Declaration of Independence


Our nation's founding fathers knew
how to count the cost of liberty
On July 4, 1776, there was
signed in the city of Philadelphia one of
America's historic documents:
The Declaration of Independence.
It marked the birth of this nation.

When the Declaration was adopted, racing horsemen
and the noise of cannon fire carried the news far and wide.
General Washington had the document read
to the army, and its ringing sentences
strengthened the morale of his troops.
   On July 8, 1776, the people of Philadelphia
gathered at the old State House to hear a reading
of the Declaration of Independence.
They were called together by the ringing of the
Liberty Bell in the belfry of the building.
It has been said that the bell cracked on that joyful occasion.
This is not true, however.
The Liberty Bell cracked for the first time in 1752,
after it had been brought from London.
It was recast the following year by
Charles Stow and John Pass.
After its use in 1776 the bell was rung each year
on the anniversary of the Declaration.
In 1835 a crack developed while it was
tolling for the death of John Marshall,
famous chief justice of the Supreme Court.
When the bell was rung on Washington's
birthday in 1846, it cracked beyond repair.
It was struck lightly by officials of Philadelphia
on April 6, 1917,when the United States entered World WarI.
   The historic old bell hung in the hallway
of the State House (renamed Independence Hall)
until the bicentennial year of 1976, when it
was moved to a new pavilion nearby.
The original document of the Declaration
is preserved in a helium-filled
glass case in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

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