A Look into the Inspirational Life of Alexander Hamilton

Category : Politics/Government
Posted By : AmnaAnees
Posted Date : 31 May 2020 16:14 hrs

Alexander Hamilton was the member of the Federalist party that originated during the presidency of George Washington's first administration. He was among the founding fathers of America, fought in the Revolutionary War, was a member of the Constitution drafting group, and was also appointed as the first secretary of the treasury. Moreover, Hamilton was the first founder and the first chief architect of the American financial system. Here we will have a look into the inspirational life of Alexander Hamilton.
Working for the development and validation of the constitution is one of Hamilton's most prominent works. Hamilton was a lawyer and politician from the state of New York. It was Alexander Hamilton's idea to organize a constitutional convention, inviting delegates of 13 states to endorse the making of a strong constitution. He convinced the people of New York to agree for the validation of the United States Constitution that was signed on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia. This was the first government document that devised the state in three branches- executive, legislative, and judicial- thus making a stronger federal government. Alexander Hamilton along with James Madison and John Ray wrote 85 essays or "The Federalist Papers" explaining to the people of their country about the detailed points of the constitution.
In Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton clearly explained the importance of the free and fair choice of the people saying, “It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.”
In addition to his political and judicial abilities, Hamilton has also had an incredible military career. He fought in various battles including the battles of Brandywine Creek, Princeton, Germantown, Long Island, Trenton, and White Plains. 
•    Early Life of Alexander Hamilton
 Alexander Hamilton was born on January 11 to James Hamilton and Rachel Fawcett in Charlestown, Nevis, the British West Indies. The year of his birth is contradictory, it is either 1757 or 1755. His father James Hamilton was a Scottish merchant. James Hamilton and Rachel Fawcett never married. At a very young age, Rachel's father, a Huguenot physician, and planter married Rachel with a Danish proprietor, John Lavin. Lavin was much older than Rachel Fawcett, and Fawcett had an abusive relationship in this marriage. Under Danish law, Lavin also gets her imprisoned for nine months on the charges of adultery. He took all her inherited money after the death of her father in 1745. They had a son together. After getting out of the prison Rachel Fawcett ran to St. Kitts, leaving her son behind. There she married James Hamilton and gave birth to two sons, James, and the younger Alexander.
Alexander Hamilton's father abandoned his family in 1766, leaving them impoverished and dependent on others. Rachel worked hard to make the ends meet, but with an excess of work and no rest, she died in 1768. Considering the tough family situation, Alexander Hamilton started working at the tender age of 11 or 12. He started working as a clerk in a nearby mercantile, but his extraordinarily brilliant mind had other goals ahead. This early experience taught him about international commerce, the import of slaves, and highlights of trading.
He could write excellently both in French and in English. He published an incredibly well-written letter about a hurricane that hit their town, which was much appreciated by the locals. Seeing his remarkable talent, his aunts used their savings to send him to get a formal education to New York. He got admission to King's College later named New Columbia University in 1773. There, he showed particular interest in the political issues of both American and British government. In 1774, Hamilton wrote his first political piece in defense of Patriot's cause in opposition to the pro-British Loyalists.
While taking a look into the inspirational life of Alexander Hamilton, this had to be the turning point in Hamilton's life. In 1775, Hamilton left the college without completing his education and joined Patriots in their demands against the British imposed tax system and cruel commercial business regulations. In 1774 and 1775 he published several pamphlets, particularly attacking the blunt British loyalist, Samuel Seabury. Hamilton once said, “Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this; when I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort that I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.” Everyone around him was in awe of his intelligence and perfection of analysis.
•    Start of the Military Career
In 1775 Hamilton joined New York Provincial Artillery Company and later in March 1776 became captain of this artillery company, He also volunteered with the company of militia. When the Revolutionary War started in 1775, Hamilton fought bravely in the battles of White Plains, Princeton, Trenton, and Kip's Bay. Senior officers of the army were very impressed with Hamilton. The senior officer of the artillery, William Alexander also asked him to be his aide in the military. As the Pennsylvania Evening Post published an advertisement on January 25, 1777, in this regard, saying,  “Captain Alexander Hamilton, of the New-York company of artillery, by applying to the printer of this paper, may hear of something to his advantage.”
