Independence Hall
Independence Hall is the centerpiece of Independence National Historical Park located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. Known primarily as the location where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were 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 and was the site of the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. The building is part of Independence National Historic Park and is 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. The highest point to the tip of the steeple spire is 168 ft, 7 1/4 inches above the ground. Its construction was commissioned by the Pennsylvania colonial legislature, which paid for construction as funds were available, so it was finished piecemeal. It was initially inhabited by the colonial government of Pennsylvania as its State House, from 1732 to 1799. Two smaller buildings adjoin Independence Hall: Old City Hall to the east, and Congress Hall 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 Society. In early 1816, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania sold the State House to the City of Philadelphia, with a contract signed by the governor. The deed, however, was not transferred until more than two years later. Philadelphia has owned the State House and its associated buildings and grounds since that time. 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. 2 dollar bill, from the original painting by John Trumbull entitled Declaration of Independence .

Liberty Bell
The bell tower steeple of Independence Hall was the original home of the " Liberty Bell" 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 Britain 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. In September 1777, British Army arrived to occupy Philadelphia, forcing the Continental Congress to abandon the State House and flee to York, Pennsylvania, 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
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 Island 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 Hall. 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 Columbia 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 Hall, adjacent to Independence Hall.

National capitol building
From 1776 to 1800, Congress met in numerous locations, Therefore, the following cities can be said to have once been the United States capital. Independence Hall was the first site of the meetings of the Second Continental Congress, from May 10, 1775 to December 12, 1776. During the British occupation of Philadelphia, the Continental Congress met in Baltimore, Maryland (December 20, 1776 to February 27, 1777). The Congress returned to Independence Hall from March 4, 1777 to September 18, 1777. It then met in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for one day (September 27, 1777) and in York, Pennsylvania, for nine months (September 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778). The Second Continental Congress again returned to Independence Hall, for its final meetings, from July 2, 1778 to March 1, 1781. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation initially met in Independence Hall, from March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1783. It then met in Princeton, New Jersey (June 30, 1783 to November 4, 1783), Annapolis, Maryland (November 26, 1783 to August 19, 1784), Trenton, New Jersey (November 1, 1784 to December 24, 1784), and New York City, New York (January 11, 1785 to Autumn 1788). After the ratification of the United States Constitution, the new Congress of the United States met in Federal Hall, New York City, New York (March 4, 1789 to December 5, 1790) and Congress Hall, Philadelphia (December 6, 1790 to May 14, 1800), before making its permanent home in the United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., on November 17, 1800.

Significant events
On October 26, 1918, TomáÅ¡ Masaryk proclaimed the independence of Czechoslovakia on the steps of Independence Hall. In 1948, the building's interior was restored to its original appearance. Independence National Historical Park 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 UNESCO (joining only three other U.S. man-made monuments still in use, the others being the Statue of Liberty, Pueblo de Taos, and the combined site of the University of Virginia and Monticello). 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 Security, 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.


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