Alexander Hamilton was a Nevisian-born American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first Secretary of Treasury from 1789 to 1795 during George Washington's presidency.
148 Facts About Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton pursued his education in New York City where, despite his young age, he was a prolific and widely read pamphleteer advocating for the American revolutionary cause, though an anonymous one.
Alexander Hamilton then served as an artillery officer in the American Revolutionary War, where he saw military action against the British in the New York and New Jersey campaign, served for years as an aide to General George Washington, and helped secure American victory at the climactic Siege of Yorktown.
Alexander Hamilton resigned to practice law and founded the Bank of New York.
In 1786, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis Convention to replace the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution of the United States, which he helped ratify by writing 51 of the 85 installments of The Federalist Papers.
Alexander Hamilton envisioned a central government led by an energetic president, a strong national defense, and an industrial economy.
Alexander Hamilton successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution provided the legal authority to fund the national debt, assume the states' debts, and create the First Bank of the United States, which was funded by a tariff on imports and a whiskey tax.
Alexander Hamilton opposed American entanglement with the succession of unstable French Revolutionary governments and advocated in support of the Jay Treaty under which the US resumed friendly trade relations with the British Empire.
Alexander Hamilton persuaded Congress to establish the Revenue Cutter Service.
Alexander Hamilton's views became the basis for the Federalist Party, which was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson.
Alexander Hamilton was a leader in the abolition of the international slave trade.
Outraged by Adams' response to the crisis, Alexander Hamilton opposed his reelection campaign.
Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the presidency in the electoral college and, despite philosophical differences, Alexander Hamilton endorsed Jefferson over Burr, whom he found unprincipled.
When Burr ran for governor of New York in 1804, Alexander Hamilton again campaigned against him, arguing that he was unworthy.
Alexander Hamilton was immediately transported to the home of William Bayard Jr.
Alexander Hamilton's ideas are credited with laying the foundation for American government and finance.
Alexander Hamilton was born and spent part of the early part of his childhood in Charlestown, the capital of the island of Nevis in the British Leeward Islands.
Alexander Hamilton's mother was married previously on Saint Croix, then ruled by Denmark, to Johann Michael Lavien, who was of Danish or British descent.
Alexander Hamilton supplemented his education with a family library of 34 books.
Alexander Hamilton became a clerk at Beekman and Cruger, a local import-export firm that traded with the Province of New York and New England.
Alexander Hamilton remained an avid reader, and later developed an interest in writing and a life outside Saint Kitts, where he lived.
The Presbyterian Reverend Hugh Knox, a tutor and mentor to Alexander Hamilton, submitted the letter for publication in the Royal Danish-American Gazette.
Later that year, in preparation for college, Alexander Hamilton began to fill gaps in his education at the Elizabethtown Academy, a preparatory school run by Francis Barber in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Church of England clergyman Samuel Seabury published a series of pamphlets promoting the Loyalist cause in 1774, to which Alexander Hamilton responded anonymously with his first political writings, A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress and The Farmer Refuted.
Alexander Hamilton was a supporter of the Revolutionary cause before the war began, although he did not approve of mob reprisals against Loyalists.
Alexander Hamilton was forced to discontinue his studies before graduating when the college closed its doors during the British occupation of the city.
Alexander Hamilton drilled with the company before classes in the graveyard of nearby St Paul's Chapel.
Alexander Hamilton studied military history and tactics on his own and was recommended for promotion.
Alexander Hamilton took part in the campaign of 1776 in and around New York City; as rearguard of the Continental Army's retreat up Manhattan, serving at the Battle of Harlem Heights shortly after, and at the Battle of White Plains a month later.
Alexander Hamilton transported three cannons to the hall, and had them fire upon the building as others rushed the front door and broke it down.
Alexander Hamilton declined these invitations, believing his best chance for improving his station in life was glory on the Revolutionary War's battlefields.
