What Was the Albany Plan of Union?

The Albany Plan of Union was the first official attempt to unify the original colonies of what is now the United States. The plan was created by Benjamin Franklin and proposed during the Albany Congress of 1754.

The plan kept ultimate power over the colonies in the hands of the monarchy but allowed for the colonial assemblies to choose a Grand Council presided over by a President General appointed by Britain. Both the colonial assemblies and the British rejected the plan. According to his writings, Franklin believed that the colonial assemblies rejected the plan because they were against the establishment of a central taxing authority and uninterested in what was happening in other colonies. For their part, the British government was wary of allowing the colonies to consolidate any further power and wanted them to focus on raising troops and fortifications for the Seven Years War. The Plan never went farther than the Board of Trade.

The Plan was popularly represented by a woodcut of a snake divided into eight parts, each representing one of the royal colonies, with the words "Join or Die" beneath it. The royal colonies were those that came under the direct authority of the British monarchy.