When it comes to American history, few artifacts generate as many questions as the Liberty Bell. Housed in Philadelphia, the bell famously features a crack that has caused many to wonder about its origin over the years.
The Liberty Bell was first introduced in 1751, but it actually was called the State House Bell. Created for the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, it earned its more famous nickname nearly 100 years later.
Over time, it has served many purposes and remains an important piece of American history.
Originally commissioned by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly, the bell features an inscription that says, “Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof.”
From a size perspective, the bell is actually quite larger than most people expect. It checks in at 3 feet high with a circumference of 12 feet.
Constructed with about 70 percent copper and 25 percent tin, it weighs in at almost 2,100 pounds. Despite its massive size, it still managed to get a crack in it around the time of its initial use in 1752. According to Stephen Fried, a journalist and historian who teaches at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, the crack resulted in a whole plan to fix the famous bell.
“A replacement bell was ordered immediately from England, but in the meantime, local founders John Pass and John Stow melted down the busted original, added some metal of their own, and made a copy.
That copy is what we know as the Liberty Bell, but the foundry in England also sent a replacement, and both hung in the new State House tower.”
Of course, the Liberty Bell earned its time-tested name in 1835, when it first appeared in a pamphlet published by the New York Anti-Slavery Society.
Some historians believe the bell got cracked that year when it was rung to signal the death of John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States.
Less than a decade later, repairmen actually widened the crack in an effort to fix the bell. Unfortunately, that proved unsuccessful.
Nowadays, the Liberty Bell resides at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. And while some still want to fix it, it has gone unchanged and still remains a powerful symbol.
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