The Liberty Bell, previously called the State House Bell or Old State House Bell, is an iconic symbol of American independence, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138.
Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.
A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship.
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Once placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, the bell today is located in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park.
Independence National Historical Park is a United States National Park in Philadelphia that preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution and the nation's founding history.
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The bell was commissioned in 1752 by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from the London firm of Lester and Pack, and was cast with the lettering "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof", a Biblical reference from the Book of Leviticus.
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Torah and of the Old Testament; scholars generally agree that it developed over a long period of time, reaching its present form during the Persian Period between 538-332 BCE.
The Province of Pennsylvania, also known as the Pennsylvania Colony, was founded in English North America by William Penn on March 4, 1681 as dictated in a royal charter granted by King Charles II.
The bell first cracked when rung after its arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell.
In its early years, the bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens about public meetings and proclamations.
Although no immediate announcement was made of the Second Continental Congress's vote for independence—and so the bell could not have rung on July 4, 1776, related to that vote—bells were rung on July 8 to mark the reading of the United States Declaration of Independence.
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain, regarded themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule.
The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the summer of 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
While there is no contemporary account of the Liberty Bell ringing, most historians believe it was one of the bells rung.
After American independence was secured, the bell fell into relative obscurity until, in the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who dubbed it the "Liberty Bell".
The bell acquired its distinctive large crack some time in the early 19th century—a widespread story claims it cracked while ringing after the death of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835.
John Marshall was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835.
The bell became famous after an 1847 short story claimed that an aged bellringer rang it on July 4, 1776, upon hearing of the Second Continental Congress' vote for independence.
Despite the fact that the bell did not ring for independence on that July 4, the tale was widely accepted as fact, even by some historians.
Beginning in 1885, the city of Philadelphia—which owns the bell—allowed it to go to various expositions and patriotic gatherings.
The bell attracted huge crowds wherever it went, additional cracking occurred, and pieces were chipped away by souvenir hunters.
The last such journey occurred in 1915, after which the city refused further requests.
After World War II, Philadelphia allowed the National Park Service to take custody of the bell, while retaining ownership.
The National Park Service is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all U.S. national parks, many American national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although conflicts reflecting the ideological clash between what would become the Allied and Axis blocs began earlier.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.
The bell was used as a symbol of freedom during the Cold War and was a popular site for protests in the 1960s.
The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc and powers in the Eastern Bloc.
It was moved from its longtime home in Independence Hall to a nearby glass pavilion on Independence Mall in 1976, and then to the larger Liberty Bell Center adjacent to the pavilion in 2003.
Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted.
The bell has been featured on coins and stamps, and its name and image have been widely used by corporations.