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Interpreting the Evidence

Food Rationing, "Loyalty in Small Things Last Proof of Patriotism"

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Food Rationing, "Loyalty in Small Things Last Proof of Patriotism," c. 1917 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Food rationing article: "Loyalty in Small Things Last Proof of Patriotism." Newspaper items about food rationing and applauding the willingness of Americans to reduce their sugar consumption and donate food to their allies, World War I, c. 1917.
Historical Context
These short articles describe the efforts that were being made by U.S. citizens to conserve, save, and share food.  They also illustrate the benefits of doing this, such as increased exports to the Allies.  There is a focus on patriotism and the power of volunteering.

Beyond food rationing, the planting of victory gardens was another way that the American people helped with the war effort.  The purpose was to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort.  Many homeowners planted victory gardens in their yards.  These gardens were usually made up of vegetables, fruits and herbs. Schoolchildren spent  time after-school growing vegetables in public parks.  As a result of these and similar efforts, American food shipments to the Allies tripled. 
The Food Administration, under the leadership of Herbert Hoover, also set a high government price on wheat and other staples.  Farmers responded to this by producing more, and many increased their income during the war years.
Essential Question
How does military conflict impact a national economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the strategies used to counter the economic strains of the war and explain how these strategies would contribute to the war effort.
Historical Challenges
In what other wars was rationing used? What items were rationed?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a newspaper article describing how Americans are helping conserve food.
Art: Draw a picture of a victory garden.