History of Independence Hall

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First published in Philadelphia in 1859, History of Independence Hall combines Belisle's meditations on the hall as a sacred part of our nation's history with biographical accounts of each signer of the Declaration of Independence and a meticulous catalogue of the contents of the hall. The author states his hope that the publication will serve as more than just a mere guidebook, but rather will inspire a deeper love for the Temple wherein our nation's infancy was cradled and defended. The author compares the significance of Independence Hall in the history of national independence to that of of other sites in the Western tradition, including Greek, Roman, and biblical sites. As such, Belisle's record is much more than a thoroughly researched history of Independence Hall: it provides a view of nineteenth-century understandings of nationalism, historiography, and the cultural heritage of the United States. Of particular interest to students of the early history of the United States is the extensive documentation, including an early draft of the Declaration of Independence and sketches of revolutionary relics such as Washington's pew.