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Speakers Bureau Catalog

Main Topic: Our Nation
Topic: Establishing a Nation
Topic: General

Speaker: Donald Hickey


Uncle Sam: The Origins and Evolution of an American Icon

This Power Point program—featuring portraits, illustrations, and cartoons—will examine where “Uncle Sam,” the nickname for the U.S. government, came from and how it evolved over time. We will examine the conventional view, endorsed by a state and federal government resolutions, which attributes the nickname to “Uncle Sam” Wilson, an entrepreneur in Troy, New York, who supplied the U.S. Army with meat during the War of 1812. We will present evidence that calls this view into question and offer an alternative theory on where the nickname came from and why it became so popular.


Humanities Nebraska programming is made possible by:

and generous individuals, foundations, and businesses across Nebraska.