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The Mysterious Story of the Liberty Bell: And What’s the Crack All About?

Posted by Justin on

There are few symbols as well-known to Americans as the Liberty Bell: a dramatically cracked bell that was supposedly rung with the reading of the Declaration of Independence.

But where did the Bell come from and how did it become cracked in the first place?

Here’s a crash course on the history of the Liberty Bell...


Origins of the Liberty Bell

Technically, the Liberty Bell was the second to be installed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia – the first was evidently unsatisfactory to Isaac Norris, the then-speaker for the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly. So he ordered a replacement.

The Liberty Bell we all know was commissioned in 1751 to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Charter of Privileges, a 1701 document written by William Penn for the Pennsylvania state Constitution (which was that state’s guiding document before the formation of the US).

The inscription spoke of important rights and freedoms that were universal around the world, and this inscription may have even influenced the upcoming Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

This inscription also gained later importance in US history, when many abolitionists prior to the Civil War used the Liberty Bell as an important symbol in their fight to end slavery throughout the union.

Unfortunately, the myth that the Bell was rung to commemorate the passing of the Declaration of Independence is untrue, or at least unrecorded.

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The Famous Crack – Where Did it Come From?

No one truly knows where the Liberty Bell’s crack came from, though you should know that cracks in bells like this are not uncommon. Hair-line cracks emerged relatively shortly after its installation in Independence Hall. But it wasn’t until George Washington’s birthday in 1846 that the main crack the Bell is now known for emerged and spread, preventing it from being used again.

Fortunately for the Liberty Bell, however, the above-mentioned focus on its symbolism by the abolitionists caused idealist groups to transport the Bell across the nation, especially after the Civil War. The Bell symbolized the need for the country to reunite after the trauma of the past few years.

As for why it cracked in the first place? No one is sure about the root cause, but it's likely that the Liberty Bell simply had some metallurgic flaws in its base construction that would have resulted in a crack sooner or later.

Modern Significance

After its tours around the country, the Liberty Bell came to rest in Independence Hall. For several decades after it first arrived on September 25, 1920, the Bell was symbolically rung in annual celebrations of the 19th Amendment’s ratification. Now, though, it is silent for good and stands as a monument you can visit during guided tours.

Today, the Liberty Bell stands as a strong symbol for what America is and what it can become. We’re more divided than ever before, but we can rediscover our past unity and use it to grow stronger.

Take the time to visit the Liberty Bell if you have the chance – it’s an iconic and treasured part of American history.

Thank you for reading, stay strong patriots.   

Justin | Right Wing Gear
Maine, USA

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