Uncle Sam (initials U.S.) is a common national personification of the American government or the United States in general that, according to legend, came into use during the War of 1812 and was supposedly named for Samuel Wilson. Its actual origin is obscure. Uncle Sam represents a manifestation of patriotic emotion.
Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York who supplied rations for the soldiers during the War of 1812. There was a requirement at the time for contractors to stamp their name and where the rations came from onto the food they were sending. Wilson's packages were labeled "E.A – US." When someone asked what that stood for, a coworker joked and said, "Elbert Anderson (the contractor) and Uncle Sam," referring to Sam Wilson, though it actually stood for United States. Doubts have been raised as to this being the source of the term, as the claim did not appear in print until 1842. Additionally, the earliest reference to the term that has been found is from 1810, predating Wilson's contract with the government. As early as 1835, Brother Jonathan made a reference to Uncle Sam, implying that they symbolized different things: Brother Jonathan was the country itself, while Uncle Sam was the government and its power.