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White House vs. Capitol Building: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
The White House is the U.S. President's residence; the Capitol Building is the meeting place of Congress.
White House vs. Capitol Building

Key Differences

The White House is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States, a global symbol of the American presidency. The Capitol Building, on the other hand, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. government. While the White House is associated with the executive branch, the Capitol Building is tied to the legislative activities and is where laws are introduced, debated, and passed.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023
Functionality is a key difference: the White House serves as a residence and is equipped for executive duties, whereas the Capitol Building is designed for legislative proceedings with chambers for the Senate and the House of Representatives. The White House is also the primary location for state ceremonies and official entertaining conducted by the President. In contrast, the Capitol Building is where the State of the Union address is given, and it is a central locale for political discourse and decision-making.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023
Architecturally, the White House is a neoclassical structure with a distinct white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone exterior. The Capitol Building is recognized by its iconic dome and is a symbol of the American people and their government. Each building also has a distinct location within Washington D.C., with the White House located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the Capitol Building standing at the eastern end of the National Mall.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023
The White House has served as the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800, while the Capitol Building, completed in the early 1800s, has been the convening place for Congress for over two centuries. Security measures and accessibility differ significantly between the two, with the White House having stringent security protocols for visitors and the Capitol Building being more accessible to the public for tours and gallery viewings.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023
The governance associated with each is also different; the White House is managed by the Executive Office of the President, along with the Residence staff and support personnel. The Capitol Building is overseen by the Architect of the Capitol and has its own police force, the United States Capitol Police, separate from the Secret Service that protects the White House.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Comparison Chart

Purpose

Executive residence and office
Legislative proceedings
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Occupants

President and First Family
Members of Congress
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Architectural Style

Neoclassical
Neoclassical with a distinctive dome
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Location

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C.
East end of the National Mall, Washington D.C.
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Public Accessibility

Restricted, scheduled tours
More accessible, public galleries and tours
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Symbolism

Executive power
Legislative authority
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Security

Secret Service
Capitol Police
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Historical Significance

Every president since John Adams
Over two centuries of legislative sessions
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Main Function

Presidential duties and state functions
Creation and passing of legislation
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Architectural Distinction

White-painted sandstone
Large cast-iron dome
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White House and Capitol Building Definitions

White House

Venue for state affairs and national decision-making.
International diplomats frequently attend meetings at the White House.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Capitol Building

Architectural symbol of American democracy and governance.
The Capitol Building's dome is an iconic feature of the Washington skyline.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

White House

Official residence and office of the U.S. President.
The President delivered his address from the White House last evening.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Capitol Building

Publicly accessible monument and active political institution.
The Capitol Building hosts thousands of visitors and tour groups each year.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

White House

Symbolic building representing the executive branch of the U.S.
The White House was lit up in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
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Nov 08, 2023

Capitol Building

The meeting place of the U.S. Congress and legislative hub.
The bill was passed in the Capitol Building after a lengthy debate.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

White House

A historic landmark and political epicenter in Washington D.C.
Tours of the White House are highly sought after by visitors to the capital.
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Nov 08, 2023

Capitol Building

Historical site of important national events and ceremonies.
The inauguration ceremony is traditionally held at the Capitol Building.
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Nov 08, 2023

White House

Iconic structure subject to strict security and operations.
The White House went into lockdown after a security breach was detected.
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Capitol Building

Building housing the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Legislators gathered in the Capitol Building to discuss the new amendment.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What happens in the Capitol Building?

The Capitol Building is where both chambers of Congress meet to legislate and debate bills.
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Is the Capitol Building older than the White House?

The Capitol Building and the White House were both constructed in the 18th century, but the White House was occupied first in 1800.
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Nov 10, 2023

Can the public visit the White House?

Yes, the public can visit the White House by arranging a tour through their Member of Congress.
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Nov 10, 2023

Are there guided tours available for the Capitol Building?

Yes, the Capitol Visitor Center offers guided tours of the Capitol Building.
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What is the National Statuary Hall?

The National Statuary Hall is a chamber in the Capitol Building dedicated to sculptures of prominent Americans.
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Who designed the White House?

The White House was designed by architect James Hoban.
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What is the Oval Office?

The Oval Office, located in the White House, is the President's formal workspace.
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Who resides in the White House?

The President of the United States and the First Family reside in the White House.
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Was the White House ever rebuilt?

The White House was reconstructed after being burned during the War of 1812.
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What style is the White House designed in?

The White House is designed in a neoclassical style.
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Can anyone attend a congressional session in the Capitol?

The public can attend sessions of Congress, sitting in the gallery, when in session.
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Nov 10, 2023

Is the White House open on weekends?

White House tours are typically available from Tuesday to Saturday.
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How many rooms does the White House have?

The White House has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels in the residence.
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Where is the inauguration held?

The presidential inauguration is typically held on the West Front of the Capitol Building.
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How can I visit the Capitol Building?

Visitors can arrange tours through the Capitol Visitor Center or their congressional representative.
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Nov 10, 2023

What part of government is in the Capitol Building?

The legislative branch of the U.S. government is housed in the Capitol Building.
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Nov 10, 2023

Are there offices in the White House?

Yes, the White House contains offices for the President and his staff.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What significant events have occurred at the Capitol Building?

The Capitol has hosted presidential inaugurations, State of the Union addresses, and historical legislative votes.
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Nov 10, 2023

Who works in the Capitol Building?

Members of the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, and their staff work in the Capitol Building.
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Does the Vice President live at the White House?

No, the Vice President has a residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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