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The History List

"Join or Die" Shirt

Regular price $ 27.95
Regular price Sale price $ 27.95
Sale Sold out

Historical Background Behind the Design

Taken from the original illustration in Franklin’s The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1754.  Originally, a warning to the colonies, urging them to unite against the French and Native American allies, and later used as an appeal to the states during the Revolutionary War.  The rattlesnake segments are labeled,  S.C., N.C., V., M., P., N.J., N.Y., and N.E. See additional information below.

The shirt: We’re offering your choice of styles, fabrics, and colors:
  • 100% cotton Made in the USA shirt in Grey — Knitted, dyed, and sewn in the USA. 5.4 oz. S - 4X. See size chart.

    Note: We suggest ordering one size larger than you normally wear. (This shirt runs small.)

  • Our standard 4.3 oz. Poly-Cotton shirt that gets rave reviews. Our softest shirt. It's also our thinnest and lightest. It is very high-quality and long-wearing, but it is thin and light. Lots of people love them, which you can see in the reviews, but if you judge t-shirt quality based on weight or thickness, do not get this one. Instead, get one of the two 100% cotton shirts above. In Charcoal grey. S - 4X. See size chart.

  • 100% American grown cotton in Slate blue. 5.5 oz. S only. Will not be reprinted in this color. See size chart. 

 The $3 price difference for the 100% cotton Made in the USA shirt is our higher wholesale cost; there is no additional margin.

Also available in a long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, women's v-neck shirt, tank top for womenwoven socks that are made in the USAsticker, magnet, and an 8" x 10"  framed print.

Historical background

This political cartoon (attributed to James Turner (silversmith) for Benjamin Franklin) originally appeared during the French and Indian War, but was recycled to encourage the American colonies to join the Albany Plan for Union. From The Pennsylvania gazette, May 9, 1754. Abbreviations used: Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New England.

The practice of grouping the colonies east of New York (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) together as "New England" has a history that goes back to the Dominion of New England, established in 1686 . . . Delaware was not listed separately because it was comprised of three counties that were part of Pennsylvania, and did not gain independence from Philadelphia until after the Declaration of Independence was asserted. Prior to formal separation from Pennsylvania, Delaware was properly referred to as the "Lower Counties on Delaware".

The Province of Georgia was not originally included by Franklin (let alone other British colonies in North America) but was later added and can be see at the tip of the tail. Georgia, the youngest of what would come to be referred to as the "Thirteen Original Colonies", had only been chartered in 1732 as a haven for those incarcerated in England's debtors prisons, and its population was sparse.


Source: Wikipedia


For shipments to arrive by Father's Day, Sunday, June 16

  • Order by midnight Monday, June 10
  • Select UPS 3-day shipping at checkout
  • Signed books and custom embroidery take more time and may not arrive by Father's Day

Note: A few products, such as antique Oriental rugs, have special shipping policies stated on the product page. For those products, the information below does not apply.

For shipments to addresses within the U.S. (scroll down for International shipping) 

Flat-rate shipping: Regardless of the number of items you order, the shipping price for shirts, caps, unframed prints and posters, bracelets, lapel pins, pendants, and button packs is $5.95.

For hooded and crewneck sweatshirts, mugs, and blankets, the shipping cost is $8.95. 

Our flat rate shipping means you can add two or more t-shirts, sweatshirts, or caps for no additional shipping charge.

Note that some large or heavy items, including larger framed prints, may have a different shipping charge or a shipping surcharge. When they do, it will be noted on the product page.



We try to ship orders within three business days of receiving them. This applies to in-stock items. Framed items or items requiring personalization may take up to two weeks longer. If there is an extended delay, it will be noted on the product page.

We close for a week over Independence Day and Christmas. A notice will appear at the top of every page of the site in advance of this closure.

We ship most orders via USPS, so if the post office is closed, we won't be shipping orders that day.

If you need to receive your order by a certain date, such as to give as a gift or have for a trip, we recommend ordering at least two weeks in advance, especially if you are using USPS shipping. 

If you're looking for reliable, on-time deliveries, we strongly suggest upgrading to "UPS 3 Business Day Select Shipping."

