"Uncle Sam"

"Uncle Sam"is a cartoon character that symbolizes the United States. This name was first used as an unfriendly nickname for the U.S. government during the War of 1812. People in upper New York and Vermont who were against the war used the nickname. "Uncle Sam" is believed to have come from the large initials U.S. that an army meat inspector, Samuel Wilson stamped on barrels of salted meat. The nickname first appeared in a Troy, New York newspaper in 1813. It spread rapidly across the new country. The nickname was found in a 1816 book, The Adventures of Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam’s costume is decorated with stars and stripes and a top hat. This costume was created in cartoons in the 1830's. An 1800's clown, Dan Rice, made the costume popular. Congress passed a resolution which recognized Uncle Sam as a national symbol in 1961.

 Student Activity

Look in magazines, newspapers, books, and posters to find other pictures of this symbol. Use an encylopedia to find out how this character has changed over the years since 1813.


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