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Little Round Dollar Poem, Liberty Loan Campaign, World War I, c. 1917

The Little Round Dollar
New York State Archives, NYSA_A0412-78_B11_F12_LittleRoundDollar
 
Document Description
The "Little Round Dollar Poem" was used for the Liberty Loan campaign to raise funds for World War I, c. 1917.
 
Questions
List three specific things a “little round dollar” could do based on this poem.
What was the purpose of this poem?
How is this poem a form of propaganda?
 
Historical Challenges
Research the value of a dollar in 1917. What did a dollar look like? What could people buy with a dollar? How do you think children viewed a “little round dollar” during World War I?
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a poem encouraging people to give money to a particular cause.
 
Resources
Kennedy, David. Over Here: The First World War and American Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
Pack, Charles Lathrop. The War Garden Victorious. J. B. Lippincott Company: Philadelphia, 1919.
Wynn, Neil A. From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1986.
 

Historical Context
During World War I, the government relied heavily on war bonds to finance the war. However, many Americans could not afford even the cheapest war bond which cost 50 dollars. War bonds funded $21 million of the $33 million cost of the war. The Treasury Department began issuing Thrift Stamps and War Savings Stamps to bring in more money and allow those who could not afford to buy war bonds to contribute to the war effort.

Each stamp cost 25-cents and 16 stamps could be exchanged for a War Savings Certificate. These certificates were insured against loss and could be sold back to the post office with ten days written notice. War Savings Certificates accumulated 4 percent interest compounded quarterly and the investor did not pay taxes on the profit. If the purchaser chose to hold on to the certificate until January 1, 1923, the certificate would be considered mature and could be sold back to the government for 5 dollars. The Thrift Stamps raised $1 billion for the war effort.

School teachers brought this fund-raising effort to their students in an effort to encourage patriotism and teach the importance of saving.

 
Essential Question
How do governments encourage public support of military involvement?
 
Check for Understanding
Indentify the overall message of this poem and explain its intended purpose.