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With Independence Day around the corner we are focusing our American history studies on our country’s Founding Fathers and the activities that took place in Philadelphia, PA during the summer of 1776.
For an introduction to the city’s history and many famous landmarks we turned to one of our favorite tour guides, Dave Stotts and his Drive Thru History series.
For this lesson we watched Episode 6: The Founding Fathers of Philadelphia which includes information about Ben Franklin, The Declaration House, The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (oh, and he even includes a stop to buy a Philly steak sandwich…!)
The Liberty Bell
One of the iconic symbols of America’s independence is the Liberty Bell.
The Liberty Bell had very humble beginnings – it was originally ordered by the colonial Assembly of Pennsylvania to hang in the State House. The bell would be rung to announce meetings and important events. Over the years, however, it has become a symbol of freedom and has traveled across the United States.
Did you know:
- These words are inscribed on the bell: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10).
- The bell was used throughout the Revolutionary War but near the end of the war was moved out of Philadelphia and hidden so advancing British soldiers would not melt it down to make ammunition.
- The old State House bell was first called the “Liberty Bell” by a group trying to outlaw slavery. These abolitionists remembered the words on the bell and, in the 1830s, adopted it as a symbol of their cause.
- Beginning in the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell traveled around the country to expositions and fairs to help heal the divisions of the Civil War.
- The bell weighs 2080 pounds and is made of 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin, and small amounts of lead, zinc, gold and silver.
With so many interesting facts to learn about this famous bell I created a short online “Liberty Bell: Timeline & Trivia” scavenger hunt for my kids which I am happy to share with your family:
Your children can search for the answers using these websites:
- The Liberty Bell Center
- Ben’s Guide to U. S. Government for Kids
- USHistory.org The Liberty Bell page
The Liberty Bell at Liberty Square
Since we aren’t able to make a trip to Philadelphia to see the original bell we decided to keep our learning closer to home and study history while visiting Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom instead.
A “second generation Liberty Bell can be found in Liberty Square. This bell was cast in 1989 from the same mold as the original bell that hangs in Philadelphia.
On your next visit to the Magic Kingdom be sure to add this quick history lesson to your visit too!