Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Overview
Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757  – July 12, 1804) was a Founding Father
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

, soldier, economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

yers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington Administration
Presidency of George Washington
With inauguration on April 30, 1789, the presidency of George Washington initiated a significant leadership role over the United States. President Washington entered office with the full support of the national and state leadership, and established the executive and judicial branches of the federal...

, 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.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Alexander Hamilton'
Start a new discussion about 'Alexander Hamilton'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Quotations

For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.

Statement after the Constitutional Convention (1787)

It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.

Speech in New York, urging ratification of the U.S. Constitution (1788-06-21)

Here, sir, the people govern; here they act by their immediate representatives.

Remarks on the U.S. House of Representatives, at the New York state convention on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, Poughkeepsie, New York (1788-07-27)

Every power vested in a government is in its nature sovereign, and includes by force of the term a right to employ all the means requisite...to the attainment of the ends of such power.

Opinion on the Constitutionality of the Bank (1791-02-23)

If the end be clearly comprehended within any of the specified powers, and if the measure have an obvious relation to that end, and is not forbidden by any particular provision of the Constitution, it may safely be deemed to come within the compass of the national authority.

ibid.

If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.

Essay in the American Daily Advertiser (1794-08-28)

The passions of a revolution are apt to hurry even good men into excesses.

Essay (1795-08-12)

I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be.

Letter (1802-04-16)

Men are rather reasoning than reasonable animals, for the most part governed by the impulse of passion.

ibid.

A garden, you know, is a very usual refuge of a disappointed politician. Accordingly, I have purchased a few acres about nine miles from town, have built a house, and am cultivating a garden.

Letter to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1802-12-29)
Encyclopedia
Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757  – July 12, 1804) was a Founding Father
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

, soldier, economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

yers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington Administration
Presidency of George Washington
With inauguration on April 30, 1789, the presidency of George Washington initiated a significant leadership role over the United States. President Washington entered office with the full support of the national and state leadership, and established the executive and judicial branches of the federal...

, 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. He became the leader of the Federalist Party, created largely in support of his views, and was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

.

Hamilton served in the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. At the start of the war, he organized an artillery company and was chosen as its captain. He later became the senior aide-de-camp
Aide-de-camp
An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant, secretary, or adjutant to a person of high rank, usually a senior military officer or a head of state...

 and confidant to General George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, the American commander-in-chief. He served again under Washington in the army raised to defeat the Whiskey Rebellion
Whiskey Rebellion
The Whiskey Rebellion, or Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest in the United States in the 1790s, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers who sold their corn in the form of whiskey had to pay a new tax which they strongly resented...

, a tax revolt of western farmers in 1794. In 1798, Hamilton called for mobilization against France after the XYZ Affair
XYZ Affair
The XYZ Affair was a 1798 diplomatic episode during the administration of John Adams that Americans interpreted as an insult from France. It led to an undeclared naval war called the Quasi-War, which raged at sea from 1798 to 1800...

, and secured an appointment as commander of a new army, which he trained for a war. However, the Quasi-War
Quasi-War
The Quasi-War was an undeclared war fought mostly at sea between the United States and French Republic from 1798 to 1800. In the United States, the conflict was sometimes also referred to as the Franco-American War, the Pirate Wars, or the Half-War.-Background:The Kingdom of France had been a...

, although hard-fought at sea, was never officially declared. In the end, President John Adams found a diplomatic solution that avoided war.

Born and raised in the West Indies, Hamilton came to North America for his education, sponsored by people from his community. He attended King's College (now Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

). After the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, Hamilton was elected to the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....

 from New York. He resigned to practice law, and founded the Bank of New York
Bank of New York
The Bank of New York was a global financial services company established in 1784 by the American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It existed until its merger with the Mellon Financial Corporation on July 2, 2007...

. He was among those dissatisfied with the first national governance document, the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

. While serving in the New York Legislature
New York Legislature
The New York State Legislature is the term often used to refer to the two houses that act as the state legislature of the U.S. state of New York. The New York Constitution does not designate an official term for the two houses together...

, Hamilton was sent as a delegate to the Annapolis Convention
Annapolis Convention (1786)
The Annapolis Convention was a meeting in 1786 at Annapolis, Maryland, of 12 delegates from five states that unanimously called for a constitutional convention. The formal title of the meeting was a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government...

 in 1786 to revise the Articles, but it resulted in a call for a new constitution instead. He was one of New York's delegates at the Philadelphia Convention
Philadelphia Convention
The Constitutional Convention took place from May 14 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address problems in governing the United States of America, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from...

 that drafted the new constitution in 1787, and was the only New Yorker who signed it. In support of the new Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

, Hamilton wrote many of the Federalist Papers
Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788...

, still an important source for Constitutional interpretation. In the new government under President George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, he was appointed the Secretary of the Treasury. An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist who emphasized strong central government, and successfully argued that the implied powers
Implied powers
Implied powers, in the United States, are those powers authorized by a legal document which, while not stated, seem to be implied by powers expressly stated...

 of the Constitution could be used to fund the national debt, assume state debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States
First Bank of the United States
The First Bank of the United States is a National Historic Landmark located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania within Independence National Historical Park.-Banking History:...

. These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports
Tariff in American history
Tariffs in United States history have played different roles in trade policy, political debates and the nation's economic history. Tariffs were the largest source of federal revenue from the 1790s to the eve of World War I, until it was surpassed by income taxes. Tariffs are taxes on imports and...

 and later also by a highly controversial excise tax on whiskey.

Embarrassed when an extra-marital affair with Maria Reynolds
Maria Reynolds
Maria Lewis Reynolds is best known as the mistress of Alexander Hamilton and wife of James Reynolds, and she played a central role in one of the first sex scandals in American political history.-History:...

 became public, Hamilton resigned from office in 1795 and returned to the practice of law in New York. However, he kept his hand in politics and was a powerful influence on the cabinet of President Adams (1797–1801). Hamilton's opposition to John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 helped cause Adams' defeat in the 1800 elections. When Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

 tied in the electoral college
Electoral college
An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organizations or entities, with each organization or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes weighted in a particular way...

, Hamilton helped defeat his bitter personal enemy Burr and elect Jefferson as president. After opposing Adams, the candidate of his own party, Hamilton was left with few political friends. In 1804, as the next presidential election approached, Hamilton again opposed the candidacy of Burr. Taking offense at some of Hamilton's comments, Burr challenged him to a duel and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died within days.

Childhood in the Caribbean


Alexander Hamilton was born in Charlestown
Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Charlestown is the capital of the island of Nevis, in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Leeward Islands, West Indies. Charlestown is situated on the leeward side of the island of Nevis, near the southern end of Pinneys Beach....

, the capital of the island of Nevis
Nevis
Nevis is an island in the Caribbean Sea, located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, about 350 km east-southeast of Puerto Rico and 80 km west of Antigua. The 93 km² island is part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies...

, in the Leeward Islands
Leeward Islands
The Leeward Islands are a group of islands in the West Indies. They are the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain. As a group they start east of Puerto Rico and reach southward to Dominica. They are situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean...

; Nevis was then one of the British West Indies
British West Indies
The British West Indies was a term used to describe the islands in and around the Caribbean that were part of the British Empire The term was sometimes used to include British Honduras and British Guiana, even though these territories are not geographically part of the Caribbean...

. His mother moved with the infant Hamilton to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, then ruled by Denmark.
Hamilton was born out of wedlock to Rachel Faucette Lavien, of partial French Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

 descent, and James A. Hamilton, the fourth son of Scottish laird
Laird
A Laird is a member of the gentry and is a heritable title in Scotland. In the non-peerage table of precedence, a Laird ranks below a Baron and above an Esquire.-Etymology:...

 Alexander Hamilton of Grange
Kerelaw Castle
Kerelaw Castle is a castle ruin situated on the coast of North Ayrshire, Scotland in the town of Stevenston.- History :This castle, variously named Kerelaw, Kerila or even Turnlaw, is said by Timothy Pont to have been held by the Lockharts from Richard de Morville, Constable of Scotland, as far...

, Ayrshire
Ayrshire
Ayrshire is a registration county, and former administrative county in south-west Scotland, United Kingdom, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Its principal towns include Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine. The town of Troon on the coast has hosted the British Open Golf Championship twice in the...

.

It is not certain whether the year of Hamilton's birth was 1757 or 1755; most historical evidence after Hamilton's arrival in North America supports the idea that he was born in 1757, and many historians had accepted this birth date. Hamilton's early life in the Caribbean was recorded in documents first published in Danish in 1930; this evidence has caused recent historians to opt for a birth year of 1755. Hamilton listed his birth year as 1757 when he first arrived in the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

. He celebrated his birthday on January 11. In later life, he tended to give his age only in round figures. Probate papers from St. Croix in 1768, after the death of Hamilton's mother, list him as then 13 years old, a date that would support a birth year of 1755. There are several explanations for the different birth years: If 1755 is correct, Hamilton may have been trying to appear younger than his college classmates, or perhaps wished to avoid standing out as older; on the other hand, if 1757 is correct, the probate document indicating a birth year of 1755 may have been in error, or Hamilton may have been attempting to pass as 13, in order to be more employable after his mother's death.
Hamilton's mother had been married previously to Johann Michael Lavien of St. Croix, a much older German Jewish merchant planter. To escape this unhappy marriage, Rachel left her husband and first son, traveling to St. Kitts in 1750, where she met James Hamilton. Hamilton and Rachel moved together to Rachel's birthplace, Nevis, where she had inherited property from her father. Their two sons were James, Jr., and Alexander. Because Alexander Hamilton's parents were not legally married, the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 denied him membership and education in the church school. Instead, Hamilton received "individual tutoring" and classes in a private Jewish school. Hamilton supplemented his education with a family library of thirty-four books, including Greek and Roman classics
Classics
Classics is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world ; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or...

