Although Uncle Sam was based on Uncle Sam Wilsona Troy, New York, merchant who provided food for American troops in the War of 1812it was this poster by James Montgomery Flagg that embedded Uncle Sam as an icon in American consciousness (fig. 1).
Why is the image so powerful and engaging? Placing Uncle Sam in another position changes the tone from commanding to asking (fig. 2). A different choice of imagery (fig. 3) changes the effect of the poster entirely!
What clues does the artist provide to alert the viewer that the poster's message is important?
Learn more about Uncle Sam by visiting the University of Virginia's web site.
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