Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804): A Founding Father of the United States, Hamilton was chief of staff to General George Washington, an influential interpreter and promoter of the Constitution, and the founder of the American financial system.
Big accomplishments: As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton established a national banking system, a system of tariffs, and is known for creating friendly trade relations with Britain. He also was the leader of the Federalist party—and the opposition to the Democratic-Republican party led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Background: Born out of wedlock and raised in the West Indies, Hamilton was orphaned at about the age of 11 when his mother, Rachel Faucett, died of yellow fever. Hamilton was sick, and nearly died as well. The people of his community recognized that he had a keen mind, and sponsored him to go to the North American mainland for his education. He attended King’s College (now Columbia University). He also taught himself law, and became an attorney.
How he died: Hamilton kept his hand in politics and was a powerful influence on the cabinet of President John Adams (1797–1801). Hamilton’s opposition to Adams’ re-election helped cause his defeat in the 1800 election. In the same contest, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the presidency in the electoral college. Despite his philosophical differences with Jefferson, Hamilton helped him defeat Burr, whom he felt was unprincipled. Vice President Burr later ran for governor in New York State, but Hamilton’s influence in his home state was strong enough to again prevent a Burr victory. Taking offense at some of Hamilton’s comments, Burr challenged him to a duel, and mortally wounded Hamilton—who died the next day, on July 12, 1804.
Claims to fame: Hamilton led the Annapolis Convention, which successfully influenced Congress to issue a call for the Philadelphia Convention, in order to create a new Constitution. He was an active participant at Philadelphia and helped achieve ratification by writing 51 of the 85 installments of the Federalist Papers, which supported the new constitution and to this day is the single most important source for Constitutional interpretation. After the American Revolutionary War, Hamilton was appointed to the Congress of the Confederation from New York. Embarrassed when a extra-marital affair became public, Hamilton resigned from office in 1795. He resigned to practice law, and founded the Bank of New York.
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More Fascinating Facts for Alexander Hamilton
Where did Alexander Hamilton go to college?
In 1772, Alexander Hamilton was sent by his guardian, James Crugar, to New Jersey to further his education. The following year he enrolled in King’s College, which is now Columbia University. He later studied to be a lawyer and was admitted to The New York Bar in 1783.
Who was the first secretary of the Treasury?
Alexander Hamilton, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and major author of the Federalist Papers, was the United States’ first secretary of the US Treasury.
Which founding father was orphaned?
Alexander Hamilton was the illegitimate son of James Hamilton and Rachel Faucett Lavien. He was orphaned in 1768, at the age of 11 (or 13, depending on the source).