.

Hamilton's father James abandoned Rachel and their two sons, allegedly to "spar[e] [Rachel] a charge of bigamy . . . [after finding out that her first husband] intend[ed] to divorce her under Danish law on grounds of adultery and desertion." Rachel supported her family in St. Croix by keeping a small store in Christiansted. She contracted a severe fever and died on February 19, 1768, 1:02 am, leaving Hamilton effectively orphaned. This may have had severe emotional consequences for him, even by the standards of an eighteenth-century childhood. In probate court, Rachel's "first husband seized her estate" and obtained the few valuables Rachel had owned, including some household silver. Many items were auctioned off, but a friend purchased the family books and returned them to the young Hamilton.

Hamilton became a clerk at a local import-export firm, Beekman and Cruger, which traded with New England; he was left in charge of the firm for five months in 1771, while the owner was at sea. He and his older brother James were adopted briefly by a cousin, Peter Lytton, but when Lytton committed suicide the brothers were separated. James apprenticed with a local carpenter, while Alexander was adopted by Nevis merchant Thomas Stevens. Some evidence suggests that Stevens may have been Alexander Hamilton's biological father: his son, Edward Stevens, became a close friend of Hamilton. The two boys were described as looking much alike, were both fluent in French, and shared similar interests.

Hamilton continued clerking, but he remained an avid reader, later developed an interest in writing, and began to desire a life outside the small island where he lived. He wrote an essay published in the Royal Danish-American Gazette, a detailed account of a hurricane that had devastated Christiansted on August 30, 1772. The essay impressed community leaders, who collected a fund to send the young Hamilton to the North American colonies for his education.

Education


In the autumn of 1772, Hamilton arrived by way of Boston, Massachusetts, at Elizabethtown Academy, a grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. In 1773 he studied with Francis Barber
Francis Barber
Francis Barber was the Jamaican manservant of Samuel Johnson in London from 1752 until Johnson's death in 1784. Johnson made him his residual heir, with £70 a year to be given him by Trustees, expressing the wish that he move from London to Lichfield in Staffordshire, Johnson's native city...

 at Elizabethtown in preparation for college work. He came under the influence of a leading intellectual and revolutionary, William Livingston
William Livingston
William Livingston served as the Governor of New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War and was a signer of the United States Constitution.-Early life:...

 with whom he lived for a time at his new house, Liberty Hall. Hamilton applied to the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

), asking to be allowed to study at a quicker pace and complete his studies in a shorter time. The college's Board of Trustees refused his request. Hamilton made a similar request to King's College in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 (now Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

), was accepted, and entered the college in late 1773 or early 1774.
When the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 clergyman Samuel Seabury published a series of pamphlets promoting the Loyalist
Loyalist
In general, a loyalist is someone who maintains loyalty to an established government, political party, or sovereign, especially during war or revolutionary change. In modern English usage, the most common application is to loyalty to the British Crown....

 cause the following year, Hamilton responded with his first political writings, "A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress
A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress
A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress was Alexander Hamilton's first published work in 1774.In his publication, Hamilton addresses his praise for the Continental Congress, citing that "It was hardly to be expected that any man could be so presumptuous as openly to controvert the equity,...

" and "The Farmer Refuted
The Farmer Refuted
The Farmer Refuted was Alexander Hamilton's second published work after A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress, as a follow-up publication on his first work.- Summary of Publication :...

". He published two additional pieces attacking the Quebec Act
Quebec Act
The Quebec Act of 1774 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain setting procedures of governance in the Province of Quebec...

 as well as fourteen anonymous installments of "The Monitor" for Holt's New York Journal. Although Hamilton was a supporter of the Revolutionary cause at this prewar stage, he did not approve of mob reprisals against Loyalists. On May 10, 1775, Hamilton saved his college president Myles Cooper
Myles Cooper
Myles Cooper was a figure in colonial New York. An Anglican priest, he served as the President of King's College from 1763 to 1775, and was a public opponent of the American Revolution....

, a Loyalist, from an angry mob by speaking to the crowd long enough for Cooper to escape the danger.

During the Revolutionary War



Early military career


In 1775, after the first engagement of American troops with the British in Boston
Siege of Boston
The Siege of Boston was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War, in which New England militiamen—who later became part of the Continental Army—surrounded the town of Boston, Massachusetts, to prevent movement by the British Army garrisoned within...

, Hamilton joined a New York volunteer militia company called the Hearts of Oak
Hearts of Oak (New York militia)
The Hearts of Oak were a volunteer militia in the British colonial Province of New York as part of the Thirteen Colonies. Formed c. 1775 in New York City, among its members were students at King's College such as Nicholas Fish, Robert Troup, and perhaps most famously, Alexander Hamilton...

, which included other King's College students. He drilled with the company, before classes, in the graveyard of nearby St. Paul's Chapel
St. Paul's Chapel (Columbia University)
St. Paul's Chapel is the chapel of Columbia University in New York City. Designed and built from 1904 to 1907 by I. N. Phelps Stokes of the architectural firm Howells & Stokes in an elaborate mixture of Italian Renaissance, Byzantine, and Gothic styles, its interior features Guastavino tile...

. Hamilton studied military history and tactics on his own and achieved the rank of lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

. Under fire from HMS Asia
HMS Asia (1764)
HMS Asia was a 64-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 3 March 1764 at Portsmouth Dockyard. She participated in the American Revolutionary War and the capture of Martinique in 1794....

, he led a successful raid for British cannon in the Battery
Battery Park
Battery Park is a 25-acre public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City, facing New York Harbor. The Battery is named for artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city's early years in order to protect the settlement behind them...

, the capture of which resulted in the Hearts of Oak becoming an artillery company thereafter. Through his connections with influential New York
Province of New York
The Province of New York was an English and later British crown territory that originally included all of the present U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Vermont, along with inland portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine, as well as eastern Pennsylvania...

 patriots such as Alexander McDougall
Alexander McDougall
Alexander McDougall was an American seaman, merchant, a Sons of Liberty leader from New York City before and during the American Revolution, and a military leader during the Revolutionary War. He served as a major general in the Continental Army, and as a delegate to the Continental Congress...

 and John Jay
John Jay
John Jay was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, and the first Chief Justice of the United States ....

, he raised the New York Provincial Company of Artillery
New York Provincial Company of Artillery
During the American Revolutionary War, the New York Provincial Company of Artillery was created by the New York Provincial Congress in 1776 to defend New York City from British attack.-History:...

 of sixty men in 1776, and was elected captain. It took part in the campaign of 1776 around New York City, particularly at the Battle of White Plains
Battle of White Plains
The Battle of White Plains was a battle in the New York and New Jersey campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought on October 28, 1776, near White Plains, New York. Following the retreat of George Washington's Continental Army northward from New York City, British General William Howe landed...

; at the Battle of Trenton
Battle of Trenton
The Battle of Trenton took place on December 26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, after General George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River north of Trenton, New Jersey. The hazardous crossing in adverse weather made it possible for Washington to lead the main body of the...

, it was stationed at the high point of town, the meeting of the present Warren and Broad Streets, to keep the Hessians pinned in the Trenton Barracks.

Washington's staff


Hamilton was invited to become an aide to Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Many places in the United...

 and to Henry Knox
Henry Knox
Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War....

; however, he declined these invitations, believing his best chance for improving his station in life was glory on the battlefield. Hamilton eventually received an invitation he felt he could not refuse: to serve as Washington's aide
Washington's Aides-de-Camp
Thirty-two men served as General George Washington's aides-de-camp during the War for American Independence, according to "the authoritative list of Washington's aides and secretaries compiled by Worthington Chauncy Ford in 1906...

, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

. Hamilton served for four years as Washington's chief of staff. He handled letters to Congress, state governors, and the most powerful generals in the Continental Army; he drafted many of Washington's orders and letters at the latter's direction; he eventually issued orders from Washington over Hamilton's own signature. Hamilton was involved in a wide variety of high-level duties, including intelligence, diplomacy, and negotiation with senior army officers as Washington's emissary. The important duties with which he was entrusted attest to Washington's deep confidence in his abilities and character, then and afterward. At the points in their relationship when there was little personal attachment, there was still always a reciprocal confidence and respect.

During the war, Hamilton became close friends with several fellow officers. His letters to the Marquis de Lafayette and to John Laurens
John Laurens
John Laurens was an American soldier and statesman from South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. He gained approval by the Continental Congress in 1779 to recruit a regiment of 3000 slaves by promising them freedom in return for fighting...

, employing the sentimental
Sentimental novel
The sentimental novel or the novel of sensibility is an 18th century literary genre which celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism, and sensibility...

 literary conventions of the late eighteenth century and alluding to Greek history and mythology, have been read as revealing a homosocial
Homosocial
In sociology, homosociality describes same-sex relationships that are not of a romantic or sexual nature, such as friendship, mentorship, or others. The opposite of homosocial is heterosocial, preferring non-sexual relations with the opposite sex...

 or perhaps homosexual relationship, but few historians agree.
Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
Elizabeth Hamilton was the wife of Alexander Hamilton. She was born in Albany, New York, the second daughter of Philip Schuyler, an American Revolutionary War general, and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler, one of the richest and most political families in the state of New York...

 on December 14, 1780. She was the daughter of Philip Schuyler
Philip Schuyler
Philip John Schuyler was a general in the American Revolution and a United States Senator from New York. He is usually known as Philip Schuyler, while his son is usually known as Philip J. Schuyler.-Early life:...

