In a conventional way, Uncle Sam is portrayed as a tall, old-looking white man with long white hair and a goatee. Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, served as a model to the character. His political career began during the War of 1812, and coincided with the assertion of the character.
In popular imagery, Uncle Sam is wearing a top hat in the colors of the star-spangled banner, wearing a red bow tie, a blue tail (sometimes starred) and red and white striped trousers. all recalling the flag of the United States.
The origin of Uncle Sam seems to go back to the War of 1812. The military base in Troy (New York), receiving meat crates marked "US", humorously interpreted these initial "U S NCLE am "in honor of their supplier Samuel Wilson.
After the Statue of Liberty in New York, Uncle Sam is probably the most famous personification of the United States. In 1971, Congress recognized Troy's "Uncle Wilson" as akin to the symbol of the United States.
While the term "Uncle Sam" is also often used as a synonym for the United States, it sometimes refers more specifically to the US government or its emanation.
Other personifications of the United States exist, older but they have disappeared before Uncle Sam: Brother Jonathan disappeared around the civil war; as for the feminine representation of Columbia, it has appeared only very rarely since the 1880s.
Samuel Wilson (September 13, 1766, Menotomy - July 31, 1854, Troy) was a meat supplier based in Troy, New York. A monument indicates his place of birth.
During the War of 1812, Samuel Wilson's business flourished: he was awarded a contract to supply beef to the army and he shipped the salt meat in barrels. The barrels being owned by the government, were marked "US". The soldiers joked that the barrels were marked with Uncle Sam's initials. Later, the US initials were linked to Sam Wilson. In 1961, Congress identified Samuel Wilson as the namesake of Uncle Sam.
This style, popularized by the designer Thomas Nast is now almost universal. Recently, designers have tried to propose modernized versions of the character, but still keeping his distinctive signs.
Uncle Sam was used for the first time in a political comic strip designed by Thomas Nast. Then he was used several times to recruit in the army.
During the First World War, a very famous poster for recruitment staged Uncle Sam, pointing his finger at the reader with the words "I want you for US Army". Created by James Montgomery Flagg in 1917 on the basis of a 1914 British poster, this poster was reused during the Second World War. More than 4 million copies of the poster were printed between 1917 and 1918. Since then, it has been widely parodied with many variations of the original slogan.
In addition to the propagandist aspect of Uncle Sam, the character appeared as a comic hero of books and comics. He is portrayed as the personification of the United States and fights for freedom.
- There was a cartoon in the 1980s called The Adventures of Uncle Sam .
- He appears in episode 14 of season 12 of the series The Simpsons where he encourages young people to engage in the army through subliminal messages.
- In the Batman series: The Alliance of Heroes, Uncle Sam is a superhero, leader of the Freedom Fighters. First appearance The Fighters of Freedom. Last appearance The End!
- In the Malcolm series, Malcolm must disguise himself as Uncle Sam for his work.
- In Saints Row 4 , the character has the opportunity to purchase a collector's edition that provides Uncle Sam's costume, a weapon and a flying machine, in addition to the game.
- In Pixel Gun World , one of the video game posters on PC represents Uncle Sam in a pixelated version, prompting the reader to join Game 2 .
- In 2007, a parody in the colors of the Belgian flag (black, yellow, red) called for the unity of Belgium which was (and still is) in conflict with the community.
- On the picture of rapper Above the Law's album Oncle Sam Curse we can see clouds forming the image of Uncle Sam, floating over a neighborhood of the United States surrounded by watchtowers.
Characters, like Uncle Sam, have costumes that reflect the colors and elements of the flag of the United States. These are superheroes from comics :
- Captain America: more a super-soldier than a superhero, he is the great defender of American values, living personification of them (he also meets during the special 50 years of Captain America's Uncle Sam, among other American personified emblems, and is compared to everyone as a mascot of our time);
- Captain Nice of the homonymous TV series created by Buck Henry in 1967 is a parody of superheroes.