Philadelphia and The Founding Fathers

Philadelphia historical District

By train, Philadelphia is an about five hours away from Boston which was our first stop, and it’s a less stressful way than by car. Henry and I chose to visit Philadelphia because of its rich connection to the writing of the Declaration of Independence the American Constitution. I have a post on Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C., the first place I went to on arrival.     While Washington DC was being built, Philadelphia was the capital of the new United States of America from 1790-1800. In a long line with a lot of other tourists, I managed to see the original documents in Washington, D.C. after our visit to Philadelphia.       We took part in two guided tours in Philadelphia, one on the history of the city and one of history regarding the birth of the new nation. The young historian guide recommended us to get inside the Carpenters’ Hall and The Independence Hall where the documents were discussed and signed in 1776 and 1787. On our last day in Philadelphia, the ranger let us in even though the tour was fully booked as he heard that we had come from Denmark to see this sight.           I have heard two different stories about Benjamin Franklin’s quote. On the online course at Coursera, the professor told us that the Founders worked day and night on the Constitution which made it difficult for them to know what time of the day it was. The other version was from the Ranger guiding at the Independence Hall. He told us that the saying had to do with the sun carved in Washington’s big chair.
I have often looked at that sun behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now I… know that it is a rising…sun   — Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin is the most famous of the citizens to have lived in Philadelphia The Liberty Bell was used when The Declaration of Independence and liberty was proclaimed. Its name derives from the inscription on it: The bell was ordered to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn’s original Constitution is from 1751 and later became a symbol for the abolitionists in their fight for ending slavery.
Proclaim liberty throughout the land, to all the inhabitants thereof  Leviticus 25:10
War burst upon Philadelphia
less than three years after delegates to the First Continental Congress concluded their sessions at Carpenters’ Hall. What most hoped could be avoided — a contest with the world’s strongest military power — became reality the following spring at Lexington and Concord. Now, after Washington’s defeat at Brandywine, British regiments were marching on the capital.
In the Second Bank of The United States is the Portrait Gallery of Philadelphia. In it, you can see the “People of Independence”, a collection of portraits of 18th and 19th-century political leaders, military officers, explorers and scientists.  The first four Presidents all served in Congress in Independence Hall. A reconstruction of the original Library of the Philosophical Society at the Signers’ Garden are thousands of manuscripts including a copy of the Declaration of Independence penned in Jefferson’s hand. We were able to see original printed copies of the documents in the west wing building of the Independence Hall and even the silver inkstand used by the Founders where they dipped their pens to:

“Mutually pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honour”. 


Christ Church and Christ Church Burial Ground.

At the church, a stained glass called The Patriots’ window was added in 1910. Several of the Funding fathers and their families are shown in the stained glass. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it while I was there. As so often you find out about things after returning home.     People like to throw pennies at Benjamin Franklin’s grave even though he has said:
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
The gates had closed around the Christ Church Burial Ground when we wanted to see Benjamin Franklin’s grave. Seven of the signers are buried there. We could only look through the iron fence. Signer and Founding Father Robert Morris (1734-1806) financed the revolution and helped make Pennsylvania the temporary capital during the construction of Washington, D.C. He let George Washington and John Adams use his house as the presidential residence. Sadly Robert Morris ended his life being impoverished himself.             I will end my historic district tour with Washington Square and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution. That square is one of the five original squares mapped by Pennsylvania’s founder William Penn. The park used to be a graveyard for Washington’s soldiers and prisoners of war who died of deceases and hunger as well as of their wounds. The link above describes the horrors in detail.
  Two whole days in Philadelphia are not enough to explore the city’s art and history.      


  1. I am proud of our history, but it must seem so recent to you compared to European history. The historic district of Philly is impressive, I must admit, eh?! 🙂


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