Philadelphia is one of the oldest and most historically significant U.S. cities. It was the nation's first capital. At the time of the American Revolution, it was the second-largest English-speaking city in the world, after only London. Into the first part of the 19th century, it was the country's most populous city and eclipsed Boston and New York City in political and social importance. Benjamin Franklin played an extraordinary role in Philadelphia's rise.
Oney Judge was a slave at George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, in Virginia. A servant in Washington's presidential households beginning in 1789, she escaped to freedom from the Philadelphia President's House on Saturday, May 21, 1796, and defied his attempts to recapture her. More is known about her than any other Mount Vernon slave because she was twice interviewed by abolitionist newspapers in the 1840s. The Pennsylvania Gazette ran this "runaway" advertisement on May 24, 1796.
"Socially, Philadelphia was still a fairly provincial city, its business community governed by the mores of the Main Line. Politically, it was a cauldron of ethnic rivalries, dominated by competing Irish and Italian constituencies."