In America, there are many symbols that people equate with the concept of freedom. One of the most famous is the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

Cast in London, England, in 1752, the Liberty Bell was made for the Pennsylvania State House. It was ordered by the Pennsylvania Assembly to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges.

This charter gave Pennsylvania citizens precious freedoms such as the right to take part in making laws and choose their own religion.

Unfortunately, a small crack appeared in the bell shortly after it arrived in America. The bell was melted down and recast twice in 1753 by two local craftsmen, John Pass and John Stow.

Although more copper was added during each recasting, the bell eventually developed a thin crack again. By 1846, the thin crack had begun to affect the sound of the bell.

Although the bell was repaired again in 1846 just in time for it to ring for a George Washington birthday celebration, the crack remains, and the bell has not been rung since. No one knows why the crack originally appeared.

The Liberty Bell weighs more than a ton (approximately 2,080 pounds). It is made of 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and small amounts of lead, zinc, arsenic, silver and gold.

The Liberty Bell is a powerful symbol of the idea of freedom. It was rung at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.

It also features an inscription that conveys a message of liberty: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” This is a passage from Leviticus in the Bible.

Today, the Liberty Bell hangs at the Liberty Bell Pavilion on Market Street in Philadelphia. Thousands of people visit every year to see this unique American icon of freedom.

It still hangs on what experts believe is its original yoke made from American elm.

 

14 Join the Discussion

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    • Thank YOU for visiting Wonderopolis today and for letting us know the things you learned from today’s Wonder, Mrs. Russ’ Classroom! We appreciate hearing from our Wonder Friends, so we LOVED getting this comment from you! :-)

  1. It was interesting to learn that the Liberty bell was broken many times, and even that it had been fixed but the crack still came back. We also thought it was interesting to hear the differences between how the bell sounded before and after the crack. What an interesting thing to know that the bell was made up of so many different materials too!

    We even made the connection to symbols that represent our own city, Louisville, Ky. We have symbols that are special and represent our own city, like the liberty bell does for our country. We have the Louisville Slugger museum and HUGE bat, we have sports teams, the Belle of Louisville, and of course horses and statues that represent the Kentucky Derby (the twin spires and even statue horses that have been placed around the city).

    Wow! We learned a lot today! Thanks again!! :)

    • We are SO happy to hear that you learned many new things from this Wonder about the Liberty Bell, Kerrick Elementary! We also think it’s AWESOME that you did some extra WONDERing about symbols in your own city! Did you know that WE learned something new from YOUR comment today? We learned about the Belle of Louisville! :-)

      For any Wonder Friends who might want to learn more about the national historic landmark known as The Steamer Belle of Louisville, here is a great link: http://belleoflouisville.org/!

    • We predict you might be on to something about tomorrow’s Wonder, The Beach (Mrs. Guerin’s 2nd Grade Class)! You guys are GREAT at using those clues! Check back tomorrow to see if you were right! Thank you for hanging out in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  2. I think the Liberty Bell got rung too many times. I also think it might have gotten shot. I think the guy was smart. The Liberty Bell was cool. The Liberty Bell is a symbol of independence. They made the Liberty Bell in 1752. The Liberty Bell weighs 2080 pounds. There is writing on the Liberty Bell that comes from the bible. Liberty Bell is powerful for America. It was made in London. It got a big crack in it, so now it cannot be used.

    • WOW! You sure did learn a LOT of things about the Liberty Bell, Andrew! Thank you for sharing what you learned with everyone in Wonderopolis! :-)

  3. We enjoyed the provided link that showed us how the Liberty Bell sounded before being cracked and what it may have sounded like afterwards. We want to let you know that the sound of the Liberty Bell after being cracked never worked, although that may not be your fault. The pictures shown were quite interesting to look at, as well. When we got to the sheer weight of the bell, the fact quite surprised us.
    Two of our numbers have at least seen a version of the Liberty Bell. It doesn’t seem the bell is at the top of its grandeur, from our past experiences. But we must ask, how the heck did they move this huge mass of copper and who knows what?
    This article gave quite the bit of information, and sure was interesting. Please write back!

    The Power Puff Girls
    From Mrs. Taylor’s second period class

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Why is the Liberty Bell cracked?
  • What message is inscribed on the Liberty Bell?
  • How heavy is the Liberty Bell?

Wonder Gallery

Liberty Bell_shutterstock_35709913Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Can you imagine what it must have been like for the colonists to publicly hear these words proclaiming liberty for the first time? Can you imagine what the ringing bell must have sounded like?

Given its inscription and its history, it’s easy to see why the Liberty Bell is such a powerful symbol of freedom and liberty. What other symbols of freedom can you think of? How about the Statue of Liberty?

Talk with your friends, teachers or family members about local symbols and their meanings. Are there any symbols in your local area that represent people, values or ideals important in your local community?

If so, we’d love to learn more about them. Email us a photograph or a picture you’ve drawn of any important local symbols you find. Tell us all about them and why they’re important to your community!

 

Still Wondering

Check out EDSITEment’s Declare the Causes: The Declaration of Independence lesson to learn more about the history and significance of this famous document.

 

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