In 1729, Benjamin Franklin and his partner Hugh Meredith gained ownership of The Pennsylvania Gazette from then publisher Samuel Keimer. Serving as both printer and writer, Franklin often contributed pieces to the paper under his own and assumed names. On May 9, 1754, Franklin published an editorial concerning the lack of unity among the 13 colonies.
The editorial included an illustration or 'cartoon' picturing a snake cut up in 8 pieces, each piece representing a seg-ment of the colonies. Below the snake was the tagline 'Join, or Die.'
Not only is this the earliest recorded use of an illustration or 'cartoon' in an American newspaper, it also marks Franklin as America's first Political Cartoonist.