, a general and wealthy landowner from one of the most prominent families in the state of New York. The marriage took place at Schuyler Mansion
Schuyler Mansion
Schuyler Mansion is a historic house at 32 Catherine Street in Albany, New York, United States. The brick mansion is now a museum and an official National Historic Landmark. It was constructed from 1761 to 1762 for Philip Schuyler, later a general in the Continental Army and early U.S. Senator,...

 in Albany
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

, New York.

Hamilton was also extremely close to Eliza's older sister, Angelica Schuyler Church
Angelica Schuyler Church
Angelica Schuyler Church was the eldest daughter of Continental Army General Philip Schuyler, wife of British MP John Barker Church, sister of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton , and a prominent member of the social elite wherever she lived; first in New York, then in Paris, London and New York again...

, who eloped with John Barker Church
John Barker Church
John Barker Church was born in Lowestoft, England, befriended the cause of the American Revolution , was Commissary General of the French Army in America, and financially aided the new government. Returning to England after the war, he was elected a Member of Parliament...

, an Englishman who made a fortune in the American colonies during the Revolution, and returned with him to London after the war.

While on Washington's staff, Hamilton long sought command in active combat. As the war drew ever nearer to a close, he knew that opportunities for military glory were fading. In February 1781, Hamilton was mildly reprimanded by Washington, and used this as an excuse for resigning his staff position. He immediately began to ask Washington and others incessantly for a field command. This continued until early July 1781, when Hamilton submitted a letter to Washington with his commission
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

 enclosed, "thus tacitly threatening to resign if he didn't get his desired command".

On July 31, 1781, Washington relented, and Hamilton was given command of a New York light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 battalion. In the planning for the assault on Yorktown
Siege of Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown, or Surrender of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by a combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis...

, Hamilton was given command of three battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

s, which were to fight in conjunction with French troops in taking Redoubt
Redoubt
A redoubt is a fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger fort, usually relying on earthworks, though others are constructed of stone or brick. It is meant to protect soldiers outside the main defensive line and can be a permanent structure or a...

s #9 and #10 of the British fortifications at Yorktown. Hamilton and his battalions fought bravely and took Redoubt #10 with bayonets, as planned. The French also fought bravely, took heavy casualties, and successfully took Redoubt #9. This action forced the British surrender at Yorktown of an entire army, effectively ending major British military operations in North America.

Hamilton enters Congress


After the Battle of Yorktown, Hamilton resigned his commission. He was elected in July 1782 to the Congress of the Confederation
Congress of the Confederation
The Congress of the Confederation or the United States in Congress Assembled was the governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789. It comprised delegates appointed by the legislatures of the states. It was the immediate successor to the Second...

 as a New York representative for the term beginning in November 1782. Hamilton supported congressmen such as Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris, his assistant Gouverneur Morris
Gouverneur Morris
Gouverneur Morris , was an American statesman, a Founding Father of the United States, and a native of New York City who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation. Morris was also an author of large sections of the...

 (no relation), along with James Wilson
James Wilson
James Wilson was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. Wilson was elected twice to the Continental Congress, and was a major force in drafting the United States Constitution...

 and James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

, to provide the Congress with the independent source of revenue it lacked under the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

.

While on Washington's staff, Hamilton had become frustrated with the decentralized nature of the wartime Continental Congress, particularly its dependence upon the states for financial support. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had no power to collect taxes or to demand money from the states. This lack of a stable source of funding had made it difficult for the Continental Army both to obtain its necessary provisions and to pay its soldiers. During the war, and for some time after, Congress obtained what funds it could from subsidies from the King of France, from aid requested from the several states (which were often unable or unwilling to contribute), and from European loans.

An amendment to the Articles had been proposed by Thomas Burke, in February 1781, to give Congress the power to collect a 5% impost, or duty on all imports, but this required ratification by all states; securing its passage as law proved impossible after it was rejected by Rhode Island in November 1782. Madison joined Hamilton in persuading Congress to send a delegation to persuade Rhode Island to change its mind. Their report recommending the delegation argued the federal government needed not just some level of financial autonomy, but also the ability to make laws that superseded those of the individual states. 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
Rescission
In contract law, rescission has been defined as the unmaking of a contract between parties. Rescission is the unwinding of a transaction. This is done to bring the parties, as far as possible, back to the position in which they were before they entered into a contract .-In court:Rescission is an...

 of its own ratification ended the Rhode Island negotiations.

Congress and the Army


While Hamilton was in Congress, discontented soldiers began to pose a danger to the young United States. Most of the army was then posted at Newburgh, New York. Those in the army were paying for much of their own supplies, and they had not been paid in eight months. Furthermore, the Continental officers had been promised, in May 1778, after Valley Forge
Valley Forge
Valley Forge in Pennsylvania was the site of the military camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778 in the American Revolutionary War.-History:...

, a pension of half their pay when they were discharged. It was at this time that a group of officers organized under the leadership of General Henry Knox
Henry Knox
Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War....

 sent a delegation to lobby Congress, led by Capt. Alexander MacDougall (see above). The officers had three demands: the Army's pay, their own pensions, and commutation of those pensions into a lump-sum payment.

Several Congressmen, including Hamilton and the Morrises, attempted to use this Newburgh Conspiracy
Newburgh conspiracy
The Newburgh Conspiracy was unrest in 1783 among officers of the American Continental Army due to many officers and men of the Army not receiving pay for many years. Commander-in-Chief George Washington stopped any serious talk by appealing successfully to his officers to support the supremacy of...

 as leverage to secure independent support for funding for the federal government in Congress and from the states. They encouraged MacDougall to continue his aggressive approach, threatening unknown consequences if their demands were not met, and defeated proposals that would have resolved the crisis without establishing general federal taxation: that the states assume the debt to the army, or that an impost be established dedicated to the sole purpose of paying that debt. Hamilton suggested using the Army's claims to prevail upon the states for the proposed national funding system. The Morrises and Hamilton contacted Knox to suggest he and the officers defy civil authority, at least by not disbanding if the army were not satisfied; Hamilton wrote Washington to suggest that Hamilton covertly "take direction" of the officers' efforts to secure redress, to secure continental funding but keep the army within the limits of moderation. Washington wrote Hamilton back, declining to introduce the army; after the crisis had ended, he warned of the dangers of using the army as leverage to gain support for the national funding plan.

On March 15, Washington defused the Newburgh situation by giving a speech to the officers. Congress ordered the Army officially disbanded in April 1783. In the same month, Congress passed a new measure for a twenty-five-year impost—which Hamilton voted against— that again required the consent of all the states; it also approved a commutation of the officers' pensions to five years of full pay. Rhode Island again opposed these provisions, and Hamilton's robust assertions of national prerogatives in his previous letter were widely held to be excessive. The Continental Congress was never able to secure full ratification for back pay, pensions, or its own independent sources of funding.

In June 1783, a different group of disgruntled soldiers from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, sent Congress a petition demanding their back pay. When they began to march toward Philadelphia, Congress charged Hamilton and two others with intercepting the mob. Hamilton requested militia from Pennsylvania's Supreme Executive Council, but was turned down. Hamilton instructed Assistant Secretary of War William Jackson to intercept the men. Jackson was unsuccessful. The mob arrived in Philadelphia, and the soldiers proceeded to harangue Congress for their pay. The President of Congress, John Dickinson, feared that the Pennsylvania state militia was unreliable, and refused its help. Hamilton argued that Congress ought to adjourn to Princeton, New Jersey. Congress agreed, and relocated there.

Frustrated with the weakness of the central government, Hamilton while in Princeton drafted a call to revise the Articles of Confederation. This resolution contained many features of the future US Constitution, including a strong federal government with the ability to collect taxes and raise an army. It also included the separation of powers into the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.

Return to New York


Hamilton resigned from Congress, and in July 1783 was admitted to the New York Bar after several months of self-directed education. He practiced law in New York City in partnership with Richard Harison
Richard Harison
Richard Harison was an American lawyer and Federalist politician from New York.-Life:...

. He specialized in defending Tories and British subjects, as in Rutgers v. Waddington
Rutgers v. Waddington
Rutgers v. Waddington was a case held in the New York City Mayor's Court in 1784, setting a precedent for the concept of Judicial Review.- Summary of Case :...

, 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. He pleaded for the Mayor's Court to interpret state law consistent with the 1783 Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

 which had ended the Revolutionary War.

In 1784, he founded the Bank of New York
Bank of New York
The Bank of New York was a global financial services company established in 1784 by the American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It existed until its merger with the Mellon Financial Corporation on July 2, 2007...

, now the oldest ongoing banking organization in the United States. Hamilton was one of the men who restored King's College, which had been suspended since the Battle of Long Island
Battle of Long Island
The Battle of Long Island, also known as the Battle of Brooklyn or the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, fought on August 27, 1776, was the first major battle in the American Revolutionary War following the United States Declaration of Independence, the largest battle of the entire conflict, and the...

 in 1776 and severely damaged during the War, as Columbia College
Columbia College of Columbia University
Columbia College is the oldest undergraduate college at Columbia University, situated on the university's main campus in Morningside Heights in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It was founded in 1754 by the Church of England as King's College, receiving a Royal Charter from King George II...

. His public career resumed when he attended the Annapolis Convention
Annapolis Convention (1786)
The Annapolis Convention was a meeting in 1786 at Annapolis, Maryland, of 12 delegates from five states that unanimously called for a constitutional convention. The formal title of the meeting was a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government...

 as a delegate in 1786. While there, he drafted its resolution for a constitutional convention, and in doing so brought his longtime desire to have a more powerful, more financially independent federal government one step closer to reality.

Constitution and Federalist Papers





In 1787, Hamilton served as assemblyman from New York County in the New York State Legislature and was the first delegate chosen to the Constitutional Convention. Even though Hamilton had been a leader in calling for a new Constitutional Convention, his direct influence at the Convention itself was quite limited. Governor George Clinton
George Clinton (vice president)
George Clinton was an American soldier and politician, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was the first Governor of New York, and then the fourth Vice President of the United States , serving under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He and John C...