Hamilton fought the battles of Brandywine Creek, Germantown in 1777; and later was appointed as the lieutenant colonel of the Continental Army. The post in the Pennsylvania Evening Post and his devotion in the fight for the independence of America allured George Washington as he later made Hamilton his trusted advisor for the state's affairs. In only twenty years of age, Hamilton had achieved remarkable goals and glories.
In the next four years, Alexander Hamilton became one of the most esteemed members in Washinton who carried on various responsibilities including writing critical letters to Congress, Continental Army officers, and state politicians. Moreover, he took part in writing various strategic reforms for the state and the reconstruction of the Continental Army.
This period of working at Washington adds an exceptional chapter in a look into the inspirational life of Alexander Hamilton that truly depicts the incredible skills and intelligence of Hamilton.
•    Getting Married and Children
Hamilton got married on December 14, 1780, with Elizabeth Schuyler, daughter of Revolutionary War general Philip Schuyler. Philip Schuyler was among the wealthiest men of New York. It had proved an exceptionally happy marriage and the couple had eight children together. However, there had been a scandal on the account of Hamilton when he had an affair with a married woman, Maria Reynolds. This affair is one of the first sex scandals of America's history.
In 1781, Hamilton argued with the general. The specific reason for this argument is unknown, it may be because of the general's lack of command or some personal matter. However, later Hamilton was given the charge of field command of Lafayette's Division in Moses Hazen's Brigade. He led the army with grace, and enthusiasm and this proved to be the final step towards the American victory, as it paved the way in the surrender of General Lord Charles Cornwallis. Later in 1783, Hamilton was given the responsibility of Colonel from which he resigned at the end of the year.
A look into the inspirational life of Alexander Hamilton is incomplete without the marvelous chapter of her loving and caring wife and their children. In his last letter to his wife, just a few days before he fought with Aaron Burr, Hamilton wrote, "Fly to the bosom of your God and be comforted. With my last idea; I shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world. Adieu, best of wives and best of Women. Embrace all my darling Children for me." Elizabeth lived 50 years after her husband's death and all her life she preserved the great legacy of Hamilton.
•    Becoming Congress Member and Creation of the Constitution    
In 1782, after successfully leading the army during the Siege of Yorktown,  Hamilton got selected by the in the Confederation Congress as the representative of the state of New York. But later in 1783, he resigned from this post and started pursuing law practice. Moreover, Hamilton established the Bank of New York and also kept influencing the political machinery of the country. This was the period when Hamilton co-authored the Federalist Papers along with James Madison and John Jay. Three of them wrote 85 essays. Hamilton wrote 51 out of these 85 essays. Collectively, these essays were titled as "The Federalist Papers".
Hamilton was one of the key participants in the creation, and establishment of the constitution. Though he did not write the constitution, he had a strong hand in its ratification. His articulate speech and attractive writing skills made the majority of the non-believers of the constitution believers. In 1788, two-third of New York's delegates opposed the newly formulated constitution, but the way Hamilton advocated all the prose of the document, the New Yorkers eventually agreed to ratify it. He said, "Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things."
Hamilton regarded the constitution as the document of utmost power for keeping the peace in American society. He wrote, “The Constitution shall never be prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their arms.” And that the rule of law as stated in the constitution is extremely important to keep balance in the society. Hamilton said, “A sacred respect for the Constitutional Law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.”
He was also among the founding members of the Federalist political party that stressed the stronger role of the Government than what was devised in the Articles of Confederation. The constitution of America replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1787. Hamilton was representing New at this time at the Constitutional Convention that took place in Philadelphia. Hamilton played a huge role in shaping America's politics and government.
•    Establishment of Law Career
Among many other things, Hamilton was a great lawyer too, as he depicted his skill in defending the constitution. When you take a look into the inspirational life of Alexander Hamilton, this part of his life also seems amazing. He had a very clear point of view about situations and how people behave in different situations. He once said, "Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike." He had everything that is needed to be a great lawyer. As shown in his own words, "It is the advertiser who provides the paper for the subscriber. It is not to be disputed, that the publisher of a newspaper in this country, without very exhaustive advertising support, would receive less reward for his labor than the humblest mechanic." He was the great believer of rule of law and that no one is above the law, not even the president. As he said, “The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterward be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.” To advocate equality and human rights in society, it is necessary to give importance to the constitution. "The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority... Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.”
Hamilton started his practice in New York City in the early 1770s. Hamilton mainly defended the British loyalists against the rebels. after the end of the Revolutionary War.
