Independence Hall

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Independence Hall

Independence Hall, a historic building, is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Officially named the Pennsylvania Statehouse, this U.S. Landmark is named Independence Hall due to the fact that it is the traditional site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most essential documents to the people of The United States of America. The building and the grounds that surround it are now apart of Independence National Historic Park. The Hall was constructed over a twenty year period in 1973, for the purposes of housing the colonial government of Pennsylvania. During it's earliest years, it was mainly used as a speaking center for Andrew Hamilton, during the colony's provincial meetings.

In addition to being the home of the Declaration signing, it is also the site of two other important document signings: The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

The importance of this one government building, among the many others, is that is was a central, easily-accessible meeting place during the American Revolution, mainly for the First Continental Congress. The history of the Declaration of Independence has it's roots rooted firmly in Independence Hall, being as it is there where the Second Continental Congress first met, and where they officially decided to approve the Declaration on July 4th, 1776. This document allowed the Thirteen Colonies to declare themselves an independent country, no longer under the control of Great Britain. Signing these documents in this room were several important figures in American history, including George Washington, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin.

However, Independence Hall was just one of many closely-grouped buildings in Independence Square. Nearby, Congress Hall became the original meeting place for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Another building, Old City Hall, is where the first sessions of the Supreme Court met.

One of the main draws of Independence Hall, besides its historical significance, is the Liberty Bell, which is displayed prominently in front of the the building. The Liberty Bell, which once was located in the main steeple of Independence Hall, has become a symbol of freedom from oppression for all Americans. The famous crack that is now visible on the bell was not the first crack to appear on it. The bell was slightly cracked once in March of 1753, when it was first rang. It was recast twice, once out of necessity and once because the new sound was unpleasant. The recast bell was placed back in the steeple of Independence Hall, and became a proud and important part of the building. The bell remained there through the American Revolution. As the war grew more intense, the bell was hidden in various locations to keep it from being damaged by the British.

The bell was rang from Independence Hall during the signing of the Declaration, and during more somber events in the early history of America, including the deaths of President Adams, President Jefferson, and during the 100th birthday celebration of President Washington. The final crack appeared over many years, both from ringings and from transport.

In more recent times, Independence Hall has been home to political speeches and protests, a common experience for American landmarks. Protests for civil rights occurred at the building throughout the 1960's, and on Independence Day in 1962, it served as home for a public address from President Kennedy.

Today, Independence Hall is recognized as an American icon on the back of the $100 dollar bill, and the Assembly Room is found on the back of the $2 bill. It is also recognized as being a World Heritage Site in addition to a National Landmark. People from around the world can visit Independence Hall and Liberty Bell, along with other important historical buildings, including Ben Franklin's home, the Graff House, and the City Tavern in a four-block area that is apart of the National Park.

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