The Liberty Bell is the most important symbol of American independence. The metal used to create the bell included four melted-down cannons: one used by each side in the American Revolutionary War, and one used by each side in the Civil War. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Liberty Bell was formerly housed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall). Today, the 2,098-pound bronze bell can be found at the Independence National Historical Park and is visited by the many tourists who travel to Philadelphia each year to learn more about America's history.
in 1752, the Liberty Bell was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack (today is known as the Whitechapel Bell Foundry) and engraved with the words "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," a Biblical reference from the Book of Leviticus (25:10). The bell first cracked when rung after its arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice remade by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. The Liberty Bell's main use was to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions held at Independence Hall and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations.
After 90 years of use, the crack of the Liberty Bell was repaired in 1846 by widening it. However, the repair was unsuccessful and caused another crack, silencing the bell forever. Beginning in the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell was taken around the United States for display at expositions and fairs. Additionally, the Liberty Bell was present at movements for Women's Suffrage and Civil Rights during which the passage of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in 1920 was passed to allow women to vote. The Liberty Bell remains a symbol of independence for Americans. Although we can no longer hear it ring, its presence in Philadephia is enough to remind us of the history of our nation.
Cover image by ziver00 Flickr Images.