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Getting to Know Uncle Sam

I believe most people who live in the U.S and others outside of the states recognize the name, Uncle Sam. However, you might not know how this nickname came to be. It was way back on September 7, 1813, that the U.S. got the nickname of Uncle Sam.

The name is linked to Samuel Wilson who was a meat packer from Troy, New York. He supplied barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 He stamped the barrels with the initials U.S. but the soldiers insisted on referring to the beef as “Uncle Sam’s”. When newspapers picked up on the name Uncle Sam it became accepted as the nickname for the U.S. Federal Government.

Political cartoonist Thomas Nast started making the image of Uncle Sam popular in the late 1860s and 1870s. He was the one how gave Sam his white beard and suit of stars and stripes. However, the most famous image of Uncle Sam was created by artist James Montgomery Flagg. In this artist’s version, Uncle Sam wore a tall top hat, a blue jacket and pointed straight at the viewer. This image was used as a recruiting poster during WW I with the words “I Want You for the U.S. Army”.

In September 1961, the U.S. Congress acknowledged Samuel Wilson as “the progenitor of America’s national symbol of Uncle Sam”. Wilson died in 1854 at the age of 88. He was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York which is the town that refers to itself as “The Home of Uncle Sam”.

  • Question of

    Have you heard the term Uncle Sam?

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  • Question of

    Did you know the story behind Uncle Sam?

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