Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton was born on the island of Nevis, British West Indies, on 11th January, 1757. Hamilton moved to the United States in 1772 and was educated at King's College, New York City. Hamilton developed strong political views and wrote a series of pamphlets in defence of the rights of the colonies against Britain.

Hamilton joined the Continental Army in 1776 and became captain of artillery. He also served as aide-de-camp to General George Washington.

After the war Hamilton studied law and eventually became a leading lawyer in New York. He served as a member of the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783. Along with John Jay and James Madison he co-authored The Federalist. Hamilton also served in the New York State Assembly.

George Washington was unanimously elected as the first President of the United States and was inaugurated on 30th April, 1789, in New York City. Washington appointed Thomas Jefferson as his Secretary of State and Hamilton as Treasury Secretary. John Adams served as Vice President under Washington.

Washington was unanimously reelected in 1792 but by this time the government was not so united and there were serious disagreements between Jefferson's Democratic Republicans and Hamilton's Federalists. Washington tended to favour the Federalists and with the Democratic Republicans gaining increasing support, he decided not to seek a third term and retired from office on 3rd March, 1797.

John Adams now replaced Washington and Thomas Jefferson became the new Vice President. Although Adams was the leader of the Federalists, he rejected the suggestions of Alexander Hamilton to declare war on France. He did however support the Aliens and Sedition Acts, that intended to frighten foreign agents out of the country. However, his decision to send a peace mission to France made him unpopular and united his opponents against him.

In 1804 Aaron Burr asked Hamilton to support his campaign to become Governor of New York. Hamilton refused saying that Burr was "a man of irregular and insatiable ambition... who ought not be trusted with the reins of government." Burr was furious and challenged Hamilton to a duel in Weekauken, New Jersey. Hamilton accepted and on 11th July, 1804 was shot by Burr. Hamilton died the following day.