Few ideas so capture the imagination of mankind that they imbue physical objects with universal meaning. For Americans, indeed for all people, there are no more potent symbols of individual freedom than Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
Since 1951 this building and this long-silent tocsin have been maintained by the American people as part of Independence National Historical Park. The park includes three square blocks in the City of Philadelphia where the dream of a free country of independent citizens became fact. Here were written the two documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, on which the foundations of our country rest. Here, from 1790 to 1800, when Philadelphia was the nation's capital, the principle of governance based on the rights of individual citizens was first tested.
Through a series of events, which in retrospect seem almost miraculous, many of the buildings in which these events took place were preserved. With years of devotion and effort on the part of the City of Philadelphia, the National Park Service, and countless private citizens, these places have been restored for the enjoyment and enlightenment of the millions who come to Independence.