He was born January 11, 1755, in Charlestown, capital of the Caribbean Island of Nevis, which remains in British hands to this day. He sought his education in the North American colonies, which do not remain in British hands, thanks to him and his fellow Founders, so we mark
NATIONAL ALEXANDER HAMILTON DAY!
The illegitimate son of an obscure noble Scottish planter, Alexander Hamilton gained not only knowledge and employment in Boston and New York City, but found himself caught up in a maelstrom of revolutionary ideas, many of them his own.
He would never be president of the nation he helped forge on battlefields and nationwide debates, but he had as great an impact on the shape and form of the United States of America as any Founder. He was a general on George Washington’s staff during the Revolution, a framer of the Constitution, delegate to the Continental Congress and America’s first Secretary of The Treasury.
Perhaps his most influential title, however, was the unofficial one of being one of the main authors of “The Federalist Papers.” Written by himself, James Madison and John Jay under the pseudonym “Publius,” this series of 85 newspaper essays was instrumental in convincing all 13 former colonies to ratify the new Constitution.
In opposition to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who championed stronger States Rights, Hamilton argued for a federal government with supreme authority over individual states. He founded the Federalist Party and the New York Post to promote his ideas.
Hamilton’s views prevailed, and the United States as we know it was formed. One of the youngest of our Founders, he would surely have become President had he not been shot dead in 1804 in a duel with Jefferson’s Vice President, Aaron Burr, the Dick Cheney of his day. Just 49 years old, Alexander Hamilton left his wife and 8 children the richest possible legacy, a vote and a chance.
•Suggested Activities: Confining your dueling to the verbal variety.