Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell, historic relic in Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia. First hung in Independence Hall in 1753, it bore the inscription, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof” (Lev. 25.10). The tradition that the bell was rung when the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, is based on a fictional account, but it may well have been among the Philadelphia bells rung on July 8th when the Declaration was first proclaimed in public. Taken to Allentown and hidden (1777–78) during the British occupation of Philadelphia, it was later brought back. In 1781 it was moved from the steeple to the hall's brick tower. It was said to crack in 1835 tolling the death of John Marshall, but this is based on a much later account; it is known that an existing crack increased in 1846 when the bell was rung to commemorate Washington's birthday. In the years before the Civil War the bell was adopted as a symbol of liberty by abolitionists, who gave it (1837) its name. In 1976 the bell was moved to a new pavilion behind Independence Hall.

See V. Rosewater, The Liberty Bell (1926); C. M. Boland, Ring in the Jubilee (1973).

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