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Until 1800 the United States of America had five "capitals" or meeting places of the Congress - Princeton, Annapolis, Trenton, New York and Philadelphia. For various reasons, none of these cities offered an ideal seat of government for the new nation. Southern states protested that they were all too far north. After the Constitution was adopted, the establishment of a new city was considered. President Washington pinpointed the exact location, and Congress passed a bill for a federal city and capital on July 17, 1790. The city of Washington was called just "The Federal City". It didn't gain its name until after the first president's death. When Congress and the rest of the small government's agencies arrived from Philadelphia in, the new capital looked very unpromising indeed. Only a fragment of the Capitol was completed, and a part of the White House. Other government departments were scattered about, and a few houses had been built. Up until the time of the Civil War, Washington grew quite slowly. It really was just another sleepy southern town, enlivened only when the Congress was in session, and not much even then. After the Civil War it became the real capital of the United States. The best known building in Washington is the White House, home of American Presidents since 1800. The site was selected by president Washington, the architect was James Hoban. The first residents of the White House were President and Mrs. John Adams. The cornerstone of the Executive Mansion, as it was originally known, dates from October 13, 1792, 300 years after the landing of Columbus. The president's home is the earliest of all government buildings in the District of Columbia. The British troops which arrived in Washington in 1814 were indirectly responsible for the name "White House": the building was fired by them. Later the fire marks on the walls were concealed by painting the whole building white. The term "White House" became official at the end of the 19th century. The President works here in the "Oval Office", but the White House is also a family home. President Truman had a piano next to his desk and President Kennedy's children used to play under his office windows. Washington is a cultural centre. It is proud of its art galleries, a zoo, natural history collections, and the Museum of History and Technology.
ref.by 2006—2024