The federal government is often referred to as, “Uncle Sam.” However, not many people know why, or from where this nickname stems.
During the War of 1812, a meat-packer from Troy, NY named Samuel Wilson supplied the U.S. Army with barrels of beef. Wilson was known around town as “Uncle Sam” and when he labeled the barrels with “U.S.” the soldiers assumed that’s what the initials stood for. It actually meant “United States,” and the ideas combined where Uncle Sam stood for the United States of America. A newspaper picked up on the story, and as word traveled, the term “Uncle Sam” eventually became synonymous with the federal government.
Decades later, a political cartoonist popularized the image of Uncle Sam— with the white beard, stars and stripes suit, and top hat. The same cartoonist, Thomas Nast (who was German) also created the modern image of Santa Claus, as well as the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant.
During WWI, the Uncle Sam image was greatly popularized when it was used with the slogan “I want you for the U.S. Army” for recruitment purposes. With over four million copies printed, this effort has been called the “most famous poster in the world.” Uncle Sam was officially adopted as a national symbol of the U.S. in 1950.
Troy, NY now calls itself, “The Home of Uncle Sam.”
From the Presidential Libraries:
It’s the Birthday of LBJ!
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, in central Texas, not far from Johnson City, which his family had helped settle.
In 1937 he campaigned successfully for the House of Representatives on a New Deal platform, effectively aided by his wife, the former Claudia “Lady Bird” Taylor, whom he had married after a whirlwind courtship in 1934.
During World War II, Lyndon Johnson served briefly in the Navy as a lieutenant commander, receiving a Silver Star in the South Pacific. After six terms in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1948. In 1953, he became the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats won control, Majority Leader. With rare legislative skill he obtained passage of a number of measures during the Eisenhower Administration. He became, by many accounts, the most powerful Majority Leader of the twentieth century.
LBJ’s “Great Society” program included aid to education, Medicare, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, control and prevention of crime and delinquency and removal of obstacles to the right to vote. Read More
Studio portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson at 18 months old, ca. 1910.
Portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Oval Office. December, 1963.
-from the LBJ Library