Thursday, July 8

The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell, one of the symbols of American freedom, received its famous crack on this day in 1835 as it tolled for the death of Chief Justice John C. Marshall. Originally hung in 1753 in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell bore the inscription, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof." During the British occupation of Philadelphia from 1777-78, it was removed and hidden for fear of its destruction.


Lawrence Underwood said...

For some reason this post cracks me up.

Sorry, I couldn't resist and please forgive me for that terrible grammar. :)

Lawrence Underwood said...

I was reflecting upon this post when I was not so sleep deprived yesterday. I found it amazing and inspiring that the Founders of this nation of States treasured liberty so much that they would hide a symbol of it from their enemy. Today we so little treasure the gift of liberty that we allow it to be perverted, redefined, and minimised on an almost daily basis. Even our most known symbol of liberty has been co-opted and turned into a symbol of unlimited immigration, something unrelated to its original intent. That great Second Colossus, Lady Liberty, strides forth torch in hand away from these shores symbolising that the USA is the societal fountainhead of liberty on this earth.

Unknown said...

Hello Mr. Grant,
This isn't really a comment or meant to be shared. It's more of a request. I am a homeschool senior. I love studying history, and recently I have become interested in the life of Andrew Jackson. I don't know where to look for a good bio, though. I was wondering if you had any recommendations for history books in general, on Jackson in particular. Thanks so much,
Jordanna Park,

Bruce J said...

A clarification - at the time of the Revolution the bell was known simply as the "State House bell" It had not yet been nicknamed "the Liberty Bell" nor attained quite the symbolism now attached to it. The current moniker was invented by 1830s abolitionists who found its dedicatory verse (from Lev 25, about the freeing of SLAVES in the year of Jubilee) most fitting to their cause.

Now it's possible the hiding of the bell was indeed because it was connected with the place (Pennsylvania State House) where Congress was meeting & had adopted the Declaration of Independence, so that they already had begun to regard it as a symbol of national freedom.

But they might as well -- and until I see contrary documentary evidence I regard this as more likely -- have secreted it away as an important symbol of the state of Pennsylvania, and its liberty. The two, of course, need not be so very different; the freedom of the nations & of the constituent states were intertwined.

Do note that the bell itself may have had a symbolic significance for the cause of liberty within Pennsylvania from the time of its creation. The bell was ordered in 1751, which just happened to have been the 50th anniversary of the "Charter of Liberties", which recognized the authority of the State Assembly over that of William Penn & the Proprietorship.

I would, in any case, love to see any contemporary remarks made about this action that might shed light on the thought of the actors.