's faction in the New York legislature had chosen New York's other two delegates, John Lansing
John Lansing, Jr.
John Ten Eyck Lansing, Jr. , was an American lawyer and politician. He was the uncle of Gerrit Y. Lansing.-Career:...

 and Robert Yates
Robert Yates (politician)
Robert Yates was a politician and judge well known for his Anti-Federalist stances. He is also well known as the presumed author of political essays published in 1787 and 1788 under the pseudonyms "Brutus" and "Sydney"...

, and both of them opposed Hamilton's goal of a strong national government. Thus, whenever the other two members of the New York delegation were present, they decided New York's vote; and when they left the convention in protest, Hamilton remained but with no vote, since two representatives were required for any state to cast a vote.

Early in the Convention he made a speech proposing a President-for-Life; it had no effect upon the deliberations of the convention. He proposed to have an elected President and elected Senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 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
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

. During the convention, Hamilton constructed a draft for the Constitution based on the convention debates, but he never presented it. This draft had most of the features of the actual Constitution, including such details as the three-fifths clause. In this draft, the Senate was to be elected in proportion to the population, being two-fifths the size of the House, and the President and Senators were to be elected through complex multistage elections, in which chosen electors would elect smaller bodies of electors; they would hold office for life, but were removable for misconduct. The President would have an absolute veto
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

. The Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 was to have immediate jurisdiction over all law suits involving the United States, and state governors were to be appointed by the federal government.

At the end of the Convention, Hamilton was still not content with the final form of the Constitution, but signed it anyway as a vast improvement over the Articles of Confederation, and urged his fellow delegates to do so also. Since the other two members of the New York delegation, Lansing and Yates, had already withdrawn, Hamilton was the only New York signer to the United States Constitution. He 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. Hamilton recruited John Jay and James Madison to write a series of essays defending the proposed Constitution, now known as the Federalist Papers
Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788...

, and made the largest contribution to that effort, writing 51 of 85 essays published (Madison wrote 29, Jay only five). Hamilton's essays and arguments were influential in New York state, and elsewhere, during the debates over ratification. The Federalist Papers are more often cited than any other primary source by jurists, lawyers, historians, and political scientists as the major contemporary interpretation of the Constitution.

In 1788, Hamilton served yet another term in what proved to be the last session of the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....

 under the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

. When the term of Hamilton's father-in-law Phillip Schuyler was up in 1791, elected in his place was the attorney general of New York, one Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

. Hamilton blamed Burr for this result, and ill characterizations of Burr appear in his correspondence thereafter. The two men did work together from time to time thereafter on various projects, including Hamilton's army of 1798 and the Manhattan Water Company.

Secretary of the Treasury


President George Washington appointed Hamilton as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

 on September 11, 1789. He left office on the last day of January 1795. Much of the structure of the government of the United States was worked out in those five years, beginning with the structure and function of the cabinet itself. Forrest McDonald
Forrest McDonald
Forrest McDonald , is an American historian who has written extensively on the early national period, on republicanism, and on the presidency. He is widely considered one of the foremost historians of the Constitution and of the early national period.- Life :McDonald was born in Orange, Texas. He...

 argues that Hamilton saw his office, like that of the British First Lord of the Treasury
First Lord of the Treasury
The First Lord of the Treasury is the head of the commission exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, and is now always also the Prime Minister...

, as the equivalent of a Prime Minister; Hamilton would oversee his colleagues under the elective reign of George Washington. Washington did request Hamilton's advice and assistance on matters outside the purview of the Treasury Department
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue...

.

In the next two years, Hamilton submitted five reports:
  • First Report on the Public Credit
    First Report on the Public Credit
    The First Report on Public Credit was the first of three major reports on economic policy issued by American Founding Father and first United States Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton on the request of Congress. The report analyzed the financial standing of the United States of America and made...

    : Communicated to the House of Representatives, January 14, 1790.
  • Operations of the Act Laying Duties on Imports: Communicated to the House of Representatives, April 23, 1790.
  • Second Report on Public Credit
    Second Report on Public Credit
    The Second Report on Public Credit was the second report of three major reports on economic policy issued by Founding Father of the United States and first United States Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton on the request of Congress for consideration on establishing a national banking system with...

     – Report on a National Bank. Communicated to the House of Representatives, December 14, 1790.
  • Report on the Establishment of a Mint: Communicated to the House of Representatives, January 28, 1791.
  • Report on Manufactures
    Report on Manufactures
    The Report on Manufactures is the third report, and magnum opus, of American Founding Father and 1st U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton...

    : Communicated to the House of Representatives, December 5, 1791.

Report on Public Credit


In the Report on Public Credit, the Secretary made a controversial proposal that would have the federal government assume state debts incurred during the Revolution. This would give the federal government much more power by placing the country's most serious financial obligation in the hands of the federal government rather than the state governments.

The primary criticism of the plan was from Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Thomas Jefferson and Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

. Some states, such as Jefferson's Virginia, had paid almost half of their debts, and felt that their taxpayers should not be assessed again to bail out the less provident. They further argued that the plan passed beyond the scope of the new Constitutional government.

Madison objected to Hamilton's proposal to lower the rate of interest and postpone payments on federal debt as not being payment in full; he also objected to the speculative profits being made. Much of the national debt was in the form of bonds issued to Continental veterans, in place of wages the Continental Congress did not have the money to pay. As the bonds continued to go unpaid, many had been pawned for a small fraction of their value. Madison proposed to pay in full, but to divide payment between the original recipient and the present possessor. Others, such as Samuel Livermore
Samuel Livermore
Samuel Livermore was a U.S. politician. He was a U.S. Senator from New Hampshire from 1793 to 1801 and served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate in 1796 and again in 1799....

 of New Hampshire, wished to curb speculation, and reduce taxation, by paying only part of the bond. The disagreements between Madison and Hamilton extended to other proposals Hamilton made to Congress, and drew in Jefferson when he returned from serving as minister to France. Hamilton's supporters became known as Federalists and Jefferson's as Republicans. As Madison put it:
"I deserted Colonel Hamilton, or rather Colonel H. deserted me; in a word, the divergence between us took place from his wishing to administration, or rather to administer the Government into what he thought it ought to be..."


Hamilton eventually secured passage of his assumption plan by striking a deal with Jefferson and Madison. Hamilton would use his influence to place the permanent national capital on the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

, and Jefferson and Madison would encourage their friends to back Hamilton's assumption plan. In the end, Hamilton's assumption, together with his proposals for funding the debt, overcame legislative opposition and narrowly passed the House on July 26, 1790.

Founding the US Mint


Hamilton helped found the United States Mint
United States Mint
The United States Mint primarily produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of State...

; the first national bank
First Bank of the United States
The First Bank of the United States is a National Historic Landmark located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania within Independence National Historical Park.-Banking History:...

; and an elaborate system of duties, tariffs, and excises. Within five years, the complete Hamiltonian program had replaced the chaotic financial system of the Confederation era with a modern apparatus that gave the new government financial stability and investors sufficient confidence to invest in government bonds.

Revenue Cutter Service


Hamilton developed a "System of Cutters", forming the Revenue Cutter Service, (later combined with other government entities to form the United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

). Coast Guard vessels are still referred to as "Cutters" today.

Sources of revenue


One of the principal sources of revenue Hamilton prevailed upon Congress to approve was an excise tax on whiskey. Strong opposition to the whiskey tax by cottage producers in remote, rural regions erupted into the Whiskey Rebellion
Whiskey Rebellion
The Whiskey Rebellion, or Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest in the United States in the 1790s, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers who sold their corn in the form of whiskey had to pay a new tax which they strongly resented...

 in 1794; in Western Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania consists of the western third of the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. Pittsburgh is the largest city in the region, with a metropolitan area population of about 2.4 million people, and serves as its economic and cultural center. Erie, Altoona, and Johnstown are its...

 and western Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, whiskey was the basic export product and was fundamental to the local economy. In response to the rebellion, believing compliance with the laws was vital to the establishment of federal authority, Hamilton accompanied to the rebellion's site President Washington, General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, and more federal troops than were ever assembled in one place during the Revolution. This overwhelming display of force intimidated the leaders of the insurrection, ending the rebellion virtually without bloodshed.

Manufacturing and industry


Hamilton's next report was his "Report on Manufactures". Congress shelved the report without much debate (except for Madison's objection to Hamilton's formulation of the General Welfare clause, which Hamilton construed liberally as a legal basis for his extensive programs). The Report has been often quoted by protectionists since.

In 1791, while still Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton worked in a private capacity to help found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures
Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures
The Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures or Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures was a private state-sponsored corporation founded in 1791 to promote industrial development along the Passaic River in New Jersey in the United States...

, a private corporation that would use the power of the Great Falls of the Passaic River
Great Falls of the Passaic River
The Great Falls of the Passaic River is a prominent waterfall, high, on the Passaic River in the city of Paterson in Passaic County in northern New Jersey in the United States. The Congress authorized its establishment as a National Historical Park in 2009...

 in New Jersey to operate mills. Although the company did not succeed in its original purpose, it leased the land around the falls to other mill ventures and continued to operate for over a century and a half.

Emergence of parties


During Hamilton's tenure as Treasury Secretary, political factions began to emerge. A Congressional caucus, led by James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 and William Branch Giles
William Branch Giles
William Branch Giles ; the name is pronounced jyles) was an American statesman, long-term Senator from Virginia, and the 24th Governor of Virginia...

, began as an opposition group to Hamilton's financial programs, and Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 joined this group when he returned from France. Hamilton and his allies began to call themselves Federalists. The opposition group, now referred to as the Democratic-Republican Party, was then known by several names, including Republicans, republicans, Jeffersonians, and Democrats.

