Alexander Hamilton

Leading advocate for the adoption of the Constitution and Father of Our Financial System

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton helped ensured the ratification of the Constitution and established America’s exceptional financial system.

Born out of wedlock on the Caribbean island of Nevis of the British West Indies, Hamilton worked his way from extremely humble beginnings to become a leading Founding Father.

Hamilton began his career as an artillery captain and became George Washington’s indispensable aide-de-camp for much of the Revolutionary War. A veteran of the Continental Congress as well as the New York legislature, he was a superb attorney who helped form much of the early nation’s commercial law.

Hamilton played a small role at the Constitutional Convention. However, he and James Madison wrote the great bulk of The Federalist Papers (1788) (John Jay contributed about a half dozen of the nearly hundred articles). A series of newspaper articles published in New York, The Federalist Papers advocated the ratification of the Constitution while explaining its underlying theories. The Federalist Papers were vital to the passage of the Constitution in New York as well as other states. Thomas Jefferson reflected that The Federalist Papers was “the best commentary on the principles of government ever written.”

George Washington tapped Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury. He performed brilliantly by establishing the blueprint for the American financial system. He submitted a series of groundbreaking reports to Congress, including the First Report on Public Credit (1790) and the Report on Manufactures (1791). Hamilton proposed, and Congress adopted, the proposal that all state debts incurred during American Revolution be assumed by the federal government. His efforts eventually made America the financial envy of the world.

He died on July 12, 1804 after being shot in a duel by then Vice-President Aaron Burr, and apparent traitor to the nation.

For more about our Founding Fathers and their importance to our liberties today, buy a copy of America’s Survival Guide.

Picture: Daniel Huntington in c.1865, based on a full length portrait by John Trumball. U.S. Treasury Collection, Secretary of the Treasury Portraits.


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