Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell, 1751, cast bronze, Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Assembly had the Liberty Bell made in 1751 to mark the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges. The quotation from Lev 25:10, was particularly apt for the reference to the hallowing of the fiftieth year. The bell did not acquired the name of the Liberty Bell until the late 1830’s when it became a symbol of the anti-slavery movement. The Abolitionists understood this passage to mean that the Bible demanded all slaves and prisoners be freed every 50 years. The choice of the quotation was made by Quaker Isaac Norris, speaker of the Assembly.

The first bell was ordered from Whitechapel Foundry in England. It cracked in transit and two Philadelphia foundry workers named John Pass and John Stow were given the cracked bell to be melted down and recast locally. There were several more iterations of the bell as it was melted down and recast in an attempt to make one that did not crack and sounded right. Eventually a second one was ordered. Today there are two Liberty Bells, the Whitechapel bell and the Pass and Stow bell.


Lev 25:10

10And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall ret ... View more

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