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Do you like trivia and fun facts?
Have you lost hours to Wikipedia rabbit holes?
Do you ever wonder about the history of everyday things in your world?

The Story Behind is the show for you!

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Jul 3, 2017

We talked about mascots in The Story Behind Sports Superstitions and Curses and about how they’re thought to bring a team luck. Well, mascots aren’t just for sports. The one we’ll be talking about today is basically a mascot for the United States, although you probably won’t see him performing cartwheels during halftime of the Olympics or something.

This particular mascot went something of a personification of the country in political cartoons to being the representation of the U.S. government, and, although we won’t talk about it, was the title character of a 1996 slasher movie with the tagline: "I want you … dead."

I’m your host, Emily Prokop, and this is The Story Behind Uncle Sam.

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Media:

Music for Makers

Other Episodes of The Story Behind Referenced:

The Story Behind Sports Superstitions & Curses

The Story Behind Surfer Lingo

The Story Behind Christmas Traditions

The Story Behind Secret Ballots

Sources:

Uncle Sam - Encyclopedia Britannica

1813: United States nicknamed Uncle Sam - History.com

Was there a real “Uncle Sam”? - History.com

9 Things You Might Not Know About Uncle Sam - Mental Floss

John Bull and Uncle Sam: Four Centuries of British-American Relations - Library of Congress

Artist Biography: Joseph Ferdinand Keppler - Smithsonian Library

When America Was Female - The Atlantic

Columbia Pictures - Closing Logos Group

Sorry Uncle Sam, but Warrior Goddess Columbia Was Our Coolest National Mascot - Slate