“Step this way, gentlemen, to join the crew of America’s finest frigate.” Standing in the street of a seaport, Constitution’s recruiting officer Charles Morgan has a well-rehearsed story. He tells potential seamen about the pay, the food, and the chance of glory and fortune in the Navy. Many men in the crowd do not need any persuasion. Willing volunteers file into the Rendezvous. This makeshift recruiting office is a boarding house that Morgan has rented for two weeks.
Ask your students: what qualifications do you think were needed to join the Navy in the War of 1812? Join Constitution‘s Crew with this paper-based Recruiting Quiz. Pair students up and have one play the recruiter while the other plays the sailor.
Recruiting Through the Years
Recruiting advertisements were used before, during, and after the War of 1812, and still are used today. Share with students the following Recruiting Advertisements: a 1798 Newspaper Recruiting Article, a War of 1812 Recruitment Advertisement, and an Army Recruitment poster from World War I. Ask your students: is the recruiting message the same? How is it different? What role do the words, size and style play in communicating the recruitment message? Have students design and create a recruiting advertisement for a club, sport or activity that they enjoy. How can they get people to join through a piece of paper?
Design your Seabag
Leaving home for what may have been months on end with a crew whom you barely knew must have been frightening. Discuss with your students: what would you take with you to remind you of the comforts of home? Pictures, special tokens, letters? Share the image of John’s Lord’s seabag with your students, and encourage them to design and color their own seabag with images that remind them of home.