Alexander Hamilton was American politician and political theorist. He was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, a Founding Father, economist, and political philosopher.
He was the hero of the American Revolution, the first finance minister of the newly established country, architect of its monetary system and implacable opponent of slavery. He also took participation in the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain.
The chief of staff and secretary to General George Washington during the American Revolution, he was a leader of nationalist forces calling for a new Constitution; he was one of America's first lawyers, and wrote with John Jay and James Madison the half of the famous Federalist Papers, a primary source for Constitutional interpretation.
While not as famous as Founding Fathers like Ben Franklin or George Washington, Alexander Hamilton played a key role in the early formation of the American government under President Washington.
He was instrumental in developing the nation's first political party, the Federalists. In 1880 The Federalist Party USA formed to support his policies.
Hamilton was the first proponent of what is now called the ‘largest remainder’ system of proportional representation; he proposed it as a means to assign a whole number of seats to each state.
In the troubled times leading to the American Revolution, he wrote articles and pamphlets espousing the colonial cause.
An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist who emphasized strong central government and sucessfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution could be used to fund the national debt, assume state debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States.
Hamilton believed in a strong central government and a strong national bank, convictions which put him famously at odds with Thomas Jefferson.
When his mother died in 1768, he began working at the ages of 13 as a clerk in a trading firm in St. Croix.
In 1772 he arrived in the Thirteen Colonies.
He publicly defended the Boston Tea Party, in which Boston colonists destroyed several tea cargoes in defiance of the tea tax.
In March 1776, Hamilton was commissioned a captain in the provincial artillery. He showed conspicuous bravery at the Battle of Trenton and was noticed by George Washington.
In February 1777 Washington invited him to become an aide-de-camp with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
In his four years on Washington’s staff he grew close to the general and was entrusted with his correspondence.
Hamilton was a New York delegate to the Constitutional Convention (1787), and first secretary of the Treasury of the United States (1789–95).
He served in the New York Legislature, and he was the only New Yorker who signed the U.S. Constitution.
Eager to connect himself with wealth and influence, Hamilton married Elizabeth, the daughter of General Philip Schuyler, the head of one of New York’s most distinguished families. He and Elizabeth had eight children.
Hamilton's political feud with Jefferson's vice president, Aaron Burr, led to a duel with pistols on July 11, 1804. Hamilton was mortally wounded and died the next day.
Buried, Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan, NY.