In the years before July 4, 1776, people living in American colonies were becoming weary of being at war and paying high taxes to the Empire. They wanted more control over legislation of their land, and not be entirely at the mercy of the British Parliament. When a Petition to the King was sent to King George III, it was met with indifference. Soon, the idea of gaining independence from Great Britain took hold. Led by John Adams, a committee of five (Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, Ben Sherman and Adams) were tasked by Congress to draft a declaration. The document, titled “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America,” was signed and approved on July 4, 1776 in Independence Hall, Philadelphia. (This document is now simply known as the Declaration of Independence.)
For this reason, Independence Hall is significant in American history. You need (free) tickets to go inside and view Assembly Hall, where the Declaration, as well as the Constitution, was signed. Tours are given by park rangers of the National Park Service, who are a great resource for information. At different times in world history, the Declaration has inspired similar efforts in countries seeking their own independence, and that’s why the Hall is listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. That makes this my 12th heritage site that I’ve visited. Only 950 more to go! Perhaps attempting to see half of that total should be part of my ten-year travel plan…but I digress. Independence Hall is beautiful and historical! On a side note, the Liberty Bell, a symbol of, uh, liberty — is housed in a building perpendicular to the Hall. If you are in Philadelphia, you must visit both, even if you wanna skip the lines going in and just do a quick walkthrough.