March 30, 2010

The Sixty Second Patriot #6

The Liberty Bell was originally ordered to for use in the provincial government building of Pennsylvania in 1751.  Its inscription reads:  "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof ," which is a quote from the Book of Leviticus.  It cracked almost immediately after its first testing.  It took two years to re-cast the bell, which by then weighed 2,080 pounds. 

It was rung to announce the first Continental Congress in 1774 and the battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775.  During the Revolution, the bell was hidden from the British Army so that it would not be melted down and made into a cannon.  The American army hid it in a haypile of an ordinary farmer turned soldier, and the bell survived the war, and was returned to Philadelphia, where it was rung to announce elections and the deaths of many important Americans.

The old crack started to show again in 1835 after many uses, and in 1846 on George Washington's birthday the bell was run many times and the crack we see on the bell today grew to the point that the bell had to be retired.  In the nineteenth century, anti-slavery activists adopted the bell as a symbol of an America where everyone could be free.  Today, replicas of the bell -- some with the crack and some without -- are used by many states and given as gifts from the United States to other countries, as symbols of a commitment to freedom.


The Sixty-Second Patriot series of posts is intended to provide teachers who are required to engage in patriotic exercises with truthful, age-appropriate, meaningful, educationally-rich, non-controversial, secular alternatives to rote recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as brief meditations on American history, civics, and values accessible to all people.  Suggestions and contributions to this series from Readers are welcome.

3 comments:

zzi said...

I don't think you planned it but it was nice mentioning the Liberty Bell on the first day of this holy feast of Passover. Maybe you can comment on Passover.

Transplanted Lawyer said...

I had no idea it was Passover. L'Chaim!

Deraj said...

You may also want to note that the bell did not become known as the Liberty Bell until it was taken up as a symbol by the abolitionists.