Alexander Hamilton

Portrait by [[John Trumbull]], 1806 Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was a Caribbean-born American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation's financial system, the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, and the ''New York Post'' newspaper. As the first secretary of the treasury, Hamilton was the main author of the economic policies of President George Washington's administration. He took the lead in the federal government's funding of the states' debts, as well as establishing the nation's first two ''de facto'' central banks (i.e. the Bank of North America and the First Bank of the United States), a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. His vision included a strong central government led by a vigorous executive branch, a strong commercial economy, support for manufacturing, and a strong military.

Hamilton was born out of wedlock in Charlestown, Nevis. He was orphaned as a child and taken in by a prosperous merchant. When he reached his teens, he was sent to New York to pursue his education. He took an early role in the militia as the American Revolutionary War began. As an artillery officer in the new Continental Army he saw action in the New York and New Jersey campaign. In 1777, he became a senior aide to Commander in Chief General George Washington, but returned to field command in time for a pivotal action securing victory at the Siege of Yorktown.

After the war, he was elected as a representative from New York to the Congress of the Confederation. He resigned to practice law and founded the Bank of New York before entering politics. Hamilton was a leader in seeking to replace the weak confederal government under the Articles of Confederation; he led the Annapolis Convention of 1786, which spurred Congress to call a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. He helped ratify the Constitution by writing 51 of the 85 installments of ''The Federalist Papers'', which are still used as one of the most important references for Constitutional interpretation.

Hamilton led the Treasury Department as a trusted member of President Washington's first Cabinet. Hamilton successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution provided the legal authority to fund the national debt, to assume states' debts, and to create the government-backed Bank of the United States (the First Bank of the United States). These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports, and later by a controversial whiskey tax. He opposed administration entanglement with the series of unstable French revolutionary governments. Hamilton's views became the basis for the Federalist Party, which was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

In 1795, he returned to the practice of law in New York. He called for mobilization under President John Adams in 1798–99 against French First Republic military aggression, and became Commanding General of the U.S. Army, which he reconstituted, modernized, and readied for war. The army did not see combat in the Quasi-War, and Hamilton was outraged by Adams' diplomatic approach to the crisis with France. His opposition to Adams' re-election helped cause the Federalist Party defeat in 1800. Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the presidency in the electoral college, and Hamilton helped to defeat Burr, whom he found unprincipled, and to elect Jefferson despite philosophical differences.

Hamilton continued his legal and business activities in New York City, and was active in ending the legality of the international slave trade. Vice President Burr ran for governor of New York State in 1804, and Hamilton campaigned against him as unworthy. Taking offense, Burr challenged him to a duel on July 11, 1804, in which Burr shot and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died the following day.

Hamilton is generally regarded as an astute and intellectually brilliant administrator, politician and financier, if often impetuous. His ideas are credited with laying the foundation for American government and finance.

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2
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1784
printed for C. Elliot, Edinburgh; and G. Robinson, London

3
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1797
printed for Peter Hill, Edinburgh; and T. Cadell junior and W. Davies, (successors to Mr Cadell), London

4
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1796
printed for T. Kay, No. 332. Strand; sold by W. Creech, Edinburgh

5
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1787
printed [by Macfarquhar and Elliot] for Charles Elliot, Edinburgh; and G. G. J. & J. Robinson, London

8
by Hamilton, Alexander
Project Gutenberg

9
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1785
printed for Charles Elliot, Edinburgh; G. G. J. and J. Robinson, London; and W. Gilbert, Dublin

11
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1727
printed by John Mosman One of His Majesty's Printers, and sold at the King's printing-house in Craig's Closs

12
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1790
Printed by Thomas Dobson, bookseller and stationer, at the stone house in Second Street

13
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1794
by Isaiah Thomas. Sold at his bookstore in Worcester. Sold also by said Thomas, and Andrews, no. 45, Newbury Street, Boston; and by said Thomas, and Carlilse [sic], Walpole, in Newhampshire

14
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1797
by Wm. Butler, for Thomas & Andrews. Sold by them at their bookstore in Boston; by Thomas, Andrews & Penniman, Albany; and by Thomas, Andrews & Butler, Baltimore

15
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1864
J.B. Lippincott

16
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1866
J.B. Lippincott

17
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1871
J.B. Lippincott

18
by Hamilton, Alexander
Published 1882
J.B. Lippincott