Alexander Hamilton, born in the British West Indies, was an outsider from the very beginning. His illegitimate birth drove him to prove his worthiness to others throughout his life. His quest for honor was one of the defining characteristics that colored his decisions. Hamilton was a small man with a large ambition, and this would drive him to greatness and create some powerful enemies in his wake.
Alexander Hamilton’s life was not without its share of tragedy. Before his fifteenth birthday, his father had abandoned the family and his mother had died of yellow fever. Luckily for young Alexander, a group of benefactors realized his potential and paid to have him sent to the British colony, America, for an education.
After serving as General Washington’s aide-de-camp during the Revolutionary War, Hamilton returned to his law practice and soon entered politics. In 1787, he would help draft the Constitution of the United States and then write a series of critical essays, called the Federalist Papers, which were key to ratification of the Constitution. Hamilton’s position on the role of government was for a strong Federal government.
President Washington nominated Hamilton to become the first Secretary of the Treasury. During his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury, he set the nation on a sound fiscal footing, established the first national bank, and a mint to produce coinage. Hamilton was a master of setting up institutions within the government and making bitter enemies of powerful men, such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr.
One of Hamilton’s political rivalries would turn very personal as Aaron Burr, the sitting Vice President of the United States, was seeking retaliation for Hamilton’s disparaging remarks. Hamilton’s honor would not let him decline Burr’s challenge to a duel. The outcome of the duel was fatal for Alexander Hamilton — dead at age forty-nine, leaving behind a wife, seven living children, and a legacy that would survive the centuries .
Spend some time with this distinguished American and buy the book, Alexander Hamilton – A Short Biography.
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About the Author
Doug West is a retired engineer, small business owner, and an experienced non-fiction writer with several books to his credit. His writing interests are general, with expertise in science, history, biographies, numismatics, and “How to” topics. Doug has a B.S. in Physics from the Missouri School of Science and Technology and a Ph.D. in General Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He has also completed additional graduate studies in Astrophysics at Wichita State University. He lives with his wife and little dog “Scrappy” near Kansas City, Missouri.