Liberty Bell

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Liberty Bell,

historic relic in Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia. First hung in Independence HallIndependence Hall,
historic building on Independence Square, downtown Philadelphia, in Independence National Historical Park. Originally constructed as the Pennsylvania colony's statehouse in 1732, the hall was the scene of the proclamation of the U.S.
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 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 IndependenceDeclaration of Independence,
full and formal declaration adopted July 4, 1776, by representatives of the Thirteen Colonies in North America announcing the separation of those colonies from Great Britain and making them into the United States.
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 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 MarshallMarshall, John,
1755–1835, American jurist, 4th chief justice of the United States (1801–35), b. Virginia. Early Life

The eldest of 15 children, John Marshall was born in a log cabin on the Virginia frontier (today in Fauquier co., Va.
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, 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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Liberty Bell

symbol of American freedom; at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 284]
See: America
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.