Time Required: 30-45 minutes (10-25 minutes for going through security, looking around outside and waiting in line + 20 minutes (for tour)
Parking: street parking available, garages nearby (3-5 min walk)
Independence Hall is a very popular, very meaningful site in Philadelphia. It’s where the terms of the Declaration of Independence were discussed and decided. It’s where court was held to decide legal matters of the state of Pennsylvania.
In our tumultuous times, these founding principles are tested, explored, and tested for strength and modern practicality almost every day. And that’s why it’s important to visit sites like this–to see the place where these decisions were made, to stand on the ground where the United States was formalized into a living, breathing document–because it can be a forceful reminder of the principles this country stands for.
Our tour guide, Larry (10 stars for Larry, btw) referred happily to the Declaration as a “promise” to the people. But he also made it clear that it’s not a promise that can be upheld all on its own. Citizens of the U.S. are required to hold their leaders to it.
While standing in the room with 13 tables where the Declaration was debated for a full year, Larry tells a story of Benjamin Franklin encountering a woman who asked a difficult question. But the best part of the story is that Franklin gave her a difficult answer, but one that motivates.
The story goes like this: Benjamin Franklin, upon leaving the hall in which the Declaration was being revised, discussed, and edited, encountered a woman he commonly saw on his trips to and from his home to the Pennsylvania State House (as Independence Hall was then known).
“Are we building a monarchy or a republic?” she asked him. This was perhaps the most important and pressing question of the era.
“A republic, as long as we can keep it,” he answered.
I love that answer, and I love thinking of the Declaration of Independence as a promise to the citizens of the country. We DO have to uphold it and hold our leaders to it and its amendments.
Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Independence Hall, and I definitely recommend designating time to see it.
Address: 520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone Number: 215.965.2305