A Century Ago the Liberty Bell Helped Win the Great War

Philadelphia's Liberty Bell tourism
Image via MONTCO.today file photo.
Philadelphia's Liberty Bell.

A century ago, when the U.S. desperately needed funds to finance its participation in the Great War, the government turned to the Liberty Bell to help wake up the patriotic spirit of its citizens, writes Stephen Fried for Smithsonian Magazine.

During its 1917 tour, the Liberty Bell traveled through 275 cities and towns nationwide, changing America and empowering it to change the world.

Almost a quarter of the population turned out to see it. Even more waited along the railway tracks for the train to pass so they could catch a glimpse of the Bell in its specially constructed open car. It was visible both day and night thanks to a unique generator powered lighting system.

The tour was a last resort after other fund raising efforts had failed. On June 14, 1917, the last day of the campaign, Philadelphia Mayor Thomas Smith rang the bell 13 times in front of Independence Hall, once for each original colony, which was followed by bells across the nation.

The effort was a huge success, as people rushed to buy war bonds, far surpassing the original $2 billion goal.

Read more about the role of Liberty Bell in Great War at Smithsonian Magazine by clicking here.

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