“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean, by providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?” Lin-Manuel Miranda. Would you happen to know who Alexander Hamilton is? Well at first I was dubious, I chose to write this essay because I have seen the musical. So this led me to ask: Who is Alexander Hamilton? What did his legacy lead to? Most importantly: Is Hamilton worth remembering? Born to Rachel Fawcett Lavien and James Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton came into our world on January eleventh, 1755. Hamilton, having been an intriguingly vital piece of our history, will be ensured the head of the table when it comes to historical figures.
In 1765 James Hamilton would abandon his son, Alexander, and his wife, Rachel. Yet through this tragedy, Alexander Hamilton would become a clerk for two New York merchants. Rachel would soon die in early 1768, leaving the orphan Hamilton to his mother’s relative, who would soon come to commit suicide. Though that never stopped him, in 1773 he was accepted into King’s College.
Despite the revolt against Great Britain storming the streets, Hamilton defended the Boston Tea Party, where Boston Colonists would toss crates full of tea and other goods overboard to deny satisfaction towards the taxation of tea. Publicly, Hamilton spoke out, putting Samuel Seabury aside, about the Revolution. Anonymously, Hamilton published three pamphlets about nonimportation, nonconsumption, and nonexportation of any and all products from Great Britain.
Through influences, Hamilton would be commissioned as a captain in the provincial artillery. Hamilton and his men prevented the British, led under Lord Cornwallis, from attacking Washington’s main army. By stealing twenty-one of the British cannons on August twenty-third of 1775, Hamilton and his crew would cause a distraction, leaving Washington’s army free to flee towards Delaware. Due to the bravery of this act, Washington invited Hamilton to become his aide-de-camp, ranked as a Lieutenant Colonel in February of 1777. During the years of Hamilton’s position, he grew, along with his bond with the general. Washington would trust Hamilton to do military missions for him.
Along with everyone else at the time, Hamilton craved money. This caused him to marry into the Schuyler family, a rich, prosperous family. His wife would become Elizabeth Schuyler, while his sister-in-laws would be Angelica and Peggy Schuyler. Though this would cause him to become General Philip Schuyler’s son-in-law, being the son General Schuylar never had .
Hamilton yearned for glory, he would beg and plead for General Washington to allow him to be on the field. As a child, Hamilton always sought out dying like a soldier, he felt a compulsion to serve his country. George Washington would deny him every single time, causing Hamilton to be expelled from his services. Though this would not ruin their friendship, so Washington set a battalion in Hamilton’s name in July of 1781. As Cornwallis sieged Yorktown, Hamilton ran his battalion through a British stronghold.
Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton wrote this for Alexander, hence all the spelling errors, such errors can also be found in her other writing. To preserve this, I have refused to fix these. The purpose behind why I chose this, is because I felt it would fit with one of the first sightings of Hamilton’s rebellious actions towards the current government at the time. He claims that the political insite is incorrect due to it being tight, which is like fire to Hamilton’s watered down government. He and his followers believed that the government should be “a loose, decentralized system of government.”
After the wars, that seemed to be over before November 1781, Hamilton moved to Albany. There he studied law and was admitted in July 1782. A short time afterward he was elected to the Continental Congress by the New York Legislature, where he continued to write essays defending the thoughts of a strong central government. Hamilton stood for loyalists who stood with Britain throughout the Revolution under the Trespass Act, which forbids trespassing, but at the time it forced the Loyalists to pay for any and all damage done to the Patriots’ homes.
Hamilton believed the Articles of Confederation showed the weakness and disunion of the country. I believe Lin-Manuel put it best, “As long as he can hold a pen, he’s a threat,” due to his threats to Congress, manipulating his words to get the best results. Alexander wished to replace the Articles of Confederation, hoping to run a stronger, more centralized government, yet he would not take part in the debates. He did, however, serve on two committees, one on creating rules at the beginning of the convention, the second discussed what to do towards the end of the convention.
