Who Was Uncle Sam?

Uncle Sam Wants You

"Perhaps Americans found that their Uncle Sam, like all good uncles, helped them out: by turning the vast machinery of war mobilization into a family relation, he gave political power a personal face and made sense of the government’s presence in everyday life. On closer inspection, though, Flagg’s Uncle Sam is a puzzling figure. He is at once watchful and protective, personable and authoritative, individual and institutional. And, like many uncles, he is very badly dressed. His formal attire conveys the solemnity of war’s occasion, and his furrowed brow and piercing stare show his seriousness, but his silly hat and ill-fitting suit suggest that Uncle Sam doesn’t usually do this. He reassures viewers that war is not in America’s lifeblood; the nation, like its uncle, would rather be doing something else." [+]