The Federalists assembled a nationwide coalition to garner support for the Administration, including the expansive financial programs Hamilton had made Administration policy; the Democratic-Republicans built their own national coalition to oppose these Federalist programs. Both sides gained the support of local political factions; each side developed its own partisan newspapers. Noah Webster
Noah Webster
Noah Webster was an American educator, lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author...

, John Fenno
John Fenno
John Fenno , was a Federalist Party editor and major figure in the history of American newspapers. His Gazette of the United States played a major role in shaping the beginnings of party politics in the United States in the 1790s.-Biography:Fenno was born in Boston, the son of Ephraim Fenno,...

, and eventually William Cobbett
William Cobbett
William Cobbett was an English pamphleteer, farmer and journalist, who was born in Farnham, Surrey. He believed that reforming Parliament and abolishing the rotten boroughs would help to end the poverty of farm labourers, and he attacked the borough-mongers, sinecurists and "tax-eaters" relentlessly...

 were prominent editors for the Federalists; Benjamin Franklin Bache
Benjamin Franklin Bache
Benjamin Franklin Bache was a surgeon in the United States Navy before and during the Civil War. He was a great-grandson of the Revolutionary War statesman and author, Benjamin Franklin....

 and Philip Freneau edited major publications for the Democratic-Republicans. Coverage by newspapers of both parties was characterized by frequent personal attacks and information of questionable veracity.

In 1801, Hamilton established a daily newspaper, the New York Evening Post under editor William Coleman
William Coleman (editor)
William Coleman was the first editor of The New York Evening Post , chosen by founder Alexander Hamilton.-Background:...

. It is now known as the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

.

French Revolutionary wars


When France and Britain went to war
First Coalition
The War of the First Coalition was the first major effort of multiple European monarchies to contain Revolutionary France. France declared war on the Habsburg monarchy of Austria on 20 April 1792, and the Kingdom of Prussia joined the Austrian side a few weeks later.These powers initiated a series...

 in early 1793, all four members of the Cabinet were consulted on what to do. They unanimously agreed to remain neutral, and both Hamilton and Jefferson were major architects in working out the specific provisions that maintained and enforced that neutrality.

However, during Hamilton's last year in office, policy toward Britain became a major point of contention between the two parties. Hamilton and the Federalists wished for more trade with Britain, which would provide more revenue from tariffs; the Democratic-Republicans preferred an embargo to compel Britain to respect the rights of the United States and give up the forts it still held on American soil in contravention to the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

.

To avoid war, Washington in late 1794 sent Chief Justice John Jay
John Jay
John Jay was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, and the first Chief Justice of the United States ....

 to negotiate with the British; Hamilton helped to draw up his instructions. The result was Jay's Treaty, which, as the State Department says, "addressed few US interests, and ultimately granted Britain additional rights". The treaty was extremely unpopular, and the Democratic-Republicans opposed it for its failure to redress previous grievances and for its failure to address British violations of American neutrality during the war.

Several European nations had formed a League of Armed Neutrality
Second League of Armed Neutrality
The Second League of Armed Neutrality or the League of the North was an alliance of the north European naval powers Denmark–Norway, Prussia, Sweden and Russia. It occurred between 1800 and 1801 during the War of the Second Coalition and was initiated by Paul I of Russia...

 against incursions on their neutral rights; the Cabinet was also consulted on whether the United States should join it, and decided not to. It kept that decision secret, but Hamilton revealed it in private to George Hammond, the British Minister to the United States, without telling Jay or anyone else. (His act remained unknown until Hammond's dispatches were read in the 1920s). This "amazing revelation" may have had limited effect on the negotiations; Jay did threaten to join the League at one point, but the British had other reasons not to view the League as a serious threat.

Affair


In 1791, Hamilton became involved in an affair with Maria Reynolds
Maria Reynolds
Maria Lewis Reynolds is best known as the mistress of Alexander Hamilton and wife of James Reynolds, and she played a central role in one of the first sex scandals in American political history.-History:...

 that badly damaged his reputation. Reynolds's complicit husband, James, blackmailed Hamilton for money by threatening to inform Hamilton's wife. When James Reynolds was arrested for counterfeiting, he contacted several prominent members of the Democratic-Republican Party, most notably James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

 and Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

, touting that he could expose a top-level official for corruption. Presuming that James Reynolds could implicate Hamilton in an abuse of his position in Washington's Cabinet, they interviewed Hamilton with their suspicions. Hamilton insisted he was innocent of any misconduct in public office, but admitted to an affair with Maria Reynolds. Since this was not germane to Hamilton's conduct in office, Hamilton's interviewers did not publish about Reynolds. When rumors began spreading after his retirement, Hamilton published a confession of his affair, shocking his family and supporters by not merely confessing but also by inexplicably narrating the affair at an unexpected level of detail. This public revelation damaged Hamilton's reputation for the rest of his life.

1796 presidential election


Hamilton's resignation as Secretary of the Treasury in 1795 did not remove him from public life. With the resumption of his law practice, he remained close to Washington as an advisor and friend. Hamilton influenced Washington in the composition of his Farewell Address
George Washington's Farewell Address
George Washington's Farewell Address was written to "The People of the United States" near the end of his second term as President of the United States and before his retirement to his home at Mount Vernon....

; Washington and members of his Cabinet often consulted with him.

In the election of 1796, under the Constitution as it stood then, each of the presidential electors had two votes, which they were to cast for different men. The one who received most votes would become President, the second-most, Vice President. This system was not designed with the operation of parties in mind, as they had been thought disreputable and factious. The Federalists planned to deal with this by having all their Electors vote for John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, the Vice President, and all but a few for Thomas Pinckney
Thomas Pinckney
Thomas Pinckney was an early American statesman, diplomat and veteran of both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.-Early life in the military:...

 of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 (who was on his way home from being Minister to Spain, where he had negotiated a popular treaty); Jefferson chose Aaron Burr as his vice presidential running mate.

Adams resented Hamilton's influence with Washington and considered him overambitious and scandalous in his private life; Hamilton compared Adams unfavorably with Washington and thought him too emotionally unstable to be President. 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
Edward Rutledge
Edward Rutledge was an American politician and youngest signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. He later served as the 39th Governor of South Carolina.-Early years and career:...

 to have South Carolina's electors vote for Jefferson and Pinckney. If all this worked, Pinckney would have more votes than Adams, Pinckney would become President, and Adams would remain Vice President; but it did not work. The Federalists found out about it (even the French minister to the United States knew), and northern Federalists voted for Adams but not for Pinckney, in sufficient numbers that Pinckney came in third and Jefferson became Vice President. Adams resented the intrigue, since he felt his service to the nation was much more extensive than Pinckney's.

Quasi-War


During the Quasi-War
Quasi-War
The Quasi-War was an undeclared war fought mostly at sea between the United States and French Republic from 1798 to 1800. In the United States, the conflict was sometimes also referred to as the Franco-American War, the Pirate Wars, or the Half-War.-Background:The Kingdom of France had been a...

 of 1798–1800, and with Washington's strong endorsement, Adams reluctantly appointed Hamilton a major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 of the army (essentially placing him in command, since Washington could no longer leave Mt. Vernon). If full-scale war broke out with France, Hamilton argued that the army should conquer the North American colonies of France's ally, Spain, bordering the United States.

To fund this army, Hamilton had been writing incessantly to Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. was United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1795 to 1800 and the 24th Governor of Connecticut from 1817 to 1827.-Youth and education:...

, his successor at the Treasury; William Loughton Smith
William Loughton Smith
William Loughton Smith was an American lawyer from Charleston, South Carolina. He represented South Carolina in the U.S. House from 1789 until 1797 and served as the U.S...

, of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Senator Theodore Sedgwick
Theodore Sedgwick
Theodore Sedgwick was an attorney, politician and jurist, who served in elected state government and as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, a US Representative, and a United States Senator from Massachusetts. He served as the fifth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives...

 of Massachusetts. He directed them to pass a direct tax to fund the war. Smith resigned in July 1797, as Hamilton scolded him for slowness, and told Wolcott to tax houses instead of land.

The eventual program included a Stamp Act
Stamp Act
A stamp act is any legislation that requires a tax to be paid on the transfer of certain documents. Those that pay the tax receive an official stamp on their documents, making them legal documents. The taxes raised under a stamp act are called stamp duty. This system of taxation was first devised...

 like that of the British before the Revolution and other taxes on land, houses, and slaves, calculated at different rates in different states, and requiring difficult and intricate assessment of houses. This provoked resistance in southeastern Pennsylvania, led primarily by men who had marched with Washington against the Whiskey Rebellion, such as John Fries.

Hamilton aided in all areas of the army's development, and officially served as the Senior Officer of the United States Army
Commanding General of the United States Army
Prior to the institution of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1903, there was generally a single senior-most officer in the army. From 1783, he was known simply as the Senior Officer of the United States Army, but in 1821, the title was changed to Commanding General of the United...

 as a Major General from December 14, 1799, to June 15, 1800. The army was to guard against invasion from France. Hamilton also suggested that its strategy involve marching into the possessions of Spain, then allied with France, and potentially even taking Louisiana
Louisiana Territory
The Territory of Louisiana or Louisiana Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1805 until June 4, 1812, when it was renamed to Missouri Territory...

 and Mexico. His correspondence further suggests that when he returned in military glory, he dreamed of setting up a properly energetic government, without any Jeffersonians. Adams, however, derailed all plans for war by opening negotiations with France. Adams had also held it proper to retain the members of Washington's cabinet, except for cause; he found, in 1800 (after Washington's death), that they were obeying Hamilton rather than himself, and fired several of them.