Alexander Hamilton eventually received an invitation he felt he could not refuse: to serve as Washington's aide with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Alexander Hamilton handled letters to the Continental Congress, state governors, and the most powerful generals of the Continental Army.
Alexander Hamilton drafted many of Washington's orders and letters under Washington's direction, and he eventually issued orders on Washington behalf over his own signature.
Alexander Hamilton was involved in a wide variety of high-level duties, including intelligence, diplomacy, and negotiation with senior army officers as Washington's emissary.
Alexander Hamilton continued to repeatedly ask Washington and others for a field command.
Alexander Hamilton accepted an offer from Robert Morris to become receiver of continental taxes for the New York state.
James Madison joined Alexander Hamilton in influencing Congress to send a delegation to persuade Rhode Island to change its mind.
Alexander Hamilton transmitted a letter arguing that Congress already had the power to tax, since it had the power to fix the sums due from the several states; but Virginia's rescission of its own ratification of this amendment ended the Rhode Island negotiations.
Alexander Hamilton suggested using the Army's claims to prevail upon the states for the proposed national funding system.
The Morrises and Alexander Hamilton contacted General Henry Knox to suggest he and the officers defy civil authority, at least by not disbanding if the army were not satisfied.
Alexander Hamilton wrote Washington to suggest that Alexander Hamilton covertly "take direction" of the officers' efforts to secure redress, to secure continental funding but keep the army within the limits of moderation.
Alexander Hamilton requested militia from Pennsylvania's Supreme Executive Council, but was turned down.
Alexander Hamilton instructed Assistant Secretary of War William Jackson to intercept the men.
Alexander Hamilton argued that Congress ought to adjourn to Princeton, New Jersey.
Alexander Hamilton specialized in defending Tories and British subjects, as in Rutgers v Waddington, in which he defeated a claim for damages done to a brewery by the Englishmen who held it during the military occupation of New York.
Long dissatisfied with the Articles of Confederation as too weak to be effective, Alexander Hamilton played a major leadership role at the 1786 Annapolis Convention.
Alexander Hamilton drafted its resolution for a constitutional convention, and in doing so brought one step closer to reality his longtime desire to have a more effectual, more financially self-sufficient federal government.
From 1787 to 1789, Alexander Hamilton exchanged letters with Nathaniel Chipman, a lawyer representing Vermont.
In 1787, Alexander Hamilton served as assemblyman from New York County in the New York State Legislature and was chosen as a delegate at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia by his father-in-law Philip Schuyler.
Early in the Convention, Alexander Hamilton made a speech proposing a President-for-Life; it had no effect upon the deliberations of the convention.
Alexander Hamilton proposed to have an elected president and elected senators who would serve for life, contingent upon "good behavior" and subject to removal for corruption or abuse; this idea contributed later to the hostile view of Hamilton as a monarchist sympathizer, held by James Madison.
Since the other two members of the New York delegation, Lansing and Yates, had already withdrawn, Alexander Hamilton was the only New York signer to the United States Constitution.
Alexander Hamilton then took a highly active part in the successful campaign for the document's ratification in New York in 1788, which was a crucial step in its national ratification.
Alexander Hamilton first used the popularity of the Constitution by the masses to compel George Clinton to sign, but was unsuccessful.
Alexander Hamilton's arguments used for the ratifications were largely iterations of work from The Federalist Papers, and Smith eventually went for ratification, though it was more out of necessity than Alexander Hamilton's rhetoric.
Alexander Hamilton recruited John Jay and James Madison to write The Federalist Papers, a series of essays, to defend the proposed Constitution.
Alexander Hamilton made the largest contribution to that effort, writing 51 of the 85 essays published.
Alexander Hamilton supervised the entire project, enlisted the participants, wrote the majority of the essays, and oversaw the publication.
Alexander Hamilton covered the branches of government most pertinent to him: the executive and judicial branches, with some aspects of the Senate, as well as covering military matters and taxation.
Alexander Hamilton wrote the first paper signed as Publius, and all of the subsequent papers were signed under the name.
