Alexander Hamilton: Architect of American Finance
This above Video is a Documentary on Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was born to James Hamilton and Rachel Fawcett Lavine at “Saint Kitts and Nevis”. Both James and Rachel were from well-to-do-off rich family backgrounds. However, Rachel was already married to John Michael Lavine when James first met her. But, soon they both start liking each other’s company and James was a love affair in the life of Rachel Fawcett.
January 11th, 1755 or 1757, Rachel gave birth to Alexander Hamilton. The birth year of Alexander Hamilton is not concrete and this is one of the many interesting facts about Mr. Hamilton. The fact that Rachel was not divorced till 1758 by John Michael Lavine could also be a reason for this uncertainty and conspiracy.
It was around the year 1765 and James left the family. Rachel had to start a small shop to survive. Seeing the current financial situation of the family, young Alexander at the age of 11 decided to work as a clerk at the counting-house of two well-reputed Merchants.
Things were going smoothly for some time but just 3 years after John left the family, Rachel died as well and Alexander was alone without a family. Disheartened but strong Alexander did not give up or sulk into sadness. Through his sheer willpower and hard work, just in a matter of 7 years, he managed to get promoted to manager.
From 1772 to 1773 Alexander Hamilton decided to focus on his studies and attained his education at King’s College of New York. In today’s world, you know it as Colombia University. Young, focused, brilliant, and full of energy, Alexander Hamilton was walking the campus of one of the most iconic Universities of the future. He didn’t even know he will become one of the reasons making the university so popular. But he could not stay focused for long.
December 16th, 1773, a rageful group of 60 men decided to take the battle to East India Trading Company by revolting against the Tax and Tea Laws. At night, 342 chests full of tea belonging to the British East India Trading Company Worth £18,000 were thrown into the Boston Harbor by these 60 men. This act created ripples so wild that shook the life of Alexander Hamilton entirely. An exceptionally good student was now involved in a revolt against the British Empire and supported the Boston Tea Party to the fullest. He even wrote 3 prestigious pamphlets in favor of the Continental Congress from seventeen seventy-four to 1775.
This act of rebellion ignited a fire in the heart of young Alexander Hamilton and he would never let that fire douse. Just a year later in 1776, with the help of his friends, Hamilton was able to participate in the Battle of Trenton. He was assigned as a Captain in the Provincial Artillery. Alexander showed immense bravery and stopped the British Army from crossing the Raritan River and attacking George Washington’s main army.
Alexander Hamilton became the unbreakable wall that kept the British army at bay! He was also invited by Washington to aide-de-camp and was promoted to lieutenant colonel. Merely at the age of 20, Alexander Hamilton was able to achieve a high rank in the Military through his bravery and guts.
In the 4 years of his working with Washington’s Staff, he was able to gain the trust and respect of the General. He was often sent to important missions and soon became a liaison officer for Washington and the French General. Because of his fluency in the French Language, he not just gained fame in America but in France as well.
Soon enough in 1780, Alexander Hamilton got married to Elizabeth Schuyler who was the daughter of General Philip Schuyler. Alexander and Elizabeth had 8 children in total and Philip was the eldest of the kids. Just like their parents, the kids too were interested in serving the nation and protecting the country from outer threats and internal conflicts. Following the footsteps of their father, they too became government officials.
Alexander Hamilton left Washington’s staff by 1781 but remained in the army. Gradually he was called back and was advised to command at the battle of Yorktown. Outnumbered and outgunned, Alexander Hamilton took the war to General Cornwallis and attacked the Redoubt (Fort no. 10). Hamilton ordered his troops to be swift and walked straight to the Fort No. 10 and attacked the whole fleet, and pushed them down to the level of surrender. The whole assault was over in under 10 minutes.
With just 400 troops, less than 10 casualties, and 30 injured soldiers, Hamilton again became immortal in the history of American Battles in the Battle of Yorktown. On October 19th, 1781, General Cornwallis surrendered to the American Military, and another battle slid into the victory vault of America. But it was Alexander Hamilton who was directly the cause of that triumph. For Hamilton, reputation was everything and what’s the better way to earn a name and glory if not in war?
Where other troops saw war and bloodshed, Hamilton saw an opportunity to be remembered as one of the most powerful and successful commanders of the army. He believed his victory can further assist him in his career. Hamilton walked not toward war but toward his grandeur with that attitude.
6 years passed, and Hamilton decided to leave the battlefield. He now started studying the law and even cleared the exam for New York BAR and started practicing as an attorney in New York. This decision landed him at the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia in 1787, as he was chosen among the three delegates from New York to present his views.
With great personalities like James Madison and John Jay, Alexander Hamilton published a document with 85 essays which we now know as Federalist Papers. Out of these 85 essays, more than 50 were written personally by Hamilton himself. At the age of 30, he was one of the most respected and trusted officials in the eyes of the whole nation.
The most important year in Hamilton’s career was 1789. This was the year when President George Washington himself appointed Hamilton as the First Secretary of the Treasury. It was now a turn for Hamilton to turn from a war hero and an attorney into a financial advisor to be reckoned with.
From 1790 to 1791, Alexander Hamilton presented Congress with 4 different notable reports which helped the American economy to grow and establish. He also helped in establishing the first bank of the United States which was almost adapted from the working and functioning of the Bank of England. But this helped Alexander Hamilton yet again to leave a mark on history and increase his influence in America. Although he was opposed a lot by other powerful and influential people like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson as his policies would grant a lot more power to the Federal Government but he managed to make his policies work. Even today, we see Hamilton’s face on a 10 dollars bill.
