Liberty Bonds

Woodrow Wilson

Definition and Summary of Liberty Bonds
Summary and Definition: In 1917 and 1918 the US Government raised money to help finance the war by selling Liberty Bonds, so named to appeal to the patriotism of Americans. Liberty Bonds were conceived by the Secretary of the Treasury, William Gibbs McAdoo. By buying the Liberty Bonds, Americans were loaning the government money. The US government agreed to repay the money plus interest in a specified number of years. Victory Bonds were issued after the war ended. To ensure the banking system was not harmed the interest rates paid on Liberty and Victory Bonds were lower than those paid by the banking institutions. By the end of the Great War, the US Government debt was more than $25 billion.

WW1 Liberty Bonds for kids
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th American President who served in office from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921. One of the important events during his presidency was the Liberty Bonds.


Beat back the hun with liberty bonds Poster

WW1 Liberty Bonds Facts for kids: Fast Fact Sheet
Fast, fun facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about Liberty Bonds.

What were Liberty Bonds? The US government Liberty Bonds were a special issue of WW1 US government bonds. Bonds are official notes that are sold with the promise to pay the money back, with interest, on a certain date.

What was the purpose of Liberty Bonds? The main purpose of the Liberty Bonds was to raise money for WW1, they also encouraged Americans to save rather than spend controlling inflation during the wartime economy.

How did Liberty Bonds work? The Liberty Bonds were a direct and unconditional promise of the United States to pay upon a certain date a specified sum of money in gold, together with interest at a specific rate, payable at specific dates until the bond matures, or was called for redemption.

How did Liberty Bonds help the war effort?: The Liberty Bonds  inspired patriotism and allowed Americans on the home front to feel they were making a valuable contribution to the war effort. Advertising Liberty Bonds were used extensively in WW1 propaganda campaigns

Propaganda Poster: Beat back the Hun with Liberty Bonds
The poster 'Beat back the Hun with Liberty Bonds' was created by artist and cartoonist Fred Strothmann (1879-1958). Frederick Strothmann was the son of German immigrants, born in Philadelphia. He studied at the Carl Hecker Art School in New York City, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and in Paris. The 'Beat back the Hun' poster was one of the most effective issued by the Committee on Public Information (CPI). The gruesome and frightening poster features the head of a a blood-thirsty "Hun" (German) with piercing eyes and a blood-stained fingers and bayonet looking across the Atlantic Ocean towards America.. The Creel Committee promoted German hatred and used a variety of Propaganda Techniques using fear to promote their message.

Issues of Liberty Bonds
There were a total of four Liberty Loan Bond issues and one Victory Loan Bond issue. The dates and interest rates are detailed on the following table:

Issues of Liberty Bonds

Date  -  Amount Offered ($ Billion)  -  Interest Rate

24 April, 1917  -  $5 Billion  -  3.5%

1 October, 1917  -  $3 Billion  -  4%

5 April, 1918  -  $3 Billion  -  4.5%

28 September, 1918  -  $6 Billion  -  4.25%

21 April, 1919 (Victory Bond)  -  $4.5 Billion  -  4.75%

Converted Liberty Bonds
Many of the first two issues of Liberty Bonds were redeemed or converted to higher interest rate issues. The converted bonds were exchanged into the "First Liberty Bond Converted" or "Second Liberty Bond Converted" issues.

Liberty Bonds Facts for kids
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on WW1 Liberty Bonds for kids.

Facts about Liberty Bonds for kids

Liberty Bonds Fact 1: Liberty Bonds were sold in denominations of $50 to $100,000.

Liberty Bonds Fact 2: The smaller denominations of $50 and $100 enabled lower income Americans to participate in the scheme. The higher denominations were purchased by wealthy individuals, banks and by U.S. corporations

Liberty Bonds Fact 3: There were a total of four Liberty Loan Bond issues and one Victory Loan Bond issue.

Liberty Bonds Fact 4: The 3.5% interest was tax exempt except for estate and inheritance taxes.

Liberty Bonds Fact 5: In 1917 alone U.S. citizens bought $18.7 billion worth of the bonds

Liberty Bonds Fact 6: The Liberty Bonds introduced the idea of financial securities to many American citizens and encouraged the concept of investment by people from all walks of life.


Facts about Liberty Bonds for kids

Facts about Liberty Bonds for kids
The following fact sheet continues with facts about WW1 Liberty Bonds for kids.

Facts about Liberty Bonds for kids

Liberty Bonds Fact 7: In December 1917, the Treasury Department offered War Savings Certificates and Saving Stamps to enable children and low-income Americans to invest in the war effort. The 25 cent stamps were collected in books and exchanged for $5 savings certificates.

Liberty Bonds Fact 8: A variety of methods were used to promote the sale of Liberty Bonds. Newspapers, pamphlets and magazines all carried adverts.

Liberty Bonds Fact 9: Famous Hollywood movie stars played their part in publicity campaigns. Al Jolson, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Claudette Colbert and Charlie Chaplin were among the celebrities that made public appearances promoting the patriotic element of purchasing Liberty Bonds. Hollywood in the 1920s

Liberty Bonds Fact 10: Charlie Chaplin also made a short propaganda movie called 'The Bond', at his own expense, for the drive. The movie was released on 29 September 1918 and featured a short series of humorous sketches and ended with Charlie Chaplin using a Liberty Bond to literally K.O. the German Kaiser.

Liberty Bonds Fact 11: "Four Minute Men" delivered speeches to encourage sales and driving home patriotic duty to American citizens.

Liberty Bonds Fact 12: For the third Liberty Bond issue, there were approximately 9 million posters and 10 million button badges produced.

Liberty Bonds Fact 13: About 50% of all American families bought Liberty war bonds, most between $5 and $100 worth. The other 50% of the total number sold were purchased by financial institutions in $10,000 increments

Liberty Bonds Fact 14: The US government again sold war bonds during World War II (193945)  to help raise funds for the fight for freedom.

Facts about Liberty Bonds for kids

Facts about Liberty Bonds for kids: American entry and US role World War I
On April 6, 1917 the United States Senate declared war on Germany and fought with the allies in WW1. For additional facts and information refer to the following links: .

Liberty Bonds for kids - President Woodrow Wilson Video
The article on the Liberty Bonds provides detailed facts and a summary of one of the important events during his presidential term in office. The following Woodrow Wilson video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 28th American President whose presidency spanned from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921.

Liberty Bonds

Interesting Facts for kids and schools
Key events and WW1 economy for kids
The Liberty Bonds, a major event in US history
Woodrow Wilson Presidency from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921
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Foreign & Domestic policies of President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson Presidency and Liberty Bonds for schools, homework, kids and children

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