Alexander Hamilton's highlights included discussion that although republics have been culpable for disorders in the past, advances in the "science of politics" had fostered principles that ensured that those abuses could be prevented, such as the division of powers, legislative checks and balances, an independent judiciary, and legislators that were represented by electors.
Alexander Hamilton wrote an extensive defense of the constitution, and discussed the Senate and executive and judicial branches.
Alexander Hamilton had written to Robert Morris as early as 1781, that fixing the public credit will win their objective of independence.
The sources that Alexander Hamilton used ranged from Frenchmen such as Jacques Necker and Montesquieu to British writers such as Hume, Hobbes, and Malachy Postlethwayt.
Alexander Hamilton argued that liberty and property security were inseparable and that the government should honor the contracts, as they formed the basis of public and private morality.
Alexander Hamilton divided the debt into national and state, and further divided the national debt into foreign and domestic debt.
Alexander Hamilton felt the money from the bonds should not go to the soldiers who had shown little faith in the country's future, but the speculators that had bought the bonds from the soldiers.
Thomas Jefferson wrote years afterward that Alexander Hamilton had a discussion with him, around this time period, about the capital of the United States being relocated to Virginia by means of a "pill" that "would be peculiarly bitter to the Southern States, and that some concomitant measure should be adopted to sweeten it a little to them".
Alexander Hamilton's Report on a National Bank was a projection from the first Report on the Public Credit.
Alexander Hamilton used American records from James Wilson, Pelatiah Webster, Gouverneur Morris, and from his assistant treasury secretary Tench Coxe.
Alexander Hamilton thought that this plan for a National Bank could help in any sort of financial crisis.
The bank was to be governed by a twenty-five-member board of directors that was to represent a large majority of the private shareholders, which Alexander Hamilton considered essential for his being under a private direction.
In 1791, Alexander Hamilton submitted the Report on the Establishment of a Mint to the House of Representatives.
Alexander Hamilton differed from European monetary policymakers in his desire to overprice gold relative to silver, on the grounds that the United States would always receive an influx of silver from the West Indies.
Alexander Hamilton proposed that the US dollar should have fractional coins using decimals, rather than eighths like the Spanish coinage.
Alexander Hamilton desired the minting of small value coins, such as silver ten-cent and copper cent and half-cent pieces, for reducing the cost of living for the poor.
One of the principal sources of revenue Alexander Hamilton prevailed upon Congress to approve was an excise tax on whiskey.
The taxation rate was graduated in proportion to the whiskey proof, and Alexander Hamilton intended to equalize the tax burden on imported spirits with imported and domestic liquor.
Alexander Hamilton realized the loathing that the tax would receive in rural areas, but thought of the taxing of spirits more reasonable than land taxes.
Alexander Hamilton was aware of the potential difficulties and proposed inspectors the ability to search buildings that distillers were designated to store their spirits, and would be able to search suspected illegal storage facilities to confiscate contraband with a warrant.
Alexander Hamilton cautioned against expedited judicial means, and favored a jury trial with potential offenders.
Alexander Hamilton had attempted to appease the opposition with lowered tax rates, but it did not suffice.
Alexander Hamilton refuted Smith's ideas of government noninterference, as it would have been detrimental for trade with other countries.
Alexander Hamilton thought that the United States, being a primarily agrarian country, would be at a disadvantage in dealing with Europe.
Alexander Hamilton argued that developing an industrial economy is impossible without protective tariffs.
Alexander Hamilton called for encouraging immigration for people to better themselves in similar employment opportunities.
Alexander Hamilton was never successful: numerous shareholders reneged on stock payments, some members soon went bankrupt, and William Duer, the governor of the program, was sent to debtors' prison where he died.
The result was a treaty denounced by the Republicans, but Alexander Hamilton mobilized support throughout the land.
Alexander Hamilton's act remained unknown until Hammond's dispatches were read in the 1920s.
Alexander Hamilton's wife suffered a miscarriage while he was absent during his armed repression of the Whiskey Rebellion.
