Even in death, Alexander Hamilton has continued to rack up accomplishments as his name is the title of one of the most commercially successful musicals in modern theatre. While he was alive, he was one of the most important men in US history. His accomplishments and accounts are still spoken of the several places till date. However, he fell to his death in a duel with Aaron Burr.
He was a political scientist, an economist, a lawyer, and a journalist, whose intelligence, creativity and vision helped the creation of a nation that would go on to lead the rest of the world. There are so many things to unpack about the life of a man as accomplished and influential like Alexander Hamilton, but here are a few things to learn about the man whose story is selling out musical theatres across the globe.
Alexander Hamilton – Biography
Born in the 1700s (January 11, 1975, or 1977) to James Hamilton and Rachel Fawcett Lavien, a Scottish Trader and an outlaw mother, Alexander Hamilton was born out of wedlock after his mother fled her marriage to St. Kitts. Alexander himself was born in Charlestown, British Leeward Islands.
Even by the standards of living in the 1700s, life was difficult for Hamilton, whose mother was forced to raise him and his older brother, James Sr alone after his estranged father walked away from the family. He later lost his last parent and became an orphan when his mother died of yellow fever.
At the age of 11, Hamilton was forced to take care of himself, taking up a job. He worked his way up to become an accounting clerk where his employer was impressed by his diligence and intelligence. Through his time as an accounting clerk, Hamilton, who would later establish the US Treasury, was exposed to international trade and other economic principles.
When he moved to America at the age of 16 in 1773, arriving in New York to study at King’s College which is now known as Columbia University. Upon his arrival in New York and becoming a student, Hamilton became attracted to politics and eventually dropped out of school to join the Patriots who fought against British imperialism. In two short years after arriving in America, Hamilton became a part of the militia that fought what would become American independence. He joined the New York Provincial Artillery Company. His exploits in the army earned him a promotion as Lieutenant colonel and were made assistant to General George Washington.
While he worked as an assistant to Washington, he fought the battle of Yorktown. The victory at Yorktown would later trigger the end of the American Revolutionary War that birthed the Treaty of Paris and Peace of Paris. After his military career came to an end in 1800, he left his position as an adviser to Washington and studied law. Hamilton passed and founded a law practice in New York City.
During his time as a private lawyer, Hamilton achieved several landmark achievements including the creation of the judicial review system and the founding of the Bank of New York. In perhaps setting a standard for what would be the most common profession among politicians in America, Hamilton became a prominent political figure through his law practice, becoming one of the important advisors of US Presidents.
This level of influence led to him becoming one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention and a major contributor to the Federalist papers. His work as the delegate helped establish the US Constitution and a stronger Federal Government. He was appointed the first secretary of the treasury in 1789 and his policy decisions helped create a US economy that would go on to dominate the world for decades.
Wife and Children
Alexander met Elizabeth Schuyler in 1779 and got married to her in 1780. Elizabeth was the daughter of an affluent family in New York. The couple gave birth to eight children – Angelica, Philip, Alexander Jr., John Church, James Alexander, William Stephen, Eliza, and Philip (Little Philip).
Alexander Hamilton’s Affair
Like many of his works throughout his life, Hamilton had one of the first sex scandals in US political history. He was found to be having an affair with Maria Reynolds, who was a married woman at the time. Despite the scandal, which was the only affair that was confirmed to be have been perpetrated by Hamilton, his wife stood strongly behind him and helped him preserve his legacy although there were rumors of others.
Death: How Did He Die?
Alexander Hamilton impressive life was cut short after getting shot in a duel in Aaron Burr. The duel came after Burr accused Hamilton of ruining his chance for the Presidency after the latter published an article that labeled the former unfit for the Presidency. He subsequently challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton died of a gunshot wound that hit him in the duel. The duel started on the morning of 11th July 1804 and Hamilton died the next day – on the 12th of July, 1804.
Alexander was a courageous man who fought battles and won them. With a height of 1.7 meters, he rode into battle and conquered the British army while living to build a legacy that would last for hundreds of years.