legislature would elect delegates to an American continental assembly presided over by a royal governor.

The rivalry between England and France over who would control the North American continent led to what is known as the French and Indian Wars. This conflict lasted from 1756 to 1763, and left England the dominant power in the area that now comprises the eastern United States and Canada.

The plan is noteworthy in several respects. First of all, Franklin anticipated many of the problems that would beset the government created after independence, such as finance, dealing with the Indian tribes, control of commerce, and defense. In fact, it contains the seeds of true union, and many of these ideas would be revived and adopted in Philadelphia more than thirty years later.

This cartoon became a popular woodcut which was seen often during the later colonial era, and urged the colonists to overcome their parochial interests and form a strong union. Not until the Revolution, however, did unity outweigh long-standing suspicions.

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