After working for 6 years as Secretary of the Treasury, on December 31st, 1795 he decided to leave and start practicing as an attorney again. But his influence and his power stayed with him. He remained an unofficial advisor to the treasury. He was consulted regarding almost all the policies which were about to be adopted in the future. President George Washington even consulted Alexander Hamilton after he left the treasury cabinet for his retirement. He asked him what would the right time be for Washington to take retirement and publish his farewell. After seeking his advice, Washington declared his retirement and gave his farewell speech on September 1796.
But this was not the major issue, what was important is that there had to be a new President. A long debate was fought over John Adams and Thomas Pinckney. While others wanted John Adams to lead, Hamilton was in support of Thomas Pinckney. The only thing that came out of this support of Hamilton in Thomas Pinckney was distrust among his party. Alas, John Adams won the Presidency and Hamilton had to suffer because of the loss of trust from his party members. But Hamilton was never out of the picture.
He was still asked and consulted in matters of policies and thus he remained an influential and powerful personality. Even without Hamilton being an official member of the Government, he was well aware of all the upcoming policies and much of the confidential information. After 4 long quarrelsome years with John Adams regarding the military policies and Hamilton’s desire to become a Major General, Hamilton decided to hang the cowl and retire from the Cabinet in 1800.
At the same time, elections were held again and it was time for a new president to show up. This time, it was Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. But this was just the beginning of the end of Hamilton’s public career. As there was a draw between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, Hamilton advised the party members to go in favor of Thomas Jefferson. This caused Hamilton all his reputation as now he was supporting an old Republican enemy of his. Although Thomas Jefferson won, this ended Hamilton’s career in politics. After being done with his political career, Hamilton started his professional journey in the field of print media. He started a Federalist Newspaper called the New York Evening Post in the year 1801.
In 1804, the question of the Governorship of New York rose. While everyone was in favor of Aaron Burr, Hamilton opposed him with great distrust. Aaron Burr lost the Governorship of New York. Although it is not proven that Hamilton had any part in the loss of Aaron Burr, Mr. Burr had other beliefs. According to Burr, it was Hamilton’s despicable opinion at a dinner Party in April that cost him his Governorship. And this was the downfall of Alexander Hamilton.
11th July 1804, Weehawken- New Jersey, because of the quarrel between the two, Aaron Burr challenged Alexander Hamilton to a duel. The two men met in the morning and the duel started. Just three years ago at the same spot, Philip, the eldest child of Alexander Hamilton lost his life in a duel at the same spot fighting for his father’s honor with George Eacker. Unfortunately, Philip got hit and died. And now, it’s Alexander against Burr at the same spot. Both men fired at one another. It is believed that Alexander Hamilton did not want to shoot and hurt Aaron Burr and missed on purpose but Burr had other plans. Alexander was shot and sustained a lethal injury.
The next day, due to the injury and infection from the shot, Alexander Hamilton bid farewell to the world. Even after so many struggles in personal and professional life, even after becoming one of the most influential people in America, Alexander Hamilton left his wife and 7 kids with heavy debt which his friends helped to repay. But even today, Alexander Hamilton is considered a war hero, a national hero, and one of the Founding Fathers of America as we know it. His statue is also installed at the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington. Alexander Hamilton once said, “Those who stand for nothing; fall for everything.” He took his stand for his nation and fell for his nation; thus, he is known to date for his bravery, immense intelligence, hard work, efforts, and unbound selfless love for America.
Time Period : March 1779- May 1785
Appointed By : Continental Congress
Predecessor : George Washington
Successor : James Wilkinson
Second Term : November 1788- March 1789
Predecessor : Egbert Benson
First Term : November 1782- June 1783
|Academic references on Alexander Hamilton|
|1. “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow: This highly acclaimed biography provides a detailed and well-researched account of Alexander Hamilton’s life and his significant contributions to American history.|
|2. “The Papers of Alexander Hamilton”: This project, based at Columbia University, publishes Alexander Hamilton’s papers and correspondence, offering valuable insights into his thoughts and actions.|
|3. “Alexander Hamilton: A Life” by Willard Sterne Randall: In this book, Willard Sterne Randall explores Alexander Hamilton’s role as a statesman, economist, and founding father.|
|4. “Alexander Hamilton: A Cultural Biography” by Tony Williams: This work delves into the cultural and intellectual influences on Alexander Hamilton’s life and political philosophy.|
|5. “Hamilton: An American Biography” by Tony Williams and Stephen F. Knott: This scholarly biography examines the political and constitutional contributions of Alexander Hamilton.|
|6. “Alexander Hamilton and the Development of American Law” by Kate Elizabeth Brown: This academic work analyzes Alexander Hamilton’s legal career and his influence on American law.|
|7. “Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years” by Michael E. Newton: This book focuses on Alexander Hamilton’s early life and upbringing, shedding light on the foundations of his character and ideas.|
|Quotes By Alexander Hamilton|
|“Give all the power to the many, they will oppress the few. Give all the power to the few, they will oppress the many.”|
|“Hard words are very rarely useful. Real firmness is good for every thing. Strut is good for nothing.”|
|“Those who stand for nothing fall for everything.”|
|“A powerful, victorious ally is yet another name for master.”|
|“When avarice takes the lead in a state, it is commonly the forerunner of its fall. “|
This Article will answer your questions like:
- Why is Alexander the Great still famous?
- Why did Alexander return from India?
- Is Alexandria named after Alexander the Great?
- Was Alexander really great?
- How old was Alexander the Great when he die?
- How did Alexander the Great die?