America’s Icon of Freedom: The Liberty Bell
It was Pennsylvania’s bell before it was America’s. Commissioned by the colonial legislature in 1751 to commemorate the Jubilee (50th) anniversary of William Penns’ Charter of Privileges, the bell was to hang in the steeple of the new statehouse (now Independence Hall). The purchase order specified that a Bible verse from Leviticus 25:10 be inscribed on it: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” The bell cracked the first time it was rung. Was it bad metallurgy or a metaphor of liberty’s fragility? In the 1830s the bell was adopted as a symbol of freedom by abolitionists, who gave it its name. Today It is one of the most recognized symbols of American freedom.
Discover Philadelphia’s hidden history and how faith has guided liberty toward justice with our curated ecosystem of trails that explore the city’s must-see sites!