Alexander Hamilton grew dissatisfied with what he viewed as a lack of a comprehensive plan to fix the public debt.
Alexander Hamilton wished to have new taxes passed with older ones made permanent and stated that any surplus from the excise tax on liquor would be pledged to lower public debt.
Alexander Hamilton's proposals were included in a bill by Congress within slightly over a month after his departure as treasury secretary.
Some months later, Alexander Hamilton resumed his law practice in New York to remain closer to his family.
Alexander Hamilton's vision was challenged by Virginia agrarians Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who formed the Democratic-Republican Party.
Alexander Hamilton assembled a nationwide coalition to garner support for the administration, including the expansive financial programs Alexander Hamilton had made administration policy and especially the president's policy of neutrality in the European war between Britain and France.
Alexander Hamilton publicly denounced French minister Genet, who commissioned American privateers and recruited Americans for private militias to attack British ships and colonial possessions of British allies.
In 1801, Alexander Hamilton established a daily newspaper, the New York Evening Post, and brought in William Coleman as its editor.
An additional partisan irritant to Alexander Hamilton was the 1791 United States Senate election in New York, which resulted in the election of Democratic-Republican candidate Aaron Burr over Federalist candidate Philip Schuyler, the incumbent and Alexander Hamilton's father-in-law.
Alexander Hamilton blamed Burr personally for this outcome, and negative characterizations of Burr began to appear in his correspondence thereafter.
Alexander Hamilton influenced Washington in the composition of his farewell address by writing drafts for Washington to compare with the latter's draft, although when Washington contemplated retirement in 1792, he had consulted Madison for a draft that was used in a similar manner to Alexander Hamilton's.
Alexander Hamilton took the election as an opportunity: he urged all the northern electors to vote for Adams and Pinckney, lest Jefferson get in; but he cooperated with Edward Rutledge to have South Carolina's electors vote for Jefferson and Pinckney.
Six years earlier, in the summer of 1791,34-year-old Alexander Hamilton became involved in an affair with 23-year-old Maria Reynolds.
Alexander Hamilton recorded her address and subsequently delivered $30 personally to her boarding house, where she led him into her bedroom and "Some conversation ensued from which it was quickly apparent that other than pecuniary consolation would be acceptable".
Alexander Hamilton continually supported their relationship to extort blackmail money regularly from Hamilton.
The common practice of the day for men of equal social standing was for the wronged husband to seek retribution in a duel, but Reynolds, of a lower social status and realizing how much Alexander Hamilton had to lose if his activity came into public view, resorted to extortion.
Alexander Hamilton refuted the suspicions of financial speculation by exposing his affair with Maria and producing as evidence the letters by both of the Reynolds, proving that his payments to James Reynolds related to blackmail over his adultery, and not to treasury misconduct.
Alexander Hamilton then published a 100-page booklet, later usually referred to as the Reynolds Pamphlet, and discussed the affair in indelicate detail for the time.
At Washington's insistence, Alexander Hamilton was made the senior major general, prompting Continental Army major general Henry Knox to decline the appointment to serve as Alexander Hamilton's junior, believing it would be degrading to serve beneath him.
Alexander Hamilton served as inspector general of the United States Army from July 18,1798, to June 15,1800.
Alexander Hamilton urged them to pass a direct tax to fund the war.
Alexander Hamilton aided in all areas of the army's development, and after Washington's death he was by default the senior officer of the United States Army from December 14,1799, to June 15,1800.
Alexander Hamilton urged the New York Attorney General to prosecute the publisher for seditious libel, and the prosecution compelled the owner to close the paper.
Alexander Hamilton toured New England, again urging northern electors to hold firm for Pinckney in the renewed hope of making Pinckney president; and he again intrigued in South Carolina.
Alexander Hamilton's ideas involved coaxing middle-state Federalists to assert their non-support for Adams if there was no support for Pinckney and writing to more of the modest supports of Adams concerning his supposed misconduct while president.
