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I Want You

"I Want You"
-by James Montgomery Flagg

The most famous poster of the war was James Montgomery Flagg's depiction of a demanding Uncle Sam pointing his finger at the viewer, emphatically declaring "I Want You." Flagg's poster rejected earlier characterizations of Uncle Sam as a passive old man and transformed him into an authoritative, take-charge leader.

Preferring to work with a live model as inspiration, Flagg himself, donned a hat and fake beard to serve as the model for Uncle Sam. Flagg's concept for the poster was inspired by Alfred Leete's 1914 British war poster, which featured the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, pointing his finger and declaring "Your Country Needs YOU." Flagg's poster struck such a deep chord with the American public that four million copies were produced during the war. When World War II came around, the image was re-enlisted for service.

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