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What was the Albany Plan of Union?

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The French and Indian War started in 1754. The British were unsuccessful in the beginning because of their lack of unity. Benjamin Franklin saw this as a major problem and urged unity. In the Pennsylvania Gazette, he drew his famous cartoon of a broken snake with the caption “Join or Die.” A meeting was held in Albany in the spring of 1754 to address this issue. Colonial leaders, officials and representatives from seven of the British colonies attended the conference. Benjamin Franklin and Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson together drafted a proposal of colonial unity to combat the war against the French. It was called the Albany Plan of Union. The plan would create new layers of government including a president-general that was appointed by the crown.

The president-general will manage relations with the natives, and will be in charge of the frontier lands until they became colonies. The colonial assemblies will appoint members to a proposed grand council whose representation will be determined by the amount of financial taxes paid to the organization. The plan was approved by the members of the Albany conference but the colonial assemblies refused to accept it as did the London regime. To the colonists, it did not seem to give enough independence. On the other hand, to the British officials, it seems to give too much. According to Franklin’s wrote that the colonies agreed on the need for unity but could not agree on the details for unity.

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