One of the greatest rewards of being a teacher is to be constantly learning.
After being questioned by one of my students this week, for instance, I´ve learned some more.
Even though I was aware of the fact that Abraham Lincoln had been one of the inspirations for the character who portrays somewhat the image and symbol of America today; doing a more extensive research on the topic, I realized that there have been so many curious facts about the Uncle Sam figure.
And the sentence I WANT YOU has been used by Army ro recruit American youngsters all over the country.
Uncle Sam is a common national personification of the American government originally used during the War of 1812. He is depicted as a stern elderly man with white hair and a goatee beard. Typically he is dressed in clothing that recalls the design elements of the flag of the United States—for example, a top hat with red and white stripes and white stars on a blue band, and red and white striped trousers. The first use of Uncle Sam in literature was in the 1816 allegorical book The Adventures of Uncle Sam in Search After His Lost Honor by Frederick Augustus Fidfaddy, Esq.
Earlier representative figures of the United States included such beings as “Brother Jonathan,” used by Punch magazine. These were overtaken by Uncle Sam somewhere around the time of the Civil War. The female personification “Columbia” has seldom been seen since the 1920s. The well-known “recruitment” image of Uncle Sam was created by James Montgomery Flagg, an illustrator and portrait artist best known for commercial art. The image of Uncle Sam was shown publicly for the first time, according to some, in a picture by Flagg on the cover of the magazine Leslie’s Weekly, on July 6, 1916, with the caption “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?” More than four million copies of this image were printed between 1917 and 1918. The image also was used extensively during World War II.
There are two memorials to Uncle Sam, both of which commemorate the life of Samuel Wilson: the Uncle Sam Memorial Statue in Arlington, Massachusetts, his birthplace; and a memorial near his long-term residence in Riverfront Park, Troy, New York.