Alexander Hamilton expected to see southern states such as the Carolinas cast their votes for Pinckney and Jefferson, and would result in the former being ahead of both Adams and Jefferson.
Alexander Hamilton mailed this to two hundred leading Federalists; when a copy fell into the Democratic-Republicans' hands, they printed it.
Alexander Hamilton spoke of Jefferson as being "by far not so a dangerous man" and of Burr as a "mischievous enemy" to the principal measure of the past administration.
Alexander Hamilton wrote many letters to friends in Congress to convince the members to see otherwise.
The Federalists rejected Alexander Hamilton's diatribe as reasons to not vote for Burr, although historian Cokie Roberts claimed that Alexander Hamilton's campaign against Burr was a major reason Burr failed to win in the end.
Alexander Hamilton wrote a letter in response and ultimately refused because he could not recall the instance of insulting Burr.
Alexander Hamilton would have been accused of recanting Cooper's letter out of cowardice.
Separate accounts confirm that Alexander Hamilton was uncharacteristically effusive while Burr was, by contrast, uncharacteristically withdrawn.
Alexander Hamilton refused the more sensitive hairspring setting for the dueling pistols offered by Nathaniel Pendleton, and Burr was unaware of the option.
Vice President Burr shot Alexander Hamilton, delivering what proved to be a fatal wound.
Alexander Hamilton's shot broke a tree branch directly above Burr's head.
The biographer Ron Chernow considers the circumstances to indicate that, after taking deliberate aim, Burr fired second, while the biographer James Earnest Cooke suggests that Burr took careful aim and shot first, and Alexander Hamilton fired while falling, after being struck by Burr's bullet.
The paralyzed Alexander Hamilton was immediately attended by the same surgeon who tended Phillip Alexander Hamilton, and ferried to the Greenwich Village boarding house of his friend William Bayard Jr.
On his deathbed, Alexander Hamilton asked the Episcopal Bishop of New York, Benjamin Moore, to give him holy communion.
Alexander Hamilton's birthplace had a large Jewish community, constituting one quarter of Charlestown's white population by the 1720s.
Alexander Hamilton came into contact with Jews on a regular basis, having been tutored by a Jewish schoolmistress.
Some evidence suggests that Alexander Hamilton was born and raised Jewish, but little is known for certain.
Alexander Hamilton wrote two or three hymns, which were published in the local newspaper.
Robert Troup, his college roommate, noted that Alexander Hamilton was "in the habit of praying on his knees night and morning".
Stories were circulated that Alexander Hamilton had made two quips about God at the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
Alexander Hamilton justified the creation of this bank, and other federal powers, under Congress's constitutional authority to issue currency, regulate interstate commerce, and do anything else that would be "necessary and proper" to enact the provisions of the Constitution.
Alexander Hamilton's policies have had great influence on the development of the US government.
Alexander Hamilton's reputation was mostly negative in the eras of Jeffersonian democracy and Jacksonian democracy.
Conversely, modern scholars favoring Alexander Hamilton have portrayed Jefferson and his allies as naive, dreamy idealists.
Alexander Hamilton is not known to have ever owned slaves, although members of his family were slave owners.
At the time of her death, Alexander Hamilton's mother owned two slaves and wrote a will leaving them to her sons.
Later, as a youth in Saint Croix, Alexander Hamilton worked for a company trading in commodities that included slaves.
Alexander Hamilton was active during the Revolutionary War in trying to raise black troops for the army with the promise of freedom.
In 1804, when Haiti became an independent state with a majority Black population, Alexander Hamilton urged closer economic and diplomatic ties.
Alexander Hamilton has been portrayed as the patron saint of the American School economic philosophy that, according to one historian, later dominated American economic policy after 1861.
In contrast to the British policy of international mercantilism, which he believed skewed benefits to colonial and imperial powers, Alexander Hamilton was a pioneering advocate of protectionism.
Alexander Hamilton is credited with the idea that industrialization would only be possible with tariffs to protect the "infant industries" of an emerging nation.