Americans, and those who appreciate the culture and history of the United States, can enjoy the celebration of this fun and unique holiday. It’s time for Uncle Sam Day!
History of Uncle Sam Day
The origins of referring to the United States as “Uncle Sam” go back to the early 1800s, a few decades after the American Revolution was won and the US became an independent nation.
The term seems to have started in 1813 and is linked to a meat packer from New York. As it turns out, Samuel Wilson had sold meat to the American troops during the War of 1812 and the barrels were stamped “US “ for the United States. But because his name was Samuel, many soldiers began referring to the “US” as meaning “Uncle Sam’s” food. And the idea stuck.
The idea became personified and the nickname referring to the United States as Uncle Sam grew in popularity during the following years. By the late 1800s, a political cartoonist by the name of Thomas Nast drew the character with a white beard and a suit decorated with the stars and stripes motif of the US flag. This same cartoonist is also credited with coming up with the symbols for the American political parties: a donkey for Republicans and an elephant for Democrats.
The most well-known and famous image, the one that most people think of when Uncle Sam is mentioned, was created by James Montgomery Flagg. This image was placed with the words, “I Want YOU for the U.S. Army”.
How to Celebrate Uncle Sam Day
Enjoy some fun activities that go along with Uncle Sam Day, like these:
Doodle Some Uncle Sam Drawings
Those who are a bit artistic can enjoy the day by creating their own modern versions of Uncle Sam. The original Uncle Sam was the idea if a creative cartoonist, so get inspired and create one of your own. Grab a pencil and a drawing pad and come up with some patriotic sketches of Uncle Sam!
Learn Fun Facts About Uncle Sam
One fun way to celebrate this Uncle Sam Day would be to learn a little bit more about this iconic bit of American history. Then, share the fun bits of trivia with friends or coworkers:
Though Uncle Sam is an American character, it was British cartoonists from Punch magazine that were the first to develop him as a tall, thin figure with a white beard and white hair.
Uncle Sam appeared on a great deal of posters during World War I to recruit volunteers for the United States Army.
Rosie the Riveter is a female cartoon character loosely based on Uncle Sam. She came out in the 1940s during WWII to encourage women to work for war efforts.
Dress Up Like Uncle Sam
Channel that inner Americana figure by heading over to the costume shop and getting dressed up in stars and stripes. When people ask about the costume, let them know that it’s Uncle Sam Day!