Alexander Hamilton

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Born on the 11th of January 1755, in Charlestown, the capital of the island of Nevis, in the Leeward Islands; Nevis was one of the British West Indies.  Alexander Hamilton is the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. He was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington administration, especially the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain.

 

On December 14, 1780 Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler at Schuyler Mansion in Albany, New York. She was daughter of General Philip Schuyler. After marrying Elizabeth, Hamilton became member of one of the richest and most political families in the state of New York, they had eight children.

 

Hamilton started working as a clerk at Beekman and Cruger, a local import-export firm that traded with New England. In 1771, while the owner of his firm was at sea, Hamilton was left in charge for five months. For a while later, Hamilton was adopted by a Nevis merchant, Thomas Stevens. However, he continued working as a clerk.

 

Hamilton received education from a grammar school in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He studied with Francis Barber at Elizabethtown in 1773. He then decided to attend King’s College (now Columbia University), in New York City, getting a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in just one year.

 

In November 1782, Hamilton was elected to the Congress of the Confederation, as a New York representative. While he was there, several Congressmen from that area, including Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, James Wilson, and James Madison, were trying to provide the Congress with an independent source of revenue, which it lacked under the Articles of Confederation.

 

In 1784, he founded the Bank of New York (the oldest ongoing banking organization in the United States till date). Hamilton was one of the men who restored King’s College, which had been severely damaged in 1776 – during the Battle of Long Island, as Columbia College.

 

He participated in Washington’s Revolutionary War from 1777 to 1781. After the war, Hamilton co-wrote the famous ‘Federalist’ Papers with John Jay and James Madison, which served as a primary source for Constitutional interpretation. Hamilton signed his essays as ‘Publius’.

 

President Washington appointed Hamilton as the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury in 1789. During his term as the U.S. Secretary of State, Hamilton was repeatedly investigated for some of the most serious charges, such as the Reynolds affair.

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In 1790, he was involved in an incident, in which the money that Congress had appropriated to pay the European creditors of the United States was used by Hamilton, towards his domestic expenditure. Hamilton was not able to provide any evidence against this charge, proving his innocence.

 

His feud with Adams exploded in 1800 when Hamilton an attack on Adams’ presidency was published. He worked furiously in the elections of 1800, but both Federalist candidates were defeated. When Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson tied in the elections that year, Hamilton cast his influence in his political party to Thomas Jefferson which was stupefying in the fact that Hamilton disliked Jefferson.

 

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton had been on friendly terms for years, but after fifteen years of having every political aspiration thwarted by Hamilton, Burr was seething with anger and itching for revenge.

 

When Burr read statements published by Hamilton to the effect of: he is “a dangerous man and one who ought not to be trusted with the reins of government”, it was the final straw. Ultimately, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. On July 11, 1804, Hamilton was wounded by gunshot wounds and he died the following afternoon at the age of 47.