Attraction

The President's House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation

Commemorating the lives of nine enslaved Africans at the site of the nation’s first executive mansion

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Photo by G. Widman for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Overview

The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation explores the paradox of slavery and freedom at the site of the nation’s first executive mansion, in which Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived during their terms and where nine enslaved people served the first president.

The open-air Independence National Historical Park site, located just steps from the Liberty Bell Center, provides visitors with different perspectives of this complex and powerful story through timelines and dramatic video vignettes.

The 24-hour site offers a place for silent reflection and also features a large glass vitrine that allows visitors to view archaeological fragments that were unearthed at the site in 2007.

The History

From 1790 to 1800, the city of Philadelphia was the new nation’s capital and the President’s House, home to Presidents George Washington and John Adams, served as America’s first executive mansion.

Presidents Washington and Adams both lived on this site during their terms.

The forefathers fought hard to attain freedom for “We the People” but in one of our nation’s great paradoxes, President George Washington brought at least nine enslaved Africans from his Mount Vernon home to live and work in the President’s House, which stood just one block from Independence Hall.

President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation commemorates the site of the executive mansion of the first two United States presidents and reveals the long-obscured glimpse into the lives of the enslaved Africans who toiled at the house during Washington’s presidency.

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