On June eighteenth, Hamilton explained what his wishes of a national government were. “Under his plan, the national government would have had unlimited power over the states. Hamilton’s plan had little impact on the convention; the delegates went ahead to frame a constitution that, while it gave strong power to a federal government, stood some chance of ing accepted by the people,” Alex DeConde, a contributor on Britannica, wrote. Hamilton, along with John Jay and James Madison set to work on a series of twenty-five essays, each one defending a new constitution. Instead, eighty-five essays, called The Federalist Papers which were widely read, despite how they were written in haste.
Because of the Federalist Papers’ great success, Hamilton formed the Federalist Party. In 1792, he placed himself at the head of the party, because he needed strong leadership, and he knew he was willing to go through the pain of dealing with Congress. The Federalist Party was challenged by the Republican Party, run by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
The Federalist Party favored England, while the Republicans wished to strengthen the bonds with France. So Hamilton intervened, he tried to induce Washington to follow his ideas. He went as far as to inform the British of Jefferson’s partnership with France. Soon after, war broke out in 1793, between France and England, Hamilton tried to use this as an excuse to drop the alliance with France, and start pivoting America towards England. Though Jefferson was persistent, he kept insisting that the alliance was still strong, still binding.
“At the same time, British seizure of U.S. ships trading with the French West Indies and other grievances led to popular demands for war against Great Britain, which Hamilton opposed. He believed that such a war would be national suicide, for his program was anchored on trade with Britain and on the import duties that supported his funding system. Usurping the power of the State Department, Hamilton persuaded the president to send John Jay to London to negotiate a treaty. Hamilton wrote Jay’s instructions, manipulated the negotiations, and defended the unpopular treaty Jay brought back in 1795, notably in a series of newspaper essays he wrote under the signature Camillus; the treaty kept the peace and saved his system,” DeConde wrote.
On September eleventh, 1789, Hamilton was chosen for the position of Secretary of Treasury during the inauguration of the constitutional government. “ George Washington's former military aide and a renowned financier, was appointed the first Secretary of the Treasury and thus he became the architect of the structure of the Department. Desirous of a strong, centrally controlled Treasury, Hamilton did constant battle with Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, and Albert Gallatin, then a Congressman, over the amount of power the Department of the Treasury should be allowed to wield. He designed a Treasury Department for the collection and disbursing of public revenue, but also for the promotion of the economic development of the country.”
Again, showing how he was single-handedly able to get his grasp on the Government as if he owned it. Though, everyone has to fall at some point, due to criticism, Hamilton left the cabinet on January thirty-first, 1795. Yet he was still consulted in all of the matters of policy, all thanks to his influence on hundreds of men. Even Washington went to Hamilton for advice, asking him if and when he should retire, of course, Hamilton would give him enough time, having it be a few months before the next presidential election. Washington bid farewell in September 1796, having Hamilton draft his Farewell Address.
The Farewell Address spoke of: Regionalism, partisanship, and foreign entanglements. Regionalism is when certain/multiple parts of a continent decides to act as its’ own nation, whether it be from different species of plants, clashing religious beliefs, or for complete control. (Course Notes: Regionalism) Washington used partisanship to explain the clashing ideas and thought of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Of course, the foreign entanglements would prove strong when running with the British or the French which would shower upon the idea of be independant. John Adams was elected for the presidency, while Thomas Pinckney was elected for the vice presidency, by the Federalist Leaders. Hamilton had tried to manipulate the election in Pinckney’s favor, so he had a taste of distrust on his tongue when the leaders had decided to elect John Adams.
Hamilton’s influence kept going through the roof, thriving in fulfillment. However, John Adams remained in Washington’s cabinet, which caused its members to consult in Hamilton. Soon his political enemy, Aaron Burr would join the Republican-Democratic Party. Hamilton has become popular, so popular in fact, his legacy lives on within the hit Musical: Hamilton, by Lin-Miranda. Along with the way he decided to run government,
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