A National Symbol

 

Uncle Sam

 

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Uncle Sam is a fictional character thought up by a man, whose name is Samuel Wilson. Read the following article to learn more about this well known character who stands for the United States of America.

 

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Who is Uncle Sam?

Historians aren't completely certain how the character "Uncle Sam" was created, or who (if anyone ) he was named after. The prevailing theory is that Uncle Sam was named after Samuel Wilson. Wilson was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, on September 13, 1766. His childhood home was in Mason, New Hampshire.

During the War of 1812, Wilson was in the business of slaughtering and packing meat. He provided large shipments of meat to the U.S. Army, in barrels that were stamped with the initials "U.S.". Supposedly, someone who saw the "U.S."stamp suggested-- perhaps as a joke-- that the initials stood for "Uncle Sam" Wilson. The suggestion that the meat shipments came from "Uncle Sam" led to the idea that Uncle Sam symbolized the federal government.

Samuel Wilson died in 1854. His grave is in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York.

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Uncle Sam's traditional appearance, with a white goatee and star-spangled suit, is an invention of artists and political cartoonists; Samuel Wilson did not look like the modern image of Uncle Sam. Wilson was a clean-shaven. Uncle Sam is usually portrayed with a goatee and clothes that are red, white, and blue.

 

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Uncle Sam has been around since the War of 1812. The first picture of him appeared with the United States Army and it looked like this:

This single most famous portrait of Uncle Sam is the "I WANT YOU" Army recruiting poster from World War I. The poster was painted by James Montgomery Flagg in 1916-1917.

 

I hope that you have learned something new about Uncle Sam.

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