[Benjamin Franklin’s] editorial was accompanied by a woodcut drawing entitled “Join, or Die,” which pictured an undulating snake divided into eight pieces (the number of colonial governments). The snake symbol touched on a superstition at the time that a serpent cut in two would come to life again if its pieces were rejoined before sundown. The combination of alarmism and appeal to community spirit spurred the Albany Congress into passing any elaborate unification plan, and the woodcut was reproduced by numerous journals in New York, Boston, and other centers up and down the east coast. (Preferring to accent the positive, the Boston Gazette recaptioned it “Unite and Conquer.”)

Donald Dewey, The Art of Ill Will: The Story of American Political Cartoons