‘He Kept Us out of War? was President Woodrow Wilson?s 1916 reelection slogan. But less than a month after his second inaugural, on April 6, 1917, he signed a war declaration against Germany and its allies. A week later, Wilson formed the Committee on Public Information, which employed modern publicity techniques to sell the American people on the necessity and wisdom of jumping into the Great War. To assist the effort, renowned magazine illustrator James Montgomery Flagg created the iconic image of Uncle Sam pointing directly at potential Army recruits above the legend I Want You.
Magazines and newspapers featured Flagg?s new enlistment tool, and this life-size poster has been seared into our collective memory.
Flagg, at right with his famous poster, sketched Uncle Sam?s face after his own, to avoid having to hire a model.
Image: Library of Congress