WORLD WAR I PROPAGANDA POSTERS
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Images of Uncle Sam
Uncle Sam appeared first in the 19th century. Some say he was based on the lanky figure of Abraham Lincoln. Although he had appeared frequently in political cartoons, World War I propaganda posters used the image extensively. His initials are also those of the country he represents.
Images of Lady Liberty
Images of Liberty as a goddess are as old as the Roman empire, and were introduced in America during the colonial period when she was named Columbia. She is most often depicted with a red "liberty cap," or, as Columbia, in a cap and gown made from the American flag. By the time of WWI, the Statue of Liberty, with her Roman gown, crown and torch, supplemented the image of Columbia. Neither of these figures is unique to the United States, and images of her can be found around the world, especially in France. She was an obvious choice for War Bond posters, called "Liberty Bonds." Note that in many of these images Liberty is carrying a sword. This was a deliberate conflation of the "goddess" of liberty with the ancient Greek goddess Athena, who was, among other things, the representation of just war.
Conservation on the Home Front
As with most wars, the people at home had to learn to save and conserve. They were encouraged to can and jar foods, grow their own gardens, and provide everything from knitted socks to books to the troops overseas. Posters urging conservation and donation were everywhere.
A Liberty Bond was a war bond that was sold in the United States to support the allied cause in World War I. Subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty in the United States and introduced the idea of financial securities to many citizens for the first time. The Act of Congress which authorized the Liberty Bonds is still used today as the authority under which all U.S. Treasury bonds are issued. These posters appeal to the patriotic in every citizen, including the elderly and the young. And, in case that didn't work, the graphic images of war on the land and sea might.