Alexander Hamilton: Facts, Birth, Children & Death – HISTORY
- where was alexander hamilton born?
- rise from the darkness
- the sons of alexander hamilton
- the role of alexander hamilton in the revolutionary war
- work in the usa constitution
- federalist newspapers
- secretary of finance
- the reynolds brochure
- rivalry with aaron burr
- how did alexander hamilton die?
- ‘hamilton’ the musical
Alexander Hamilton, born into obscurity in the West Indies, rose to fame during the Revolutionary War and became one of America’s most influential founding fathers. He was a passionate advocate for a strong federal government and played a key role in the ratification of the United States. Constitution. as the first secretary of the usa Treasury, Hamilton built a financial foundation for the new nation against fierce opposition from his archrival Thomas Jefferson. the differences between the two men would help form the nation’s first political parties. Hamilton’s polarizing style of politics (and an embarrassing sex scandal) limited his later career prospects, and in 1804 he was assassinated by Aaron Burr, another longtime political foe, in a duel.
see: hamilton: building america in the vault of history
where was alexander hamilton born?
Hamilton was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis in 1755 or 1757. His father, Scottish merchant James Hamilton, and mother, Rachel Faucette Lavien, were not married. Rachel was still married to another man at the time of Hamilton’s birth, but she had left her husband after he spent much of her family’s fortune and jailed her for adultery.
Hamilton’s father abandoned the family in 1766 and his mother died two years later. hired as an employee in a trading company in st. Croix when he was just 11 years old, Hamilton gained further attention after publishing an eloquent letter describing a hurricane that struck the island in 1772. Locals helped raise money to send him to the United States to study, and he arrived in New York in late 1772, just as the colonies were preparing for a war for independence from Great Britain.
rise from the darkness
While a student at King’s College, New York (now Columbia University), Hamilton became involved in the colonial cause, writing pamphlets as “a complete vindication of the acts of Congress” in which he defended the proposed embargo of the first continental congress trade with great britain.
when the revolutionary war began, he was commissioned to lead an artillery company in the continental army and fought valiantly at the battles of trenton and princeton, among others. In 1777, he caught the eye of the Army Commander-in-Chief, General George Washington, who gave him a post on his staff.
Hamilton’s writing prowess and military skills helped him thrive as a Washington aide-de-camp and built his reputation in revolution-era society.
the children of alexander hamilton
In 1780, he married Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of a wealthy and influential New York landowner and military officer. they would have eight children together, many of whom went on to celebrated careers in law, politics, and the military.
Elizabeth remained a key source of loyalty and stability for him through the many tumultuous years that followed.
did you know? Philip, the beloved eldest son of Alexander Hamilton, was killed in a duel in 1801 while trying to defend his father’s honor from the attacks of New York lawyer George Eacker. Philip’s death devastated the Hamiltons, and many historians believe it prompted Hamilton’s own reluctance to shoot Aaron Burr directly during his legendary duel just three years later.
the role of alexander hamilton in the revolutionary war
Hamilton left the Washington staff in 1781, but returned to the army briefly later that year when Washington gave him a field command at the Battle of Yorktown. In that decisive clash, Hamilton performed brilliantly, leading a successful assault that contributed to the surrender of British General Lord Charles Cornwallis.
Appointed by Washington in 1781 to command a battalion of light infantry in the Marquis de Lafayette’s division, Hamilton helped lead the attack at the Battle of Yorktown in Yorktown, Virginia, which would become the last major land battle of the war. The siege lasted from September 28 to October 19, 1781, with the French attacking the British Fort at Redoubt 9 and Hamilton attacking Redoubt 10 simultaneously. The advance on two fronts led General Cornwallis to surrender.
“In Hamilton’s day, displaying courage on the battlefield was one of the few ways an unknown person could gain fame,” says historian Michael E. Newton, author of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. “Hamilton had a genius and was hardworking but he did not come from an illustrious family like most of the founding fathers. he knew that winning glory in battle would make him famous and help advance his career.”
Brendan McConville, a professor of history at Boston University, adds that Hamilton had always been sensitive to his humble roots, so it was important to him to prove himself during the war. “He had been in Washington as a key aide for most of the war, but he wanted battlefield glory,” he says. Hamilton “saw victory on the battlefield as a way to gain reputation.”
Initially, according to Newton, command of the assault on Redoubt 10 was given to someone else. Hamilton objected, claiming that it was his turn and that he had seniority. “When Washington reversed the earlier decision and handed command to Hamilton, Hamilton ran up to his friend and second-in-command, Nicholas Fish, and exclaimed, ‘We’ve got him! we got it!’”
The patriot strategy in the attack was to approach the redoubts “quietly with unloaded weapons, encircle the enemy and force them to surrender quickly with few casualties,” according to Newton.
“It was a surprise nocturnal assault on a moonless night: they didn’t want to give themselves away by the flashing and sound of guns,” adds McConville. “bayonets were to be used to avoid revealing specific locations and silence was ordered.”
the plan worked: hamilton’s troops took control of the redoubt in 10 minutes and with few american deaths. And the victory earned Hamilton the reputation he sought.
