Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam started out as an anti-government caricature. He dates back much earlier than his rallying efforts in the Great War. In fact, his earliest known appearance was during the War of 1812. And while he was still an illustrated personification of the American government, it was far from a flattering portrayal – Uncle Sam was kind of a doofy asshole.

Historians disagree on how he got his name – either he was originally the likeness of a real-life American businessman named Sam Wilson, or it was derived from a mocking nickname given to the United States Light Dragoons (USLD), a cavalry unit whose initials were derisively said to actually stand for “Uncle Sam’s Lazy Dogs.” In any case, when Uncle Sam came into common use, it was in caricatures drawn for anti-government propaganda magazines, who basically wanted a shorthand way to represent the entire government as one cranky old shithead in a flag costume.

5 Iconic Symbols Designed To Have The Exact Opposite Meaning

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George Ash of Chinchilla, Pennsylvania gained national attention in 1932 on his quest to find a mate for Uncle Sam. Ash insisted that in the name of equality, our nation should have an official aunt. On February 12, 1932, students from Nooksack Public Schools in Nooksack, Washington petitioned Congress to find Uncle Sam a match. Love was in the air as they suggested that Miss Columbia would be a perfect match for Uncle Sam.

…the boys and girls of America would like nothing better than to have an Uncle Sammy and Aunt Columbia.

Petition from Students at Nooksack Public School Asking Congress to Find a Match for Uncle Sam, 2/12/1913, Sen 72A-J45, Records of the U.S. Senate

“And if your right hand causes you to offend (such as by whipping black people, pointing to Hispanics as vile parasites, or writing legislation that shoves Native Americans off their land), cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is better for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.”

An ‘America actually is a Christian nation, apparently’ cartoon.

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And I guess this cartoon works as a twin to the last one. “Hey, ignore Steve Scalise. Eric Holder is the real racist, because he says racism exists!”