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Today in history: The president moves to Washington, D.C.

John Adams was the first president to live in the nation's new capital

June 3, 1800: President John Adams moved to Washington; he was the first president to live in the new capital city. But his home — today known as the White House — was still under construction, so the president moved into a tavern at Tunnicliffe's City Hotel on Capitol Hill. According to historian David McCullough, when Adams first arrived in Washington, he wrote to his wife Abigail (who remained behind in Massachusetts) that he liked the soon-to-be-completed President's House and craved living in a permanent home. "Oh! That I could have a home!" he wrote to her. "Rolling, rolling, rolling, till I am very nearly rolling into the bosom of Mother Earth." On Nov. 1, Adams finally moved into his official residence.

Abigail Adams arrived in Washington a few weeks later. The mansion's lack of amenities was a challenge; she became known as the first lady who hung clothes in the East Room to dry.

President and Mrs. Adams didn't get to live in the "President's House" for long. Adams was defeated in the election of 1800 by Thomas Jefferson, who took office in March 1801.

Quote of the day

"Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide." -John Adams


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