Skip to main content
Select Source:

Liberty Bell

LIBERTY BELL


LIBERTY BELL. The bell was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges. Whitechapel Foundry produced the bell, which cracked as it was being tested. The bell is inscribed with the words from Leviticus 25:10 "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." It tolled for the reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776. During the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777, the bell was hidden away. After it was rung for Washington's birthday in 1846, the crack widened, rendering the bell unringable. It is now ceremoniously tapped each Fourth of July.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kramer, Justin. Cast in America. Los Angeles: J. Kramer, 1975.

Connie AnnKirk

See alsoIndependence Hall ; Philadelphia .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Liberty Bell." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Liberty Bell." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/liberty-bell

"Liberty Bell." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved October 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/liberty-bell

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell, historic relic in Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia. First hung in Independence Hall in 1753, it bore the inscription, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof" (Lev. 25.10). The tradition that the bell was rung when the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, is based on a fictional account, but it may well have been among the Philadelphia bells rung on July 8th when the Declaration was first proclaimed in public. Taken to Allentown and hidden (1777–78) during the British occupation of Philadelphia, it was later brought back. In 1781 it was moved from the steeple to the hall's brick tower. It was said to crack in 1835 tolling the death of John Marshall, but this is based on a much later account; it is known that an existing crack increased in 1846 when the bell was rung to commemorate Washington's birthday. In the years before the Civil War the bell was adopted as a symbol of liberty by abolitionists, who gave it (1837) its name. In 1976 the bell was moved to a new pavilion behind Independence Hall.

See V. Rosewater, The Liberty Bell (1926); C. M. Boland, Ring in the Jubilee (1973).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Liberty Bell." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Liberty Bell." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-bell

"Liberty Bell." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-bell

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell US monument housed in Independence Hall, Philadelphia. According to legend, it was rung in July 1776 to celebrate the American Declaration of Independence.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Liberty Bell." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Liberty Bell." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-bell

"Liberty Bell." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-bell

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

The Pennsylvania Assembly ordered a bell for the tower of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , in 1751. The bell, known as the Liberty Bell, was to commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of William Penn 's 1701 Charter of Privileges, the state's original constitution. Penn wrote of the freedoms and rights valued by people all over the world. Because of that idea of freedom, abolitionists (those who fought against slavery ) adopted the Liberty Bell as their symbol. (See Abolition Movement .)

A line from the Bible, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” is inscribed on the bell. Also inscribed is the line, “By Order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania for the State House in Philada.” The spelling of “Pennsylvania” had not yet been formalized, and it is spelled with one “n” in the original constitution as well as on original maps of the thirteen colonies . “Philada” was an abbreviation for “Philadelphia.”

Took a few tries

The bell, which was forged by Whitechapel Foundry, arrived in Philadelphia in September 1752, although it was not hung until March 10, 1753. During that initial hanging, the bell cracked. Experts of the day believed the crack was due to the iron being too brittle, but more modern experts think the casting process itself was flawed, leaving the bell imperfect.

John Pass and John Stow, Philadelphia foundry workers, added copper to the bell hoping to make it less brittle, but the townsfolk disliked the sound of the mended bell. The two workers tried again. This time, they completely recast the bell. Isaac Norris, one of the original writers of the letter that was sent to order the bell, disliked the tone of the new bell and asked that another bell be made by Whitechapel.

When the new bell arrived, it sounded no better than the bell that had been recast by Pass and Stow. So the original Liberty Bell remains in the steeple, and the newer bell hangs in the dome of the roof of the state house. It is attached to a clock and rings on the hour.

There is a legend dating back to 1847 that tells of eager Americans waiting to hear the news that independence had been declared in 1776. An elderly bellman was waiting word in the steeple while his young grandson eavesdropped on Congress. When the boy supposedly heard the declaration made behind closed doors, he yelled to his grandfather to ring the bell. Since that time, the bell has been associated with the Declaration of Independence .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Liberty Bell." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Liberty Bell." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-bell

"Liberty Bell." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . Retrieved October 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-bell

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

LIBERTY BELL. The bell that would become the Liberty Bell was ordered by the Pennsylvania assembly in 1752 from London's Whitechapel Foundry. The inscription, in two lines around its circumference, read: "By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania for the State house in the City of Phila 1752" and "Proclaim Liberty thro' all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.—Levit. XXV.10." It arrived at Philadelphia in August 1752 and cracked upon testing. It was recast in Philadelphia and hung in the steeple of the State House in June 1753. The 2,080-pound bell, over five feet tall, was rung on many occasions during the imperial crisis, sometimes muffled if the news was considered to be a blow to American liberties. Tradition says that it rang out on 8 July 1776 after the Declaration of Independence was read on the steps of the State House, but given the decrepit state of the steeple, there is reason to doubt the tradition. Because the British were about to occupy Philadelphia, the bell was taken down on 23 September 1777 and carried to Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was brought back on 27 June 1778 but not re-hung for seven years, until a new steeple was constructed in 1785. Rung on many special occasions over the next half century, it seems to have begun to crack sometime in 1835. The final damage, a two-foot-long zigzag crack which silenced it, occurred in 1846 when it was rung on Washington's birthday. The first documented use of the name "Liberty Bell" occurred in 1839 in William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator.

                      revised by Harold E. Selesky

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Liberty Bell." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Liberty Bell." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-bell-0

"Liberty Bell." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Retrieved October 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/liberty-bell-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.