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Independence Hall Courtyard

Independence Hall
Independence Hall

Chestnut between 5th and 6th Sts.

Here is where it all began, the arguments that helped forge a nation and a new form of government. The roots of American conservatism can be traced to the basic discussions about the role of government and states during the 1780's.

At the end of the 18th century, Philadelphia was the largest, most successful and wealthiest city in the country. In fact, Philadelphia was so prosperous that it boasted one tavern for every 25 men. The city was the location of the first hospital, fire company, lighted street and medical school in the USA. It was commented that Philadelphia was "a London in wealth, more than a London in arrogance."

Andrew Hamilton, the original "Philadelphia lawyer," designed Independence Hall. It was here that John Adams said, "the only good government is a Republican government, a nation of laws, not men."

America's rebel capital impressed Jefferson, Adams and the other delegates with its fine buildings, paved street and conspicuous wealth. Philadelphia boasted of the first fire company, hospital, medical school, stock market, public bank, insurance company, fire brigade and a tavern for every 25 men.

Ben Franklin had even helped organize a rudimentary street cleaning service, in contrast to other cities like New York where the roaming hogs provided the only form of garbage collection.

Philadelphia was indeed "a London in wealth, more than a London in arrogance." Every one of the new Nation's fathers would spend most of his public career on this single city block.

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