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Liberty Bonds of World War I (WW1)

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Language Arts And English +2 Age Level High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection presents three different liberty bonds primary sources dating from 1918: a postcard, sheet music/song, and a celebrity aviator's brochure. With these resources students will explore Liberty Bonds, also called war bonds or liberty loans, which were essentially loans from the American people to the U.S. government to fund the Allies' involvement in World War I. Many public campaigns presented purchasing bonds as the patriotic way to support the war from the home front. Carefully chosen words and imagery conveyed this message and persuaded Americans to act quickly, through both subtle and direct messaging. 

Essential questions: What role did Liberty Bonds play in financing the U.S. WWI effort? How did persuasive language techniques and visuals lead many Americans to see Liberty Bonds as part of their patriotic duty on the home front? 

Keywords: primary source, secondary source, soldiers, World War I, Great War, Ruth Law, "What are you going to do to help the boys?", army, military, Uncle Sam, WWI, persuasion, advertising

This collection was created in conjunction with the National Postal Museum's "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" teacher workshop (July 19, 2017). It focuses on one of the many postcards from this topical collection to demonstrate its use in the secondary classroom. #NPMTeacherPrograms

Liberty Bonds promotional postcard

National Postal Museum

“What Are You Going to Do to Help the Boys” Sheet Music

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Law, Ruth B. (Oliver). [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Law, Ruth B. (Oliver). [photograph]

National Air and Space Museum Archives