Alexander Hamilton is a political giant, a founding father and a Revolutionary War hero who played a critical role in shaping the United States of America. Hamilton’s ideals and philosophies on government, finance, and economics were groundbreaking and shaped the American government for decades to come.
Alexander Hamilton was born on January 11, 1755, on the Caribbean island of Nevis, even though the year of his birth is in dispute, as he may have been born in either 1755 or 1757. His parents, James Hamilton and Rachel Fawcett, were not married, which led to Hamilton being born out of wedlock. His parents’ relationship was tumultuous, and when Hamilton was only a child, his father abandoned them.
Rachel Hamilton’s first husband had also abandoned her, so she was raising Hamilton and his older brother James alone. After her death, Hamilton was adopted by a merchant, Thomas Stevens, but when Stevens died, Hamilton went to work as a clerk for a trading firm. He showed a gift for numbers early on, and his employers recognized it, providing him with opportunities to learn.
In 1773, Alexander Hamilton left the Caribbean and arrived in the United States and attended a preparatory school in New Jersey. He showed particular aptitude for writing and won a scholarship to King’s College (now Columbia University) in 1774.
As a student at King’s College, Hamilton was engaged in the Revolutionary War movement, even while still in school. He founded the “Hearts of Oak,” a group that acted as a militia, and his first public speech came during a meeting of the “Sons of Liberty.” The speech was published and gained Hamilton some attention.
Soon after, the Revolutionary War broke out, and Hamilton’s love for writing led him to join the Continental Army. Hamilton was appointed as an artillery captain by General George Washington. He was later appointed as an aide-de-camp to General Washington, which became an instrumental aspect of his military career.
Hamilton’s military leadership can be seen in his 1777 heroic charge at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. He also played a role in the successful siege of Yorktown in 1781, which was an essential moment in the Revolutionary War.
After the war, Hamilton was elected as a member of the Continental Congress and was appointed to be a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The Constitutional Convention was Hamilton’s biggest stage, and his skills were on full display. His gift of oratory and his ability to argue persuasively earned him considerable sway.
Alexander Hamilton was a strong advocate for a strong, centralized government and was deeply influential in shaping the government outlined in the Constitution. Hamilton was one of many who played a vital role in creating the Federal Government’s three branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial.
In 1789, George Washington became the first President of the United States, and Hamilton’s political career began in earnest. He was appointed as the Secretary of the Treasury, a role he served from 1789 to 1795. Hamilton was responsible for implementing financial policies that helped to establish the United States’ credit and financial stability.
Hamilton’s contributions to the new nation’s financial systems cannot be overstated. He established the National Bank, created a revenue department to collect taxes, instituted tariffs on imported goods, and generally took a pragmatic, long-term view of economics. His abilities helped shape America’s economic policies throughout the 1800s.
Hamilton also played an essential role in shaping American foreign policy, particularly with regard to relationships with European powers. He believed that America should remain neutral in its foreign policy, instead focusing on its domestic economic and military issues.
Hamilton also helped bring about the “Jay Treaty” in 1794, which was negotiated by Chief Justice John Jay and prevented war between the United States and Great Britain over trade disputes. The treaty increased American trade with Great Britain, but it also led to strained relations with France, which eventually led to the Quasi-War in 1798.
Later Life and Death
Alexander Hamilton retired from his position as Treasury Secretary in 1795 and returned to his legal practice, but his retirement was short-lived. In 1798, he was asked to command an army in the event of a conflict with France (the so-called Quasi-War). However, with peace secured, and without any foe to fight, Hamilton never saw action.
Hamilton’s political career was cut short in July 1804 when he was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, a political rival whom he had accused of treason. The duel took place on July 11, 1804, and Hamilton died the next day. Hamilton’s death was a significant loss for the nation, as he had been a driving force behind so much of the country’s development, and his influence on American politics would continue for decades.
Alexander Hamilton was a man of many talents and achievements and an essential figure in American history. He was an immigrant who rose to become a founding father of the nation as well as a political leader, military hero, and economic genius.
Hamilton’s contributions to the formation of the United States were significant. He helped shape the American Government and strongly advocated for a strong centralized government, a national bank, tariffs on imported goods, and the implementation of new revenue departments.
