Uncle Sam recruiting poster
The Uncle Sam recruiting poster is the famous World War I army recruitment poster created by the American artist James Montgomery Flagg. The poster features the most famous 20th century depiction of the character Uncle Sam, who has come to represent the personification of the U.S government.
The character of Uncle Sam was first developed during the American War of Independance in 1812. Experts agree that the name comes from a New York meat packer named Samuel Wilson, who received a government contract to supply meat to the soldiers in 1812.
Wilson's nickname was 'Uncle Sam', and his meat caskets were stamped 'U.S'. Although these initials were intended to stand for 'United States', American troops began referring to the caskets as coming from 'Uncle Sam' and themselves as 'Uncle Sam's soldiers'. After the war this term came into common usage and the name was taken to stand for the U.S goverment.
The character has appeared in many forms, but the most recognisable version that is still used today appeared soon after the death of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Whereas previous incarnations had appeared with round faces and dark hair, versions from 1865 onwards took on Lincoln's tall, thin fram and high cheekbones.
The character's most famous appearance is on the 1917 recruitment poster created by James Montgomery Flagg. It depicts Uncle Sam pointing directly out at the reader, stating "I want you for U.S Army". During World War I Flagg created 46 posters for the U.S army, and the "I want you" poster was later adapted during World War II.
The value of original 1917 Uncle Sam posters depends on their condition. Good-condition copies currently sell at auction for around $4,000.
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