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
nation - государство
exact location - точное расположение
pass a bill -
buildings - правительственные здания
to be indirectly responsible for - быть косвенно ответственным за
Civil War -
enliven - оживлять
be in session - заседать
magnificent view - великолепный вид
1. What were the capitals of the USA until 1800?
2. Did any of the capitals offer an ideal seat of
government for the nation? Why?
3. When was it decided to establish a federal city?
4. When did the capital of the USA gain its name?
5. What did the new capital look like shortly after
6. How did the capital of the USA develop before the
7. Why were the British troops indirectly responsible
for the name "White House"?
8. What is the White House noted for?
9. What are Washington's other places of interest?
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