The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American Independence, located in Philadelphia
. Formerly placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now renamed Independence Hall
), the bell was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack in 1752, and was cast with the lettering (part of Leviticus 25:10) "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." It originally cracked when first rung after arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell.
In its early years, the Liberty Bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations. Bells were rung to mark the Reading
of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776, and while there is no contemporary account of the Liberty Bell ringing, most historians believe it was one of the bells rung. After American independence was secured, it fell into relative obscurity for some years. In the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who dubbed it the "Liberty Bell". It acquired its distinctive large crack sometime in the early 19th centurya widespread story claims it cracked while ringing after the death of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835.