•    Back to the Battlefield    
In 1781, Alexander Hamilton convinced George Washinton to appoint him on the battlefield. Hamilton was not the sort of person who sits idle, doing just the paperwork on the desk hen he can offer his services on the battlefield. And that was the time when Hamilton led his army against the British in the famous Battle of Yorktown and came victorious.
This victory against the British paved way for two major negotiations; one the Treaty of Paris that was between Great Britain and the United States and the other negotiation was between France, Spain, and Britain. These treaties were collectively called as Peace of Paris and marked as the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783.
Later in 1798, amid severe tension between America and France,  Hamilton was promoted as Second in command and inspector general.  However, Hamilton's political career ended hen peace deals between America and France were signed. When you are taking a look into the inspirational life of Alexander Hamilton, you realize that a man of his stature could still bring numerous revolutionary changes in the military.
•    Becoming Secretary of Treasury
While taking a look into the inspirational life of Alexander Hamilton, the best point comes when he became secretary of the treasury. He was surely one of the best-suited people for this post at that time who also showed the same in the coming years as well. He was appointed for this role in the first cabinet ever created in American history by George Washington. George Washington got elected as America's first president in 1789.  And because of his utmost trust and Hamilton's bright career in every field he touched, Washington appointed Hamilton as the Secretary of Treasury. With his utmost intellect and skills, he laid a great foundation for the American monetary system. On January 9, 1790, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the "Report on Public Credit", "This reflection derives additional strength from the nature of the debt of the United States. It was the price of liberty. The faith of America has been repeatedly pledged for it, and with solemnities, that give peculiar force to the obligation [of paying off the debt]. And as, on the one hand, the necessity for borrowing in particular emergencies cannot be doubted, so, on the other, it is equally evident that, to be able to borrow upon good terms, the credit of a nation must be well established."
In the same report, he said, "…[It is] of the greatest consequence that the debt should, with the consent of the creditors, be remolded into such a shape as will bring the expenditure of the nation to a level with its income. Till this shall be accomplished the finances of the United States will never wear a proper countenance. Arrears of interest, continually accruing, will be as continual a monument, either of inability or ill faith, and will not cease to have an evil influence on public credit." He pointed out the basics of running a country's financial system with his words of wisdom, and to this date, many economists and financial analysts look into his work to seek help and guidance.
In another report, Report Relative to the Additional Supplies for the Ensuing Year, that was published on March 16, 1792, Alexander Hamilton said, "Nothing can more interest the National Credit and prosperity than constant and systematic attention to husband [manage prudently] all the means previously possessed for extinguishing the present debt, and to avoid, as much as possible, the incurring of any new debt." He laid down the fundamental concept of debt balancing in the finances and managed the American economy amazingly well.
Alexander Hamilton wrote in "The Defense of the Funding System" in July 1795 that, "Establish that a Government may decline a provision for its debts, though able to make it, and you overthrow all public morality, you unhinge all the principles that must preserve the limits of free constitutions."
•    Death of Alexander Hamilton
In the presidential elections of 1800, Thomas Jefferson was a candidate from the Democratic-Republican Party, and John Adams was from the Federalist party. However, Aaron Burr tied the election with Jefferson, whereas Jefferson wanted to pick Burr as his vice. Some party members wanted to get Burr elected as president.  But Hamilton campaigned for Jefferson and wrote that Burr was, "a man of extreme and irregular ambition; that he is selfish to a degree which excludes all social affections” and added, “he [Burr] is inferior in real ability to Jefferson."
Reading about such comments about him, Burr confronted Hamilton in a duel on July 11, 1804. In this duel, Burr's gunshot severely damaged Hamilton and he was brought back to New York City. Hamilton's shot was missed and did not touch Burr. Unfortunately, Hamilton's condition did not make it.
Hamilton died on July 12, 1804, in New York City. He is resting in peace at the cemetery of Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan, New York City.
Hamilton's life is an example for many, whether you are a lawyer, a politician, military personnel, a writer, a speaker, and whatnot.

There you go! This was just a look into the inspirational life of Alexander Hamilton, there is so much more to it. He had led an incredible life and become a symbol of courage, valor, intelligence, and greatness for centuries to come. His words of wisdom and his contribution to shaping American history are still remembered and will always be remembered by every American.

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