1800 presidential election



In the 1800 election, Hamilton worked to defeat not only the rival Democratic-Republican candidates, but also his party's own nominee, John Adams.

In November 1799, the Alien and Sedition Acts
Alien and Sedition Acts
The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the 5th United States Congress in the aftermath of the French Revolution's reign of terror and during an undeclared naval war with France, later known as the Quasi-War. They were signed into law by President John Adams...

 had left one Democratic-Republican newspaper functioning in New York City; when the last one, the New Daily Advertiser, reprinted an article saying that Hamilton had attempted to purchase the Philadelphia Aurora and close it down, Hamilton had the publisher prosecuted for seditious libel
Seditious libel
Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

, and the prosecution compelled Mr. Greenleaf to close it.

Aaron Burr had won New York for Jefferson in May; Hamilton proposed a rerun of the election under different rules, with carefully drawn districts, each choosing an elector, so that the Federalists would split the electoral vote of New York. John Jay, a Federalist, who had given up the Supreme Court to be Governor of New York, wrote on the back of the letter the words, "Proposing a measure for party purposes which it would not become me to adopt," and declined to reply.

John Adams was running this time with Thomas Pinckney's elder brother Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth “C. C.” Pinckney , was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as their presidential candidate, but he did not win either election.-Early life and...

. Hamilton, however, toured New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, again urging northern electors to hold firm for this Pinckney, in the renewed hope of making Pinckney President; and he again intrigued in South Carolina. This time, the important reaction was from the Jeffersonian electors, all of whom voted both for Jefferson and Burr to ensure that no such deal would result in electing a Federalist. (Burr had received only one vote from Virginia in 1796.)

In September, Hamilton wrote a pamphlet called Letter from Alexander Hamilton, Concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq. President of the United States that was highly critical of Adams, though it closed with a tepid endorsement. He mailed this to two hundred leading Federalists; when a copy fell into the Democratic-Republicans' hands, they printed it. This hurt Adams's 1800 reelection campaign and split the Federalist Party, virtually assuring the victory of the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Jefferson, in the election of 1800; it destroyed Hamilton's position among the Federalists.

On the Federalist side, Governor Arthur Fenner
Arthur Fenner
Arthur Fenner served as the fourth Governor of Rhode Island from 1790 until his death in 1805 and was a prominent Country Party leader...

 of Rhode Island denounced these "jockeying tricks" to make Pinckney President, and one Rhode Island elector voted for Adams and Jay. Jefferson and Burr tied for first and second; Pinckney came in fourth.

Jefferson had beaten Adams, but both he and his running mate, Aaron Burr, had received 73 votes in the Electoral College. With Jefferson and Burr tied, the United States House of Representatives had to choose between the two men. (As a result of this election, the Twelfth Amendment
Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It replaced Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, which provided the original procedure by which the Electoral College functioned. Problems with the original procedure arose in...

 was proposed and ratified, adopting the method under which presidential elections are held today.) Several Federalists who opposed Jefferson supported Burr, and for the first 35 ballots, Jefferson was denied a majority. Before the 36th ballot, Hamilton threw his weight behind Jefferson, supporting the arrangement reached by James A. Bayard
James A. Bayard (elder)
James Asheton Bayard II was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, who served as U.S. Representative from Delaware and U.S. Senator from Delaware.-Early life and family:Bayard was born in Philadelphia,...

 of Delaware, in which five Federalist Representatives from Maryland and Vermont abstained from voting, allowing those states' delegations to go for Jefferson, ending the impasse and electing Jefferson President
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 rather than Burr. Even though Hamilton did not like Jefferson and disagreed with him on many issues, he was quoted as saying, "At least Jefferson was honest." Hamilton felt that Burr was dangerous. Burr then became Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

. When it became clear that he would not be asked to run again with Jefferson, Burr sought the New York governorship in 1804 with Federalist support, against the Jeffersonian Morgan Lewis
Morgan Lewis (governor)
Morgan Lewis was an American lawyer, politician and military commander.Of Welsh descent, he was the son of Francis Lewis, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He graduated from Princeton in 1773 and began to study law on the advice of his father...

, but was defeated by forces including Hamilton.

In 1801, Hamilton announced his intention to withdraw from the Federalist Party if Burr became its presidential candidate in 1804. In 1802, he began to organize "The Christian Constitutional Society", the first principle of which, even before supporting the Constitution, was "the support of the Christian religion".

Burr–Hamilton duel




Soon after the 1804 gubernatorial election in New York—in which Morgan Lewis
Morgan Lewis (governor)
Morgan Lewis was an American lawyer, politician and military commander.Of Welsh descent, he was the son of Francis Lewis, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He graduated from Princeton in 1773 and began to study law on the advice of his father...

, greatly assisted by Hamilton, defeated Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

—the Albany Register published Charles D. Cooper
Charles D. Cooper
Charles DeKay Cooper was an American physician, lawyer and Democratic-Republican politician.-Life:...

's letters, citing Hamilton's opposition to Burr and alleging that Hamilton had expressed "a still more despicable opinion" of the Vice President at an upstate New York dinner party. Burr, sensing an attack on his honor, and surely still stung by his political defeat, demanded an apology. Hamilton refused because he could not recall the instance.

Following an exchange of three testy letters, and despite attempts of friends to avert a confrontation, a duel was scheduled for July 11, 1804, along the west bank of the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 on a rocky ledge in Weehawken
Weehawken, New Jersey
Weehawken is a township in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 12,554.-Geography:Weehawken is part of the New York metropolitan area...

, New Jersey. This was the same dueling site at which Hamilton's eldest son, Philip, had been killed three years earlier.

At dawn, the duel began, and Vice President Aaron Burr shot Hamilton. Hamilton's shot broke a tree branch directly above Burr's head. A letter that he wrote the night before the duel states, "I have resolved, if our interview [duel] is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire", thus asserting an intention to miss Burr. The circumstances of the duel, and Hamilton's actual intentions, are still disputed. Neither of the seconds, Pendleton or Van Ness, could determine who fired first. Soon after, they measured and triangulated the shooting, but could not determine from which angle Hamilton fired. Burr's shot, however, hit Hamilton in the lower abdomen above the right hip. The bullet ricocheted off Hamilton's second or third false rib
False ribs
The false ribs, are the five sets of ribs below the top seven true ribs. A rib is considered to be "false" if it has no direct attachment to the sternum, also known as the breast bone...

, fracturing it and caused considerable damage to his internal organs, particularly his liver
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

 and diaphragm
Thoracic diaphragm
In the anatomy of mammals, the thoracic diaphragm, or simply the diaphragm , is a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that extends across the bottom of the rib cage. The diaphragm separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity and performs an important function in respiration...

 before becoming lodged in his first or second lumbar vertebra
Lumbar vertebrae
The lumbar vertebrae are the largest segments of the movable part of the vertebral column, and are characterized by the absence of the foramen transversarium within the transverse process, and by the absence of facets on the sides of the body...

. Chernow considers the circumstances to indicate that Burr fired second, after having taken deliberate aim.

If a duelist decided not to aim at his opponent there was a well-known procedure, available to everyone involved, for doing so. According to Freeman, Hamilton apparently did not follow this procedure; if he had, Burr might have followed suit, and Hamilton's death might have been avoided. It was a matter of honor among gentlemen to follow these rules. Because of the high incidence of septicemia and death resulting from torso wounds, a high percentage of duels employed this procedure of throwing away fire. Years later, when told that Hamilton may have misled him at the duel, the ever-laconic Burr replied, "Contemptible, if true."

The paralyzed Hamilton, who knew himself to be mortally wounded, was ferried back to New York. After final visits from his family and friends and considerable suffering, Hamilton died on the following afternoon, July 12, 1804. Gouverneur Morris
Gouverneur Morris
Gouverneur Morris , was an American statesman, a Founding Father of the United States, and a native of New York City who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation. Morris was also an author of large sections of the...

, a political ally of Hamilton's, gave the eulogy at his funeral and secretly established a fund to support his widow and children. Hamilton was buried in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery in Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

.

Legacy


From the start, Hamilton set a precedent as a cabinet member by formulating federal programs, writing them as reports, pushing for their approval by arguing for them in person on the floor of the United States Congress, and then implementing them. Hamilton and the other Cabinet members were vital to Washington, as there was no president before him (under the Constitution) to set precedents for him to follow in national situations such as seditions and foreign affairs.

Another of Hamilton's legacies was his pro-federal interpretation of the US Constitution. Though the Constitution was drafted in a way that was somewhat ambiguous as to the balance of power between national and state governments, Hamilton consistently took the side of greater federal power at the expense of the states. As Secretary of the Treasury, he established—against the intense opposition of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson—the country's first national bank. Hamilton justified the creation of this bank, and other increased federal powers, under Congress's constitutional powers to issue currency, to regulate interstate commerce, and to do anything else that would be "necessary and proper". Jefferson, on the other hand, took a stricter view of the Constitution: parsing the text carefully, he found no specific authorization for a national bank. This controversy was eventually settled by the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 in McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. Maryland, , was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. The state of Maryland had attempted to impede operation of a branch of the Second Bank of the United States by imposing a tax on all notes of banks not chartered in Maryland...

, which in essence adopted Hamilton's view, granting the federal government broad freedom to select the best means to execute its constitutionally enumerated powers, specifically the doctrine of implied powers
Implied powers
Implied powers, in the United States, are those powers authorized by a legal document which, while not stated, seem to be implied by powers expressly stated...

.

Hamilton's policies as Secretary of the Treasury greatly affected the United States government and still continue to influence it. In 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

, the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 was still using intership communication protocols written by Hamilton for the Revenue Cutter Service. His constitutional interpretation, specifically of the Necessary and Proper Clause, set precedents for federal authority that are still used by the courts and are considered an authority on constitutional interpretation. The prominent French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, who spent 1794 in the United States, wrote, "I consider Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, Fox
Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox PC , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned thirty-eight years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was particularly noted for being the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger...

