Colonial Propaganda

Colonial Propaganda


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The “JOIN or DIE” image was originally designed and used by BEN FRANKLIN to convince colonists to fight against the French and Indians in the 1750s.  It was later used as a slogan in the Revolutionary war.  Today we sometimes see flags or license plates with the whole snake and the slogan “Don’t Tread on Me” which is propaganda for individual rights and less government interference as well as the fight against terrorism.

There was a lot of propaganda leading up to the American Revolution. The colonists who were proud of their land were Patriots. People against patriots were the Loyalists. Loyalists were Americans who remained faithful to King George the third. They were wealthy landowners in the south who owned slaves. Enslaved African American also joined the British because they promised to liberate slaves who escaped from their Patriot owner.

In many ways the patriots would torture loyalists. Europeans would get newspapers of pictures of what seemed to be a massacre of a loyalist shooting to a crowd that killed five patriots, but it was really a small action that led to war. Propaganda was used to convince neutral groups to join the Patriots. Thomas Paine was the most famous propagandist. Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere are also others who created pieces of work to inspire fighting for American Independence. “No Taxation without Representation” and “Liberty or Death” were powerful slogans.

This parchment was used to call men to arms over two centuries ago.