"United we stand, divided we fall" is a phrase that has been used in mottos, from nations and states to songs. The basic concept is that unless the people are united, they will be defeated. It is often used in the abbreviated form United we stand.
The phrase has been attributed to the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop, both directly in his fable The Four Oxen and the Lion and indirectly in The Bundle of Sticks.
A similar phrase also appears in the biblical New Testament – translated into English from the historic Greek in Mark 3:25 as "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand". Similar verses of the New Testament include Matthew 12:25 ("And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand") and Luke 11:17 ("But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.").
Use in U.S. history
The first attributed use in modern times is to John Dickinson in his revolutionary war song "The Liberty Song". In the song, first published in the Boston Gazette in July 1768, he wrote: "Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!"
Patrick Henry used the phrase in his last public speech, given in March 1799, in which he denounced The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. Clasping his hands and swaying unsteadily, Henry declaimed, "Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs." At the end of his oration, Henry fell into the arms of bystanders and was carried almost lifeless into a nearby tavern. Two months afterward, he died.
On October 23, 2012 in the second year of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's conservative legislature, former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai called for an anti-Orbán coalition so as to form a supermajority in the Parliament with the help of which the changes done by Orbán's ruling party Fidesz could be undone. In his speech, Gordon Bajnai, repeatedly used a variant of the term ("We may fail on our own, but together, we shall prove victorious!"), when he proclaimed his support for such a "cooperation between hopeful left-wingers, disappointed rightwingers, politically abandoned free-thinkers and committed Greens" that his organization along with two other civilian body named Together 2014 as a reference to the date of the next general elections in Hungary. Since then the Hungarian rendering of this motto has been repeatedly used by Gordon's Together 2014 Movement – for example on their Facebook page.
Examples in popular culture include the following:
In the Sum 41 song "Confusion And Frustration In Modern Times", the phrase "Divided we stand, Together we fall" is used. New York Hardcore punk band Agnostic Front use the lyrics "United we stand, divided we fall, Gotta gotta go" in their song "Gotta Go", which was featured on Punk-O-Rama Vol. 3. Punk band Smoke or Fire also used the reverse lyric "United we stand, divided we'll fall" in their song "What Separates Us All", from their 2007 album This Sinking Ship.
The Dutch band "Heideroosjes" use the lyrics in their song "Time is Ticking Away". It is also used in The Dropkick Murphys' "Boy's on the Docks". The 3rd Mission in Operation flashpoint Dragon rising is called "United we stand". A slightly different version is mentioned by the heavy metal band Judas Priest in his song "United" ("united we stand, united we never shall fall"). 3T also used the exact words on their debut album Brotherhood, the song entitled "Brotherhood" too.
Australian artist Kid Mac used the phrase in his song titled "My Brothers Keeper" of his album titled "No Man's Land".
In the C.G.I. Transformers show-Transformers Prime, this phrase is played upon. As Megatron succeeds in destroying the Autobot base and chasing out the Autobots after an intense war, he and Starscream visit the ruins with Starscream commenting. "United we stand, divided they fall." Rather than attributing both values to one party, each is shown to have a respective value at that time, especially given Starscream has recently rejoined the Decepticons.
The statement is used in videos released in 2012 by the "hacktivist" group Anonymous.