, and Hamilton the three greatest men of our epoch, and if I were forced to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation the first place to Hamilton", adding that Hamilton had intuited the problems of European conservatives. Talleyrand, who helped demolish the First French Republic, would have preferred to have a coalition of European monarchies curtail the solitary republicanism of the United States, which would permit the peaceful recreation of the French colonial empire of Louis XIV; he believed himself and Hamilton in general agreement.

Opinions of Hamilton have run the gamut: both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson viewed him as unprincipled and dangerously aristocratic. Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

 and Hamilton became personal enemies. Herbert Croly
Herbert Croly
Herbert David Croly was an intellectual leader of the Progressive Movement as an editor, and political philosopher and a co-founder of the magazine The New Republic in early twentieth-century America...

, Henry Cabot Lodge
Henry Cabot Lodge
Henry Cabot "Slim" Lodge was an American Republican Senator and historian from Massachusetts. He had the role of Senate Majority leader. He is best known for his positions on Meek policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles...

, and Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 directed attention to him at the end of the 19th century in the interest of an active federal government, whether or not supported by tariffs. Several nineteenth- and twentieth-century Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 entered politics by writing laudatory biographies of Hamilton.

By the time of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Hamilton's portrait began to appear on US currency, including the $2, $5, $10, and $50 notes. His likeness also began to appear on US postage in 1870. His portrait has continued to appear on US postage and currency, and most notably appears on the modern $10 bill. Hamilton also appears on the $500 Series EE Savings Bond. The source of the face on the $10 bill is John Trumbull
John Trumbull
John Trumbull was an American artist during the period of the American Revolutionary War and was notable for his historical paintings...

's 1805 portrait of Hamilton, in the portrait collection of New York City Hall
New York City Hall
New York City Hall is located at the center of City Hall Park in the Civic Center area of Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA, between Broadway, Park Row, and Chambers Street. The building is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions, such as...

. On the south side of the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 is a statue of Hamilton.

On March 19, 1956, the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 issued the $5 Liberty Issue
Liberty Issue
The Liberty issue was a definitive series of postage stamps issued by the United States between 1954 and 1965. It offered twenty-four denominations, ranging from a half-cent issue showing Benjamin Franklin to a five dollar issue depicting Alexander Hamilton...

 postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

 honoring Hamilton.

Hamilton's upper Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 home is preserved as Hamilton Grange National Memorial
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
Hamilton Grange National Memorial is a National Park Service site in St. Nicholas Park, New York City that preserves the early 19th-century home of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.-History:...

. The historic structure, already removed from its original location many years ago, was moved again in 2008 to a spot in a park on land that was once part of the Hamilton estate. It was restored and reopened to the public in 2011.

Many towns throughout the United States have been named after Hamilton.

Family


Hamilton's widow, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
Elizabeth Hamilton was the wife of Alexander Hamilton. She was born in Albany, New York, the second daughter of Philip Schuyler, an American Revolutionary War general, and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler, one of the richest and most political families in the state of New York...

 (known as Eliza or Betsy), survived him for fifty years, until 1854; Hamilton referred to her as the "best of wives and best of women". An extremely religious woman, Eliza spent much of her life working to help widows and orphans. After Hamilton's death, Eliza sold the country house, the Grange
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
Hamilton Grange National Memorial is a National Park Service site in St. Nicholas Park, New York City that preserves the early 19th-century home of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.-History:...

, that she and Hamilton had built together from 1800 to 1802. She co-founded New York's first private orphanage, the New York Orphan Asylum Society. Despite the Reynolds affair, Alexander and Eliza were very close, and as a widow she always strove to guard his reputation and enhance his standing in American history.

Hamilton and Elizabeth had eight children, including two named Phillip. The elder Philip, Hamilton's first child (born January 22, 1782), was killed in 1801 in a duel with George I. Eacker, whom he had publicly insulted in a Manhattan theater. The second Philip, Hamilton's last child, was born on June 2, 1802, right after the first Philip was killed. Their other children were Angelica, born September 25, 1784; Alexander
Alexander Hamilton Jr.
Alexander Hamilton Jr was the third child and the second son to Alexander Hamilton. He graduated from Columbia University several weeks after his father was killed in a duel in 1804. He was invited to be an apprentice attorney in Stephen Higginson's Boston law firm and later became a lawyer...

, born May 16, 1796; James Alexander
James Alexander Hamilton
James Alexander Hamilton was the third son of Alexander Hamilton. He graduated from Columbia University, was an officer in the War of 1812, and served as acting Secretary of State to Andrew Jackson. He then became a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York....

 (April 14, 1788 – September 1878); John Church
John Church Hamilton
John Church Hamilton was the fourth son, fifth child of the founding father Alexander Hamilton.-Biography:...

, born August 22, 1792; William Stephen
William S. Hamilton
William Stephen Hamilton , a son of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, was a politician and miner who lived much of his life in the U.S. state of Illinois and territorial Wisconsin. Hamilton was born in New York, where he attended the United States Military Academy before he...

, born August 4, 1797; and Eliza, born November 26, 1799.

On slavery


Rob Weston has described modern scholarly views on Hamilton's attitude to slavery as viewing Hamilton as anything from a "steadfast abolitionist" to a "hypocrite"; Weston's view is that he was deeply ambivalent. Nevertheless, he attended meetings of the New York Manumission Society
New York Manumission Society
The New York Manumission Society was an early American organization founded in 1785 to promote the abolition of the slavery of African descendants within the state of New York. The organization was made up entirely of white men, most of whom were wealthy and held influential positions in society...

.

Hamilton's first polemic against King George's ministers contains a paragraph that speaks of the evils that "slavery" to the British would bring upon the Americans. McDonald sees this as an attack on actual slavery; such rhetoric was quite common in 1776, and varied from the stand that slavery was wrong for free-born Americans of British descent to a recognition of the evils of black slavery.

During the Revolutionary War, there was a series of proposals to arm slaves, free them, and compensate their masters. In 1779, Hamilton's friend John Laurens
John Laurens
John Laurens was an American soldier and statesman from South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. He gained approval by the Continental Congress in 1779 to recruit a regiment of 3000 slaves by promising them freedom in return for fighting...

 suggested that such a unit be formed, under his command, to relieve besieged Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

, South Carolina; Hamilton proposed to the Continental Congress to create up to four battalions of slaves for combat duty, and free them. Congress recommended that South Carolina (and Georgia) acquire up to three thousand slaves, if they saw fit; they did not, even though the South Carolina governor and Congressional delegation had supported the plan in Philadelphia.

Hamilton argued that blacks' natural faculties were as good as those of free whites, and he answered objections by citing Frederick the Great and others as praising stupidity in soldiers; he argued that if the Americans did not do this, the British would (as they had elsewhere). One of his biographers has cited this incident as evidence that Hamilton and Laurens saw the Revolution and the struggle against slavery as inseparable.
Hamilton later attacked his political opponents as demanding freedom for themselves and refusing to allow it to blacks.

In January 1785, he attended the second meeting of the New York Manumission Society
New York Manumission Society
The New York Manumission Society was an early American organization founded in 1785 to promote the abolition of the slavery of African descendants within the state of New York. The organization was made up entirely of white men, most of whom were wealthy and held influential positions in society...

 (NYMS). John Jay
John Jay
John Jay was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, and the first Chief Justice of the United States ....

 was president and Hamilton was secretary; he later became president. He was a member of the committee of the society that put a bill through the New York Legislature banning the export of slaves from New York; however, three months later, Hamilton returned a fugitive slave to Henry Laurens
Henry Laurens
Henry Laurens was an American merchant and rice planter from South Carolina who became a political leader during the Revolutionary War. A delegate to the Second Continental Congress, Laurens succeeded John Hancock as President of the Congress...

 of South Carolina.

Hamilton never supported forced emigration for freed slaves; it has been argued from this that he would be comfortable with a multiracial society, and that this distinguished him from his contemporaries. In international affairs, he supported Toussaint L'Ouverture
Toussaint L'Ouverture
François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture , also Toussaint Bréda, Toussaint-Louverture was the leader of the Haitian Revolution. His military genius and political acumen led to the establishment of the independent black state of Haiti, transforming an entire society of slaves into a free,...

's black government in Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 after the revolt that overthrew French control, as he had supported aid to the slaveowners in 1791—both measures hurt France.

Hamilton may have owned household slaves himself (the evidence for this is indirect; McDonald interprets it as referring to paid employees). He supported a gag rule
Gag rule
A gag rule is a rule that limits or forbids the raising, consideration or discussion of a particular topic by members of a legislative or decision-making body.-Origin and pros and cons:...

 to keep divisive discussions of slavery out of Congress, and he supported the compromise by which the United States could not abolish the slave trade for 20 years. When the Quakers of New York petitioned the First Congress
1st United States Congress
-House of Representatives:During this congress, five House seats were added for North Carolina and one House seat was added for Rhode Island when they ratified the Constitution.-Senate:* President: John Adams * President pro tempore: John Langdon...

 (under the Constitution) for the abolition of the slave trade, and Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society petitioned for the abolition of slavery, the NYMS did not act.

On economics


Alexander Hamilton is sometimes considered the "patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

" of the American School
American School (economics)
The American School, also known as "National System", represents three different yet related constructs in politics, policy and philosophy. It was the American policy for the 1860s to the 1940s, waxing and waning in actual degrees and details of implementation...

 of economic philosophy that, according to one historian, dominated economic policy after 1861. He firmly supported government intervention in favor of business, after the manner of Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1665 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. His relentless hard work and thrift made him an esteemed minister. He achieved a reputation for his work of improving the state of French manufacturing...

