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Welcome to another Turbo Storie.

Today, The uncle sam.

The character known as Uncle Sam actually existed, although his association with the United States has its roots in an anecdote that likely has much legend to it.

The historical Uncle Sam was named Samuel Wilson, a meat supplier living in Troy, a city in the state of New York. In 1781, as the War of Independence in the United States was coming to an end, he enlisted in the Continental Army.

After the war, Samuel Wilson made a modest fortune in business, initially in construction, and later in the meat industry. Together with his older brother Ebeneezer, they established a slaughterhouse on the banks of the Hudson River, an ideal location for shipping meat.

In 1812, a new war broke out between the United States and the United Kingdom over the possession of British colonies in Canada. The Wilson brothers became suppliers to the U.S. Army through a contractor named Elbert Anderson, responsible for providing all the necessary meat for the army in the states of New York and New Jersey.

During this war, the anecdote supposedly giving rise to the character of Uncle Sam was forged. Rations had to carry a stamp indicating their origin, and the Wilson brothers' rations were marked with the initials "E.A.-U.S": E.A. were the initials of Elbert Anderson, and U.S. simply referred to the United States. However, according to the anecdote, an Anderson worker asked who this U.S. was, and a colleague, jokingly, replied that it was Uncle Sam, referring to Samuel Wilson, one of their suppliers.


Whether true or not, this anecdote served as the basis for the creation of the Uncle Sam character, who came to represent the government.

Political cartoonist Thomas Nast, in the 1860s and 1870s, established the image of Uncle Sam as we know him today: with his characteristic goatee and a face resembling Abraham Lincoln's. His attire varied between a more civilian representation, highlighting his top hat (although initially not edged with stars), and a more military one with an officer's uniform. Both representations somehow included the colors and symbols of the American flag: red, blue, and white, as well as the stars and stripes.

However, during World War I, the famous poster that would definitively fix Uncle Sam's image emerged. It was designed by James Montgomery Flagg in 1917 for the United States Army, encouraging the population to enlist for the fight, with the message: "I Want YOU for U.S. Army."

Today, the original poster is considered one of the most influential war propaganda works of all time, copied by various countries, ideologies, and causes. In addition to the image that made him famous, Uncle Sam continued to be a characteristic figure in government propaganda, especially in times of war, encouraging workers to strive harder and make sacrifices for their country, with a more stern or friendly face depending on the occasion, but always making it clear that he wants "YOU."


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