Additional notes:

  • When fulfillment takes longer, such as around the Christmas holidays, we'll put up an announcement in the site and will list recommended shipping deadlines below.
  • If an item is out of stock, we will contact you.
  • If one of your items is an advance order, that will be noted on the product page along with an estimate of when it will ship. If that estimated date changes, the product page will be updated.

    Charges for shipping to destinations in the United States and to APO, DPO, and FPO addresses

    • Free shipping
      • On stickers, magnets, decals, patches, static clings, and individual button pins.

    • US Postal Service shipping - The least expensive, though also less reliable than UPS. (See more on UPS in the next section.) 

      • $5.95 for shirts, caps, unframed prints and posters, bracelets, lapel pins, pendants, button packs.

        Regardless of the number of items you order, the shipping price is still fixed at $5.95. Our flat rate shipping means you can add another t-shirt, cap, or book for no additional shipping charge.

      • $8.95 for hooded and crewneck sweatshirts, mugs, and blankets.

    We strongly recommend using UPS, especially in November and December.

      UPS 3 Business Day Select 

      Note: UPS 3 Business Day select is not available for addresses in Hawaii and Alaska. If UPS is selected for Hawaii or Alaska, the order will be shipped UPS Ground.

      Cut off time: Orders received by 8 am Eastern will ship the same business day.  Orders received after that time will ship the next business day. Applies to in-stock items that do not require personalization or signing. 
        UPS's normal (non-holiday) delivery guarantee is by the end of the third business day, and this includes delivery on Saturday.  This applies to the 48 contiguous states. 
          • $14.95 for shirts, caps, unframed prints and posters, bracelets, lapel pins, pendants, button packs.

          • $18.95 for hooded and crewneck sweatshirts, mugs, and blankets.

          • If the actual shipping cost is significantly higher than what we’re charging, we will contact you to discuss alternatives.

        • UPS Overnight (Next Business Day Delivery)
        Before placing your order, call 469-233-7712.

        For shipments to addresses outside the United States


        We only ship to locations that are served by US Postal Service International Service.


        • Canada and Mexico

          • $18.00 for shirts, caps, unframed prints and posters, bracelets, lapel pins, pendants, button packs.
          • $24.00 for hooded and crewneck sweatshirts, mugs, and blankets.

        • Rest of the World

          • Rates starts at $65.00.

        Additional charges for all destinations

        Some large, heavy items may have an additional shipping charge.  If that's the case, it will be noted on the product page.

        If the actual shipping cost is significantly higher than what we’re charging, we will contact you to discuss alternatives.

          All original designs are copyrighted by The History List

          All designs are copyrighted by The History List and the History Nerd text and design on t-shirts is a registered trademark. If you see a knock off, please let me know.


          Your purchases support our mission to engage people with local history and to support historic sites and history organizations across the country.

            ["Ben Franklin","gift","Gray","Grey","History buff","History lover","history lovers","History Nerd","History student","History teacher","NBIS","Revolutionary War","Shirt","USA shirt"]

          Customer Reviews

          Based on 22 reviews
          Meredith R.
          Comfortable and Stylish

          These shirts are soft, comfortable and look sharp

          Jonathan B.
          Great shirt, perfect fit

          This shirt exceeded expectations. It is very comfortable and true to size.

          Joseph M.
          High Quality shirt

          My “Join or Die” is durable, comfortable & the graphics are fantastic. It’s a truly comfortable shirt that allows me to show my love of history.

          Loni P.
          Great quality

          Bought this for my son for Christmas. Great quality made in America tee! Hope he loves it like I do :)

          Patrick T.
          Great shirt!

          High quality, comfortable, and looks great!

          Liam C.
          My favorite t-shirt

          I own several History List shirts and this is by far my favorite. I better buy another one before these sell out!

          Graham B.
          Looks great, fits great

          Fit as described, good material, nice print, feels very comfortable.

          Mark W.
          Join or Die T-Shirt Good Quality

          Purchased this for a friend writing his doctoral dissertation on the French and Indian War (which this illustration was originally regarding) - size was accurate and the material is indeed nice and thick Jersey... it should wear well and long.