, as early as the fall of 1781.

Hamilton opposed the British ideas of free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

, which he believed skewed benefits to colonial and imperial powers, in favor of US protectionism
Protectionism
Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between states through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other government regulations designed to allow "fair competition" between imports and goods and services produced domestically.This...

, which he believed would help develop the fledgling nation's emerging economy.
Henry C. Carey was inspired by his writings. Some say he influenced the ideas and work of the German Friedrich List
Friedrich List
Georg Friedrich List was a leading 19th century German economist who developed the "National System" or what some would call today the National System of Innovation...

.

From the 1860s onwards members of Japan's Meiji leadership, after touring America's post-Civil War political and industrial landscape, embraced Hamilton's words and work as being applicable to their own need to modernize. Within the Grant Administration they found Hamiltonian advocates who opened up American financial and manufacturing operations for Japanese inspection. The Meiji leadership sent their sons to study American finance and industry in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and other centers of commerce. These Japanese leaders found Hamilton's words and work also being used by Bismarck's administration in Germany, having been brought to Germany by Friedrich List in the 1840s after List had spent time in exile in Philadelphia. Later Hamilton's reports to Congress could be found in libraries not only in Japan but in Taiwan and Korea, after they came under the colonial rule of Meiji Japan. Post-1945 leaders in both countries (i.e., South Korea) used Hamilton's Report on Credit to establish their own modern financial systems [Austin. 2009].

Hamilton's religion


During much of his life, Hamilton remained quite religious. Biographer Ron Chernow argues that this was the source of his aggressive abolitionism. Hamilton, as a youth in the West Indies, was an orthodox and conventional Presbyterian of the "New School" evangelical type (as opposed to the "Old School" Calvinists); he was being taught by a student of John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Jersey. As president of the College of New Jersey , he trained many leaders of the early nation and was the only active clergyman and the only college president to sign the Declaration...

, a moderate of the New School. He wrote two or three hymns, which were published in the local newspaper. Robert Troup, his college roommate, noted that Hamilton was "in the habit of praying on his knees night and morning."

From 1777 to 1792, Hamilton appears to have been completely indifferent, and made jokes about God at the Constitutional Convention. During the French Revolution, he had an "opportunistic religiosity", using Christianity for political ends and insisting that Christianity and Jefferson's democracy were incompatible. After his misfortunes of 1801, Hamilton further asserted the truth of Christianity; he also proposed a Christian Constitutional Society in 1802, to take hold of "some strong feeling of the mind" to elect "fit men" to office, and he wrote of "Christian welfare societies" for the poor. He was not a member of any denomination. After being shot, Hamilton spoke of his belief in God's mercy, and of his desire to renounce dueling; Bishop Moore administered communion to Hamilton.

Hamilton on US postage


The first postage stamp to honor Hamilton was issued by the US Post Office in 1870. The portrayals on the 1870 and 1888 issues are from the same engraved die, which was modeled after a bust of Hamilton by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi
Giuseppe Ceracchi
Giuseppe Ceracchi was an Italian sculptor, active in a Neoclassic style in Italy, England and the nascent United States, who was a passionate republican during the American and French revolutions...

 The Hamilton 1870 issue was the first US Postage stamp to honor a Secretary of the Treasury. The 3-cent red commemorative issue, which was released on the 200th anniversary of Hamilton's birth in 1957, includes a rendition of the Federal Hall building, located in New York City.







Memorial at colleges


Alexander Hamilton served as one of the first trustees of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy in New York state. When the Academy received a college charter in 1812, the school was formally renamed Hamilton College. There is a prominent statue of Alexander Hamilton in front of the school's chapel (commonly referred to as the "Al-Ham" statue) and the Burke Library has an extensive collection of Hamilton's personal documents.

Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, Hamilton's alma mater, has official memorials to Hamilton on its campus in New York City. The college's main classroom building for the humanities is Hamilton Hall
Hamilton Hall (Columbia University)
Hamilton Hall is an academic building on the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University in the City of New York. The building is named for Alexander Hamilton, one of the most famous attendees of King's College, Columbia's predecessor...

, and a large statue of Hamilton stands in front of it. The university press
Columbia University Press
Columbia University Press is a university press based in New York City, and affiliated with Columbia University. It is currently directed by James D. Jordan and publishes titles in the humanities and sciences, including the fields of literary and cultural studies, history, social work, sociology,...

 has published his complete works in a multivolume letterpress edition. Columbia University's student group for ROTC cadets and Marine officer candidates is named the Alexander Hamilton Society.

The main administration building of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, is named Hamilton Hall to commemorate Hamilton's creation of the United States Revenue Cutter Service
United States Revenue Cutter Service
The United States Revenue Cutter Service was established by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in 1790 as an armed maritime law enforcement service. Throughout its entire existence the Revenue Cutter Service operated under the authority of the United States Department of the Treasury...

, one of the predecessor services of the United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

.

Secondary sources

  • Adams, Henry. History of the United States of America under the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson. Library of America
    Library of America
    The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature.- Overview and history :Founded in 1979 with seed money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, the LoA has published over 200 volumes by a wide range of authors from Mark Twain to Philip...

    , 1986, ISBN 978-0-521-32483-0.
  • Elkins, Stanley, and Eric McKitrick. Age of Federalism. New York: Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 1993. online edition

Biographies

  • Ambrose, Douglas, and Robert W. T. Martin, eds. The Many Faces of Alexander Hamilton: The Life & Legacy of America's Most Elusive Founding Father . 2006.
  • Brookhiser, Richard. Alexander Hamilton, American. Free Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-83919-6.
  • Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN 978-1-59420-009-0. (Full-length, detailed biography)
  • Ellis, Joseph J. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
    Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
    Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation is a Pulitzer Prize–winning book written by Joseph Ellis, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College...

    . 2002. (Won Pulitzer Prize
    Pulitzer Prize
    The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

    ).
  • Ellis, Joseph J. His Excellency: George Washington. 2004.
  • Fleming, Thomas
    Thomas Fleming (historian)
    Thomas James Fleming is an American military historian and historical novelist.-Biography:Thomas Fleming was born in 1927 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is a historian and novelist with a special interest in the American Revolution....

    . Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Future of America. 2000, ISBN 978-0-465-01737-9.
  • Flexner, James Thomas. The Young Hamilton: A Biography. Fordham University Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8232-1790-8.
  • McDonald, Forrest. Alexander Hamilton: A Biography. 1982, ISBN 978-0-393-30048-2. (Biography focused on intellectual history, especially on AH's republicanism)
  • Miller, John C. Alexander Hamilton: Portrait in Paradox. 1959. (Full-length, detailed biography) online edition
  • Mitchell, Broadus. Alexander Hamilton. 2 vols. 1957–62. (Full-length, detailed biography; also published in abridged edition)
  • Randall, Willard Sterne. Alexander Hamilton: A Life. HarperCollins, 2003, ISBN 978-0-06-019549-6. (Popular)
  • Winslow, Don. Alexander Hamilton: In Worlds Unknown. (Script and Film New-York Historical Society
    New-York Historical Society
    The New-York Historical Society is an American history museum and library located in New York City at the corner of 77th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. Founded in 1804 as New York's first museum, the New-York Historical Society presents exhibitions, public programs and research that...

    )

Specialized studies

A one-volume recasting of Brant's six-volume life. Full-length, detailed biography.. Four volumes, with various subtitles, cited as "Flexner, Washington". Vol. IV. ISBN 9780316286022. A review of the evidence on Newburgh; despite the title, Kohn is doubtful that a coup d'état was ever seriously attempted. First volume of two, but this contains Hamilton's lifetime. Survey of politics in 1790s. An undergraduate paper, which concludes that Hamilton was ambivalent about slavery. Coverage of how the Treasury and other departments were created and operated. The most recent synthesis of the era.

Primary sources

  • Cooke, Jacob E., ed. Alexander Hamilton: A Profile. 1967. (Short excerpts from AH and his critics)
  • Cunningham, Noble E. Jefferson vs. Hamilton: Confrontations that Shaped a Nation. 2000. (Short collection of primary sources, with commentary)
  • Federalist Papers
    Federalist Papers
    The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788...

    . Under the shared pseudonym "Publius". By Alexander Hamilton (c. 52 articles), James Madison
    James Madison
    James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

     (28 articles), and John Jay
    John Jay
    John Jay was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, and the first Chief Justice of the United States ....

     (five articles).
  • Freeman, Joanne B., ed. Alexander Hamilton: Writings. 2001, ISBN 978-1-931082-04-4. The Library of America edition, 1108 pages. (All of Hamilton's major writings and many of his letters)
  • Frisch, Morton J., ed. Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton. 1985.
  • Goebel, Julius, Jr., and Joseph H. Smith, eds. The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton. 5 vols. Columbia University Press, 1964–80. (The legal counterpart to The Papers of Alexander Hamilton)
  • Lodge, Henry Cabot, ed. The Works of Alexander Hamilton. 10 vols. 1904. full text online at Google Books online in HTML edition. (The only online collection of Hamilton's writings and letters, containing about 1.3 million words)
  • Morris, Richard, ed. Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation. 1957. (Excerpts from AH's writings)
  • Report on Manufactures
    Report on Manufactures
    The Report on Manufactures is the third report, and magnum opus, of American Founding Father and 1st U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton...

    . (AH's economic program for the United States)
  • Report on Public Credit. (AH's financial program for the United States)
  • Syrett, Harold C., Jacob E. Cooke, and Barbara Chernow, eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. Columbia University Press, 1961–87. (Includes all letters and writings by Hamilton, and all important letters written to him; this is the definitive edition of Hamilton's works, intensively annotated)
  • Taylor, George Rogers, ed. Hamilton and the National Debt. 1950. (Excerpts from all sides in 1790s)

External links