The Sad Tale of the Liberty Bell

The Sad Tale of the Liberty Bell

( – Most of what you probably know about the Liberty Bell is not true. Many of the stories are nothing more than that, full of falsehoods based on misunderstandings.

Did the bell ring to mark the first Independence Day? Why does it have such a big crack? Why is “Pennsylvania” misspelled in the inscription? The answers to these questions require looking back in time to its original commission.

Making the Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell resides in the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, because that was always its intended home. The National Park Service explains Issac Norris ordered the bell’s creation. He was the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751, and he wanted a new bell for the State House.

Whitechapel Foundry in London made the original, called the State House Bell, at a cost of $225.50. However, upon reaching Pennsylvania, the first test ring caused it to crack. Norris had two locals melt it down and recast it.

Words on the Bell

The inscription on the Liberty Bell is a verse from the Bible, Leviticus 25:10. It speaks of the celebration when slaves were set free and the right to liberty for everyone. It also includes information about the commission and recasting of the bell, which includes a misspelling of the word “Pennsylvania.”

However, the National Science Foundation states this is not a misspelling. At that time, “Pensylvania” was an acceptable spelling.

The Sound of Freedom

The Liberty bell rang a lot after its recasting from 1753 to 1846. It rang for many important events, such as the signing of the Constitution and the deaths of leaders, including Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, and Franklin.

There is no proof that it was tolled on July 4th or 8th of 1776 to celebrate the country’s independence. The story about it ringing on July 4th came from a magazine writer in 1847 who admits to making it up. As for July 8th, the steeple was under construction, so the bell was unavailable.

The last ringing of the bell was in February 1846, in commemoration of George Washington’s birthday when it cracked once again. There were attempts to fix the split, and what’s there now is the result of the repair job.

The idea was to widen it, which would hopefully let the bell continue to ring. However, the repair created another crack that rendered it unusable and silenced it forever.

In the 19th Century, it became a symbol of freedom, traveling the country multiple times and inspiring abolitionists, which is how it got the name “Liberty Bell.” It toured until 1915 when it became too fragile to continue and returned to its current home.

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