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President George Washington called the elegant three story brick mansion “the best single house in the city.” Both Presidents Washington (1790–1797) and John Adams (1797–1800) lived and worked in this house, which was rented from the financier Robert Morris. Washington’s large household, including enslaved African descendents, contrasted with Adams’ small household. Adams never owned slaves.
The President’s house in the 1790s was a mirror of the young republic, reflecting both the ideals and contradictions of the new nation. The house stood in the shadow of Independence Hall, where the words “All men are created equal” and “We the People” were adopted, but they did not apply to all who lived in the new United States of America