On March 13, 1852, Uncle Sam first appeared in the press. He became so popular that he became the personification of the American nation.

WHAT DOES HE LOOK LIKE? Look at Uncle Sam’s picture and find these expressions.

  1. a) moustache b) beard c) stars on the tie  d) top hat with white stars on a blue band  e) red and white striped trousers


Legends say that the original really lived in Troy, New York. Samuel Wilson was a tall, kindly, dignified man. He came to Troy from Mason, New Hampshire. He was a brickmaker, farmer, merchant, and meat packer. He soon became rich. During the war of 1812, he packed meat for the American soldiers and labelled the boxes U.S. (for United States). When people asked what it meant, the watchman answered that the boxes belong to Uncle Sam who feeds the army. The soldiers were soon called ‘Uncle Sam’s Men’.

A generation later, Uncle Sam appeared in an English cartoon as a symbol of the USA. The first US cartoon appeared in the New York Lantern on March 13, 1852. Uncle Sam soon became popular and different artists used him in the press.

Uncle Sam has monuments in Arlington, Massachusetts, where Samuel Wilson was born; in Mason, New Hampshire, where he lived; and in Troy, New York, where he is buried.

Uncle Sam has appeared in many books, comics, even films. The baseball team New York Yankees has Uncle Sam’s hat in their team logo and their fans often wear these hats to the games.


Say if the statements are true or false and say why.

  • Uncle Sam really lived.
  • He wasn’t popular with other people.
  • He sent men to the army.
  • He first appeared in an English newspaper.
  • Today he is the symbol of the English nation.
  • He wears clothes that symbolize the American flag.


Correct answers: 1T, 2F, 3F, 4T, 5F, 6T