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Independence Hall is a U.S.marker national landmark located in Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. Known primarily as the location where the Declaration of Independence was debated and adopted, the building was completed in 1753 as the Pennsylvania State House for the Province of Pennsylvania. It became the principal meeting place of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783. The United States Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were both signed at Independence Hall. The building is now part of the larger Independence National Historical Parkmarker and listed as a World Heritage Site.Independence Hall is a red brick building, built between 1732 and 1753, designed in the Georgian style by Edmund Woolley and Andrew Hamilton, and built by Woolley. Its highest point is above the ground. Its construction was commissioned by the Pennsylvania colonial legislature and it was initially inhabited by the colonial government of Pennsylvania as their State House. Two smaller buildings adjoin Independence Hall: Old City Hall to the east, and Congress Hallmarker to the west. These three buildings are together on a city block known as Independence Square, along with Philosophical Hall, the original home of the American Philosophical Societymarker.

Independence Hall is pictured on the back of the U.S. $100 bill, as well as the bicentennial Kennedy half dollar. The Assembly Room is pictured on the reverse of the U.S. two dollar bill, from the original painting by John Trumbull entitled Declaration of Independence.

Liberty Bell

The Centennial Bell in the Independence Hall Belfry, from an 1876 engraving.


The bell tower steeple of Independence Hall was the original home of the "Liberty Bellmarker" and today it holds a "Centennial Bell" that was created for the United States Centennial Exposition in 1876. The original Liberty Bell, with its distinctive crack, is now on display across the street in the Liberty Bell Center. In 1976 Queen Elizabeth II visited Philadelphia and presented a gift to the American people of a replica Bicentennial Bell, which was cast in the same British foundry as the original. This 1976 bell hangs in the modern bell tower located on 3rd Street near Independence Hall.

Declaration of Independence & Second Continental Congress



From 1775 to 1783, Independence Hall served as the principal meeting place of the Second Continental Congress, a body of representatives from each of the thirteen British North American colonies. The United States Declaration of Independence was approved there on July 4 1776, and the Declaration was read aloud to the public in the area now known as Independence Square. This document unified the colonies in North America who declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britainmarker and explained their justifications for doing so. These historic events are celebrated annually with a national holiday for U.S. Independence Day.

On June 14 1775, delegates of the Continental Congress nominated George Washington as commander of the Continental Army in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall. The Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin to be the first Postmaster General of what would later become the United States Post Office Department on July 26.

a National Park Service Ranger describes Independence Hall's Assembly Room, in which both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted and signed.


In September 1777, British Army arrived to occupy Philadelphia, forcing the Continental Congress to abandon the State House and flee to York, Pennsylvaniamarker, where the Articles of Confederation were approved in November 1777. The Congress returned on July 2 1778, after the end of the British occupation. However, as a result of the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, Congress again moved from Philadelphia in June 1783.

U.S. Constitution and the Philadelphia Capitol Building

A Map of Philadelphia and Parts Adjacent, depicting the State House as it appeared in 1752.
In September 1786, commissioners from five states met in the Annapolis Convention to discuss adjustments to the Articles of Confederation that would improve commerce. They invited state representatives to convene in Philadelphia to discuss improvements to the federal government. After debate, the Congress of the Confederation endorsed the plan to revise the Articles of Confederation on February 21, 1787. Twelve states, Rhode Islandmarker being the exception, accepted this invitation and sent delegates to convene in June 1787 at Independence Hall.

The resolution calling the Convention specified its purpose as proposing amendments to the Articles, but the Convention decided to propose a rewritten Constitution. The Philadelphia Convention voted to keep deliberations secret, and to keep the Hall's windows shut throughout the hot summer. The result was the drafting of a new fundamental government design. On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was completed, and took effect on March 4, 1789, when the new Congress met for the first time in New York's Federal Hallmarker.

Article One, Section Eight, of the United States Constitution granted Congress the authority to create of a federal district to serve as the national capital. Following the ratification of the Constitution, the Congress, while meeting in New York, passed the Residence Act of 1790, which established the District of Columbiamarker as the new federal capital. However, a representative from Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, did manage to convince Congress to return to Philadelphia while the new permanent capital was being built. As a result, the Residence Act also declared Philadelphia to be the temporary capital for a period of ten years. The Congress moved back into Philadelphia on December 6, 1790 and met at Congress Hallmarker, adjacent to Independence Hall.

Significant events

On October 26, 1918, Tomáš Masaryk proclaimed the independence of Czechoslovakiamarker on the steps of Independence Hall.

In 1948, the building's interior was restored to its original appearance. Independence National Historical Parkmarker was established by the 80th U.S. Congress later that year to preserve historical sites associated with the American Revolution. Independence National Historical Park comprises a landscaped area of four city blocks, as well as outlying sites that include: Independence Square, Carpenters' Hall (meeting place of the First Continental Congress), the site of Benjamin Franklin's home, the reconstructed Graff House (where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence), City Tavern (center of Revolutionary War activities), restored period residences, and several early banks. The park also holds the Liberty Bell, Franklin's desk, a portrait gallery, gardens, and libraries. A product of extensive documentary research and archaeology by the federal government, the restoration of Independence Hall and other buildings in the park set standards for other historic preservation and stimulated rejuvenation of old Philadelphia. The site, administered by the National Park Service, is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCOmarker (joining only three other U.S. man-made monuments still in use, the others being the Statue of Libertymarker, Pueblo de Taosmarker, and the combined site of the University of Virginiamarker and Monticellomarker).

On Independence Day, July 4, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave an address here. Independence Hall has been used in more recent times as the staging ground for protests because of its symbolic history in support of democratic and civil rights movements. Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are now protected in a secure zone with entry at security screening buildings.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, as part of a national effort to safeguard historical monuments by the United States Department of Homeland Securitymarker, pedestrian traffic around Independence Square and part of Independence Mall was restricted by temporary bicycle barriers and park rangers. In 2006, the National Park Service proposed installing a seven-foot security fence around Independence Hall and bisecting Independence Square, a plan that met with opposition from Philadelphia city officials, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and Senator Arlen Specter. As of January 2007, the National Park Service plan was revised to eliminate the fence in favor of movable bollards and chains, and also to remove at least some of the temporary barriers to pedestrians and visitors.

See also



References

  1. Address at Independence Hall, President John F. Kennedy Philadelphia, July 4, 1962
  2. We the People: Defining Citizenship in the Shadow of Independence Hall
  3. Map: Independence National Historical Park 141 kb PDF File
  4. New York Times
  5. kyw1060.com
  6. kyw1060.com


External links




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