Alexander Hamilton was a smart hard-working man, you may know him as being one of the Founding Father of the United States, but do you know where he came from and what he did to get there? Let me tell you.
Alexander Hamilton was born around January 11, 1755 (the exact date is unknown), on an island of Nevis located in the British West Indies. Hamilton didn’t come from the best background. John Adams also one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, described Hamilton as being “the bastard brat of a Scottish peddler.” (Biography.com Editors)
Hamilton’s parents’ names were Rachel Fawcett Lavien (her maiden name was Buck), and James Hamilton. Rachel Lavien, who was of British and French Huguenot descent, and James Hamilton, who was a Scottish trader. Before Alexander was born, Rachel was married to a much older merchant whom she was pressured to marry by her parents; he went by the name John Lavien. They had a son together named Peter. Lavien was abusive to Rachel, and when her father died Lavien used nearly all the money her father passed on to her. (Biography.com Editors)
If you have ever listened to the play, “Alexander Hamilton”, they call Rachel Fawcett a whore, according to Michael E. Newton the reason was that the toxic relationship she cheated on Lavien many times. He had her thrown in prison for adultery (by Danish Law, you can throw your significant other in prison for cheating). John Lavien divorced her on February 26, 1759, calling her a whore. When she was released, instead of returning to her husband and son she fled and moved to St. Kitts. While she lived there, she met James Hamilton, they had a son together named James Hamilton (Alexander’s older brother), who was born in 1753. (Biography.com Editors)
When Alexander Hamilton was around the age 10, his father abandoned the family leaving them poverty-stricken. Determined to support his family, Hamilton got a job at the age of 11. Around 1768 Rachel at the age of 38, she died from a fever, leaving Alexander and his older brother orphans. (Independence Hall Association)
Hamilton learned about the business of money and dealing, through being exposed to mixed trading (this also included the trading of slaves). Hamilton’s boss was a businessman that went by the name Nicolas Cruger. He was very impressed by Alexander’s acumen when it came to accounting, he and other businessmen worked hard to get their resources with a minister and newspaper editor named Hugh Knox. They all wanted to send Alexander to a college in America so he could get a proper education. (Biography Editors)
Thanks to the businessmen and Hugh Knox, Alexander was able to go to college in America. He passed the entrance exams for Princeton but decided not to attend there because he felt like it wasn’t for him. Instead, he attended King’s College (now known as Columbia University) located in New York City. Though Alexander went to college for academics, he was more interested in political involvement. He wrote his first political article defending the Patriots’ cause against the interests of pro-British Loyalists, in 1774. (Richard Cavendish)
Alexander was a smart and quick learner and decided to drop out of King’s College before graduating because he wanted to learn more about politics through hands-on experience. When he left, he joined forces with the Patriots in their protest of British-imposed taxes and commercial business regulations. In 1775 after he dropped out of college, he founded a military company. (Biography.com Editors)
Hamilton caught the eye of General Washington during Alexander’s early service in the fight for American independence. Alexander had great leadership skills and had an amazing talent for writing. Washington recognized this and Hamilton was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and made his aide-de-camp on March 1, in 1777. General George Washington then made Hamilton his trusted assistant and adviser. Alexander had accomplished so much just at the age of 20. (Independence Hall Association)
For five years Washington put Alexander’s writing skills to work. Alexander wrote many of Washington’s critical letters and restructured the U.S. Army. Around the same time on December 14, 1780, Alexander Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, daughter of Philip Schuyler, who was a Revolutionary War general, and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler. The Schuyler family was very wealthy and a prominent New York Family. It was a happy marriage and they had eight children together. (Independence Hall Association)
Hamilton wanted to study law, so he left his job as advisor to Washington to pursue this. He established a practice in New York City after he completed a short apprenticeship and passed the bar. Most of Alexander’s clients were very unpopular British Loyalists, who continued to pledge their allegiance to the King of England. (Alexander DeConde)
When George Washington was elected president of the United States in 1789, he made Alexander the very first secretary of the treasury. The nation was facing great foreign and domestic debt at this time, due to expenses incurred during the American Revolution. After serving as secretary of the treasury from 1789 to 1795, Alexander returned to his law career in Manhattan, making himself one of the city’s most prestigious attorneys. (Alexander DeConde)
Hamilton didn’t have a strong hand in making the Constitution, but he did heavily influence its ratification or approval. Hamilton worked with James Madison and John Jay, to write The Federalist (later known as The Federalist Papers). Hamilton wrote 51 essays out of the 85 essays that make up The Federalist, James Madison wrote 29, and John Jay wrote 6. (Biography.com Editors)
Hamilton continued his work until he died on July 12, 1804, around the age of 47. He died from a gunshot wound that he received from a duel with Arron Burr.(Independence Hall Association)
Hamilton was a hard-working man and did many things during his lifetime, and he influenced the U.S. in many ways.
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