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Origin of "Uncle Sam"

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  • Origin of "Uncle Sam"

    One of the footnotes of United States history is changing. The origin of "Uncle Sam" apparently is not what it has long believed to have been.

    Conventional wisdom holds that “Uncle” Sam Wilson—a Troy, New York, meatpacker who, when he was supplying troops during the War of 1812, stamped his crates “U.S.”—inspired the federal government’s nickname; new evidence suggests, however, that the personification originated earlier, simply as a creative and colorful expansion of “U.S.”
    The New England Quarterly
    To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman. - George Santayana

  • #2
    "new" evidence?
    Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
    Hyperwar, Whats New
    World War II Resources
    The best place in the world to "work".

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
      "new" evidence?
      What do you think of the article? Did you read it?
      To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman. - George Santayana

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by taco View Post
        What do you think of the article? Did you read it?
        tl;dr

        I know that soldiers were making jokes about the "U.S." stamped on their gear at least as far back as the ACW.
        Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
        Hyperwar, Whats New
        World War II Resources
        The best place in the world to "work".

        Comment


        • #5
          Other sources disagree:

          http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...n-of-uncle-sam

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, my prof. listed twenty-six "origin" stories.
            Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
            Hyperwar, Whats New
            World War II Resources
            The best place in the world to "work".

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
              Donald Hickey and the Straight Dope article are in agreement that it derived merely from an expansion of U.S. and not from the Samuel Wilson.

              Hickey concluded: "Although the sobriquet’s origins are unclear, Albert Matthews offered the most persuasive explanation when he suggested that it began as nothing more than a colorful and creative expansion of the abbreviation U.S."

              The Straight Dope article stated: "So where did Uncle Sam originate? Nobody knows for sure, but it's likely the original explanation in the Troy Post was correct: there was never an actual Uncle Sam; instead the name was just a wiseguy expansion of the initials U.S."

              Hickey did supply some new info supporting the view that it did not derive from Samuel Wilson and Hickey's article in The New England Quarterly will undoubtedly be more influential than Straight Dope.
              To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman. - George Santayana

              Comment

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