The Liberty Bell: An American Symbol of Freedom, Even for our Charter School - Hill Pointe School

The Liberty Bell: An American Symbol of Freedom, Even for our Charter School

The Liberty Bell is cracked; almost everyone knows this. But do you know how this State House bell was transformed into the extraordinary symbol it is today? Classical school students will learn this significant history.

In 1751, the Pennsylvania assembly ordered a bell for its State House, which is today’s Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The bell’s inscription reads: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout ALL the Land Unto ALL the Inhabitants thereof,” and it derives from the instruction in Leviticus to free slaves and prisoners and return property every 50 years. The inscription possibly refers to the granting of political self-government and religious liberties to the people in William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges.

On July 8, 1776, the 2,080-pound bronze bell rang out to call forth citizens to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, which had been adopted four days earlier by the Continental Congress. Unnoticed during the Revolutionary War, the bell’s message became a rallying cry for abolitionists seeking to end slavery in America after the war. The Anti-Slavery Record, an abolitionist publication, first referred to the bell as The Liberty Bell in 1835, but that name was not widely adopted until George Lippard’s 1847 fictional story “Ring, Grandfather, Ring” circulated to millions of Americans and the bell came to symbolize pride in a new nation.

The Liberty Bell traveled across the country in the late 1800s as the nation was recovering from the Civil War, serving to remind Americans of a time when they fought together for independence. Women’s suffrage advocates commissioned a replica of the Liberty Bell to encourage support for women’s voting rights, which were obtained via the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Patriots, abolitionists, women’s suffrage advocates, and Civil Rights leaders have taken inspiration from the inscription on this bell. And now classical charter schools, like The Hill Pointe School working for educational freedom, are able to point toward The Liberty Bell and its message as we strive for our place in American K-12 education.

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