How many of you know who Thomas Nast was? Would a picture help? This is what he looked like:
Didn't help? OK, I will tell you. He was a political cartoonist and creator of the modern image of Uncle Sam. He also was the one who came up with the popular image Santa Claus, the Republican Elephant, and the Democratic Donkey.
The painting of Uncle Sam (from before World War I) was done by James Montgomery Flagg in 1917. This is the painting that Flagg made:
Does it look familiar? It should, it was used on recruitment posters for World War I:
There have been a few different explanations on how the United States was nicknamed Uncle Sam, one of which could very well be the right one. It was on this date back in 1813 that the nickname started. A meat packer named Samuel Wilson supplied barrels of beef to the U.S. Army and stamped the lids with "U.S." for "United States" but the soldiers started to refer to it as "Uncle Sam's" and that nickname stuck and to this day the U.S. is depicted as Uncle Sam. It is sometimes strange how things get started. Now, you all have a great day, you hear?