Changing symbols

In an attempt to free themselves from their British ties , Americans during the Revolutionary War rejected the image the British associated with them of a young Indian girl and altered the symbol.  The Americans chose to keep the Indian part of their image feeling as if the character represented an authentic and genuine American and helped distance themselves from the British who were very different from the indigenous Indians.  The Americans knew, however, they would have to change the child part of their image since they were trying to portray themselves as strong and independent and a child depends on their parent, sending the wrong message.  That is when Benjamin Franklin came up with the rattlesnake as a symbol.  In his mind, a rattle snake represented the perfect symbol for the colonies trying to break away from British control.  Not only was the snake native to North America and therefore symbolized the new terrain, but a rattlesnake has 13 different rattles which Franklin believed perfectly illustrated the 13 colonies.  Each colony was different and independent but also worked together and joined the other colonies to make up one strong and powerful entity, just as a snake had 13 different rattles but the rattles together made up the snake.  Alone each colony was successful but together they could be unstoppable.  Additionally, some say that Franklin discovered the snake represented democracy in an Italian book and therefore connected the colonies back to Europe. The symbol of the snake representing the colonies illustrates the shift in attitudes among colonists from everything British including clothes, ideas and interpretations of America to reinventing these facets in an American way.