|Original Liberty Bell History (Cast in 1753)|
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|After 86 years the Pennsylvania State House Bell became known as The Liberty Bell. It relieved its name from this inscription from the King James Bible. The bell was cast in 1753 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Penn’s Charter of Privileges of 1701. It was a working bell in Independence Hall. Hidden in the Belfry, few would ever read the bell’s inscription: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants there of.” This Bible passage expressed the importance of the 50th year, or Jubilee. To the Israelites, Jubilee meant renewal and involved freeing servants, redistributing property and canceling debts. The colony of Pennsylvania proclaimed different liberties, The Liberties of the Charter of Privileges. Yet the quote would be forgotten as the State House Bell signaled the start of meetings, and rang in joyous celebration and in mournful tones proclaiming events for over 93 years.
Years passed, and in Boston, the abolitionists Friends of Freedom recalled the bell’s inscription. Writing against slavery they held the bell up as a challenge to Americans to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence. The bell’s famous crack was even said to symbolize the divide. It was God’s will. It said so on the bell. “Proclaim liberty…to all the inhabitants…” A sketch of the bell appeared on all their pamphlets with the title “Liberty Bell”, giving the bell its name. As the symbol of the Liberty Bell spread throughout the country, the seeds of our Civil War began to grow.
In 1846 the old State House Bell fell silent irreparably cracked and worn. Yet as a reminder of God’s will, the Liberty Bell still functioned. Displayed during the Centennial Exposition in 1876 the bell helped unite the country, and throughout the late 19th century, it toured the nation as an American treasure evoking patriotic displays at every stop. It returned to Philadelphia on Thursday, November 2nd, 1915, at 2:15 p.m. to rest, never to go again.
Silently, the bell has greeted the troops returning from World War I, reminding them of the liberties they had defended. Swiftly, its message traveled worldwide to mark the landing of the troops on D-Day in World War II. Today, it is an international symbol of inalienable rights spoken of in our Declaration of Independence “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
The work of the Liberty Bell is far from over. As the soldiers of the past cannot fight the battles of today, so replica Liberty Bells dot the globe proclaiming God’s message of love for all time to all men.
We wish to gratefully acknowledge the Independence Hall Association as the source the historical information provided.