Why Is the Liberty Bell Cracked?


Quick Answer

There is widespread disagreement as to what caused the Liberty Bell to crack upon its first use in 1753. Despite being recast twice, the crack worsened when the bell was rung in celebration of George Washington's birthday in 1846, and the bell has not been rung since.

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Full Answer

The Liberty Bell was cast in London in 1752 before it was sent to the Pennsylvania State House, a building known as Independence Hall as of 2014. When it was first rung, the bell suffered a crack when it was struck by its 44-pound clapper. The Liberty Bell is engraved with a Biblical verse from Leviticus, and the names of John Stow and John Pass were engraved on it after they recast the bell in an attempt to repair it. The bell was originally used to call the Pennsylvania Assembly to meetings.

The Liberty Bell achieved its status as a cultural and historical icon when abolitionists adopted it as a symbol for the anti-slavery movement. Although it was no longer used as working bell, the Liberty Bell was transported across the United States following the Civil War in an effort to celebrate the shared history and cultural identity of the country. The bell returned to Philadelphia in 1915.

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