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ndependence National Historical Park tells the story of the Revolution's political progress. In 1774, the Continental Congress first convened here. Later it heard the news of Lexington and Concord (in Carpenters' Hall, a privately owned park, within the boundaries of Independence National Historic Park). By mid-1775, Congress moved to the Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall, to discuss American concerns over England's restrictive colonial policies. As the situation worsened, colonial protests increased. With the outbreak of armed resistance at Concord and Lexington, Congress chose George Washington as commander-in-chief of America's new army. When Congress reconvened in the fall, King George III had already declared that the colonies were in open and avowed rebellion.

arly in 1776, Thomas Paine's Common Sense galvanized public opinion in support of independence. In June 1776, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee offered Congress the resolution that "these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent States". Taking up Lee's resolution, Congress appointed a committee to compose the colonies' list of grievances to the king. Committee member Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence during early summer 1776 in his rented Philadelphia rooms. The building where he lived is now known as the "Declaration House". Congress debated and adopted the Declaration in Independence Hall on July 4th. It authorized the document's printing and distribution to the colonial legislatures and armies in the field.

hroughout the war, Independence Hall often served as Congress's home. The first plan for America's new government, the Articles of Confederation, was ratified here in 1781. Six years later, the Constitution was drafted in Independence Hall, completing the political journey that began before the war.

Declaration of Independence - Click to enlarge
Assembly Room - - Click to enlarge Thomas Jefferson's Parlor - Click to enlarge Congress voting independence - Click to enlarge
Independence Hall fullsize image - click to enlarge The Park Today

Independence National Historical Park interprets events and lives of colonial America when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. Visitors can see places and objects integral to America's independence, national identity, and the rule of law. The park also commemorates Benjamin Franklin's life and accomplishments.

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Last Modified: Monday, December 04, 2006