This week, all across the Metroblogging network, cities are offering up the gifts that their city has given the world. We in Philly have been hard at work trying to narrow down the gifts that the City of Brotherly Love has bestowed upon our fair planet.
Today we offer you democracy in the form of the US Constitution as well as the beloved symbol of freedom, The Liberty Bell.
In the late 1700’s, Philadelphia was home to the new American movers and shakers who were working to create a new country, free from the tyrannical rule of England. On September 17th, 1787 the United States Constitution was adopted in it’s original form by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. It took effect on March 4th, 1789, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document. It replaced the weaker Articles of Confederation. When the Constitution was completed, Ben Franklin stood up and stated that while he wasn’t completely satisfied by the new document, perfection was impossible to achieve.
An interesting tidbit: While the majority of the men who signed the Constitution were remarkably long-lived for their era, two of the men had their lives cut short. Both Alexander Hamilton and Richard Dobbs Spaight were killed in duels.
The Liberty Bell was adopted by the abolitionist movement as their symbol in 1837. Before that it was known at the Statehouse Bell, and it rang to announce the opening of the first Continental Congress in 1774, the end of the Battle of Lexington and Concord and to announce the reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It is not known when the current crack first appeared, although there is record of the bell being sent for repairs in 1846. It was retired and put on display in 1852. It traveled the country from 1885 until 1915 so all could view the famed bell.
My mom remembers when it was displayed out in the open at Independence Hall. She remembers as a school kid in the 1950’s laying on her back and looking up into it, until she got yelled at by a security guard. How times have changed.