In addition to this, Hamilton played a significant role in shaping America’s foreign policy, particularly in fostering its relationships with European powers. His legacies also include the creation of the United States Coast Guard, the need to have a standing army, and the founding of a strong Federal Government.
Hamilton’s political ideas and philosophies, along with his passionate love for his country, continue to inspire people today. From his days advocating for American independence to his role in shaping the U.S. Government and economy in the early years of the nation, Hamilton’s contributions to American history are immeasurable. Even more than 200 years later, he remains a primary figure in American history and a mythic icon.
Founding Father: Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton’s Early Life
Alexander Hamilton was born either on January 22, 1757, or 1755 (historians are not sure) in Charlestown, Nevis, in the West Indies. His father and mother had two children. Unfortunately, his parent’s marriage did not last very long. Alexander Hamilton lived with his mother at St. Croix, but she passed away in 1768. Even though his dad was still alive, he and his brother basically became orphans.
Alexander Hamilton’s Education
Alexander Hamilton had been educated by his mother early in his life as well as by a mother and a clergyman. At the age of 12, he started to work as a clerk in a general store where he was found to have great at his job as well as in writing. Alexander Hamilton really wanted to go to college, so his aunt saved up money in order to send him.
In 1772, his aunt had enough money to send Alexander Hamilton to school. He first started in Elizabethtown, NJ, but then moved to Kings College the next year. Even though Alexander Hamilton was only 17, he was very mature and understood politics and both the American and British government very well. He wrote a series of anonymous pamphlets that were so perceptive, they many people thought that John Jay had written them.
Alexander Hamilton’s Military Career
Alexander Hamilton ended his education in 1775 and started a volunteer military company. On March 14, 1776, Alexander Hamilton became the Captain of the Provincial Company on NY Artillery. He was very intelligent and good at his job. George Washington noticed Alexander Hamilton’s leadership skills and writing ability. At the age of 20, Alexander Hamilton was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Washington’s aide on March 1, 1777. Here Hamilton helped Washington for four and a half years as a military secretary.
Alexander Hamilton got married on December 14, 1780, to Elizabeth Schuyler and had 8 children. He stayed in the military and was promoted to Colonel on September 30, 1783. However, he left the service at the end of the year.
Alexander Hamilton’s Political Career
From there, Alexander Hamilton began his career in politics. Alexander Hamilton was in Congress between 1782 and 1783 and then later worked as a lawyer in New York. Alexander Hamilton was responsible for writing a draft of a report at the Convention in Annapolis that led to the Constitution Convention in 1787.
He was an advocate of ratifying the Constitution and also helped write more over half of the Federalist papers as well. Alexander Hamilton became the first Secretary of the Treasury of the Cabinet when George Washington became president. Because the financial situation was bad after the revolution, Alexander Hamilton helped create the first national bank, the United States Mint, and a system of tariffs, duties, and excises which helped replace the bad financial system in 5 years.
Alexander Hamilton also became a leader in the Federalist Party who opposed the Democrat-Republican Party. After this, his political career was not very good. He was very secretive and dishonorable when dealing with other political members and officials. Alexander Hamilton resigned from the Cabinet in January 1795 and went back to practicing law, but still advised George Washington.
During the elections of 1796, Alexander Hamilton was very influential. He tried to get the Federalist Party to vote for Thomas Pinckney as Vice President so that John Adams could be president. However, this plan did not work and Thomas Jefferson became President.
Afterward, Alexander Hamilton tried to influence the new Secretary of State and the Secretary of Treasury. He had some success until President Jefferson realized what was happening and changed the members of his cabinet.
Alexander Hamilton was commissioned Major General in July of 1798. He was in the military for almost two more years. Afterward, he got into a fight with President Adams where he attacked this presidency. He tried to get the Federalists to win the 1800 presidential campaign, but they lost. Later on, when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr were tied in the Presidential election, Alexander Hamilton helped Jefferson win. He helped defeat Burr four years later when Burr wanted to be Governor of New York.
Aaron Burr was very upset at Alexander Hamilton for ruining any political dream he had, so he challenged Alexander Hamilton to a duel. Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded on July 11, 1804. He died the very next afternoon at the age of 47.
Fun Facts about Alexander Hamilton
•Alexander Hamilton is one of two people who are on money without having been a president. He is on the $10 bill.
•He started the Federalist Party, one of the first two parties in the United States.
•The New York Evening Post newspaper was founded by Alexander.