“Hamilton’s report on the assault on Redoubt 10 was published in newspapers across the country, but Hamilton made no mention of his own accomplishments that day despite praising those who served under him,” Newton says. “Lafayette’s report on the assault was also published in these newspapers and heaped praise on Hamilton for his actions in Yorktown. As a result, the entire country learned of Hamilton’s bravery and leadership.”
read more: how alexander hamilton’s men surprised the enemy at the battle of yorktown
work in the usa constitution
After the war, Hamilton studied law, passed the New York bar, and established a practice as a lawyer in New York City. In 1787, when the Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation, Hamilton was chosen as one of three delegates from New York.
he made a famous six-hour speech about his own plan for a heavily centralized government, drawing criticism that he wanted to create a monarchy.
Although Hamilton ended up having little influence on the constitution itself, he played an important role in its ratification. Along with James Madison and John Jay, Hamilton published a series of 85 essays defending the new document to the American people.
Hamilton wrote no fewer than 51 of these federalist articles, and they would become his best-known writings.
secretary of finance
in 1789, washington was unanimously elected the first president of the united states; he appointed hamilton as the first secretary of the united states. treasury. Seeking to provide lasting financial stability for the new nation, Hamilton championed the importance of a national banking system and the assumption of state debts by the federal government.
Hamilton’s financial policies faced strong opposition from Madison and Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, who thought they put too much power in the hands of the federal government.
Incorporated in 1791 and modeled on the Bank of England, the first bank of the United States succeeded in fueling economic growth and marked the high point of Hamilton’s influence in the new nation.
meanwhile, the debate continued within the washington cabinet over the balance of power between the federal government and the states. By 1793, when war broke out between Great Britain and France, the split between Hamilton (who favored neutrality) and Jefferson (who wanted the United States to back France) had begun to shape the nation’s first political parties, the Federalists and Democrats. republicans
read more: which vision of america won, hamilton’s or jefferson’s?
the reynolds brochure
Hamilton left his position as treasurer in 1795 and returned to his law practice in New York. When Washington resigned after two terms, Hamilton wrote much of Washington’s Farewell Address, which he memorably warned of the dangers of excessive political partisanship and foreign influence.
Hamilton continued to exert behind-the-scenes influence in the administration of Washington’s successor, John Adams, and the animosity between them would split the Federalist Party and help ensure Jefferson’s victory in the 1800 presidential election.
Before that, any hope Hamilton had of ascending to the nation’s highest office had been dashed by his involvement in America’s first high-profile sex scandal. In Reynolds’ infamous pamphlet, published in 1797, Hamilton publicized his affair with a married woman, Maria Reynolds, to clear her name of any suspicion of illegal financial speculation involving her husband, James. /p>
Hamilton and his wife, Eliza, suffered far worse than this humiliation in 1801, when their eldest son, Philip, was killed in a duel he had engaged in to defend his father’s name. Philip’s opponent, George I. eacker, had given a speech in which he accused hamilton of being a royalist..
read more: the sex scandal that ruined alexander hamilton’s chance to be president
rivalry with aaron burr
Even beyond his bitter feud with Jefferson, Hamilton’s combative personality and policymaking style landed him in frequent conflicts. According to historian Joanne Freeman, he was involved in no fewer than 10 matters of honor (or near duels) before the notorious 1804 duel that took his life.
Hamilton and Aaron Burr had been political opponents since the constitution debate in 1789. Burr further angered Hamilton by successfully running against Hamilton’s father-in-law, Philip Schuyler, for the United States. Senate in 1791. “I fear [Burr] is unprincipled both as a public and a private man,” Hamilton wrote in 1792, adding that “I feel it a religious duty to oppose his career.”
He did well in 1800, after Federalist divisions led to a tie between Jefferson and Burr, both Republican Democrats, in the 1800 presidential election. Although Jefferson had long been his political rival, Hamilton helped to convince the federalists in congress to vote for jefferson to break the tie and defeat burr.
read more: burr’s political legacy died in duel with hamilton
how did alexander hamilton die?
Largely sidelined in his role as vice president by Jefferson, Burr decided to run for governor of New York in 1804. After losing, largely due to opposition from powerful party rivals, a frustrated Burr became obsessed with A newspaper article, published during the gubernatorial campaign, which claimed that Hamilton had insulted him at a private dinner.
he wrote to hamilton confronting him over the slight. When Hamilton refused to back down, Burr challenged him to a duel.
on july 11, 1804, hamilton and burr dueled in weehawken, new jersey. both men fired. Hamilton’s shot missed, in fact, some historians believe that Hamilton never intended to hit Burr, but rather “take the shot at him”.
Burr’s bullet, however, fatally wounded Hamilton, who died the next day from his injuries. He was buried in the Trinity Church Cemetery in New York City, where his grave still stands today.
read more: how alexander hamilton’s widow, eliza, carried on his legacy
‘Hamilton’ the Musical
Centuries after his death, Hamilton’s legacy gained prominence with the 2015 debut of Hamilton’s groundbreaking musical theater production. The performance, written by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, offered a new perspective on the founding father’s biography by marrying hip-hop music with Broadway theater.
Hamilton dominated the 2016 Tony Awards with 16 nominations and the production won 11 Tonys. In July 2020, a filmed version of the musical premiered on Disney+.
ron chernow, hamilton (penguin, 2004) o’keefe, “alexander hamilton”. George Washington Digital Encyclopedia, Mount Vernon. Alexander Hamilton, The Essential Hamilton: Letters and Other Writings. Edited with an introduction and commentary by Joanne Freeman (Library of America, 2017). the summary of the 8 children of alexander hamilton. mind thread.