Lest Liberty Perish from the Face of the Earth - Buy Bonds


In 1917 the United States entered the Great War, as World War I was known at the time. A national propaganda campaign was started to convince Americans to support the war effort. Some of the images used in this campaign have become a permanent part of American cultural iconography, notably J.M. Flagg’s famed 1917 poster of Uncle Sam declaring, “I want YOU.” In addition to recruiting troops to fight, the U.S. government issued “Liberty Bonds” to help finance the war effort. Artists helped the cause by making patriotic appeals to citizens to buy war bonds. In this watercolor sketch for a Liberty Bonds poster, Joseph Pennell uses fear to make his case. He paints Lady Liberty as decapitated, with her torch lying in wreckage, and New York City engulfed in flames. In reality, the fighting in World War I never touched U.S. soil.

Last updated: November 14, 2017