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“Strange version of the history of democracy presented by the guide”
Review of Independence Hall

Independence Hall
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$169.00*
and up
Philadelphia and Amish Country Day Trip from New York
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$150.00*
and up
Historic Tour of Philadelphia in English or German
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$33.00*
and up
Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia
Ranked #5 of 457 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed in this historic building.
Reviewed March 29, 2014

A visit to Independence Hall is a strangely mixed experience, certainly for a non-American and I suspect for many Americans too. While the building and its genuine history make it movingly talismanic, even for a foreigner, the factitious version of the evolution of democracy offered by our guide was mind-bogglingly reductive and misrepresentative. From what he was saying, one was being encouraged to believe that democracy as a political ideal began in 18th-century Philadelphia: nothing about its beginnings in Greek city states, nothing about its slow evolution through the matching evolution of the British parliamentary system -- merely a jingoistic and false assertion of how the Philadelphia congress introduced democracy to the world, and the direct line from that to contemporary Afghanistan! Thus a paean in praise of democracy had the subtext of a paean in praise of modern American foreign policy. The simplifications were absurd, and were I indeed an American who had brought children to this important site to introduce them to iconic aspects of the creation of their country, I'd be horrified at the misdirection to which they were being subjected. This guide's performance was all the more surprising by contrast with the measured, detailed, and genuinely informative introduction to Congress Hall that we had been given on the preceding day by a much younger guide, who stuck with the facts and kept away from simple-minded patriotic proselytizing.

2  Thank Travel1000Glen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,653 - 4,657 of 7,245 reviews

Reviewed March 29, 2014

This free attraction is a must on your stay in Philly. Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. Liberty bell is right down the block, also free. Just make sure you reserve on line or get there really early or the tickets will all be gone. No tickets for the Bell. Security checks kinda worried me, but this place is the real deal and really cannot be replaced. This is where it all happened so don't miss it.

Thank Thomas_H181
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2014

Can highly recommend taking the free tour of Independence Hall, it's really informative, and quite a short tour too, so one to tick off your list easily.

Thank joapaet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2014

I particularly like bringing foreign visitors to Independence Hall. They are invariably amazed that this old and venerable building is where the independence of the United States of America was proclaimed. The guides are informative and welcoming. HOWEVER, I would strongly recommend that the security people learn that shouting at people who speak languages other than English is not going to make them understand any better. And that business about picking up your coat has got to go.

Thank bklynbubba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2014

This was very informative of what happened in our country and how it came to be. I took history in 10th grade which was 9 years ago so it was a good refresher of what I learned back then. So awesome to stand in the spot where Benjamin Franklin himself stood so many years ago.

Thank bnb398
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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