The Valuable Legacy Left Behind by Alexander Hamilton
For my history final I will be going through the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the most beloved founding fathers of the United States of America. In this essay I will be recapping everything that happened to Alexander from birth to death while trying to use the most important parts. Alexander Hamilton is possibly the most influential person to the growth of the United States of America. We are still talking about him today even with new musicals coming out that are dedicated to his life story. So let’s get started with the life and death of Alexander Hamilton.
Alexander hamilton was born on january 11, 1755 on the island of Nevis British west Indies. His parents were Rachel Fawcett Lavien and James Hamilton. Rachel was partly british and french while her husband was a scottish trader. During alexander’s birth Rachel was married to a man named john lavien. The two had another child by the name of Peter. John was abusive to Rachel and had her imprisoned for adultery. She later met with James Hamilton with whom she had a son named James Hamilton in 1753. James Sr. then abandoned the family. Rachel to make sure her and her children could thrive set up a small shop. Alexander tried to help his mother by becoming a clerk in a counting house set up by two new york merchants. Rachel then became sick in 1768 and died leaving Alexander to become a ward to his relatives. He worked his way up from bookkeeper to manager. He was then sent to a preparatory school in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Alexander worked his way through school and was eventually admitted in Kings college in New york during Fall of 1773. Alexander was an incredible student durings his teachings but this came to a stop as soon as The 13 colonies began the American Revolution against Great Britain. Alexander was so adamant about the war he supported the Boston Tea Party where Several crates of tea were thrown into the ocean in revolt of britain’s taxes.In 1774 Alexander was being drawn towards the war and less of his academics, He wrote his first political article defending the patriots cause against the Loyalists cause. He wrote three pamphlets in 1774 and 1775 which held the agreements of the Continental Congress. These said to stop exporting importing and consuming british made products in order to make them lose money. The Mysterious publications of the pamphlets was contributed to John Jay and John Adams. These two were very well known Propaganda artists and the fact that people thought they wrote the pamphlets means Alexander was already skilled in his field. Alexander was so drawn to the war he left King’s College and joined the protest of British imposed taxes and business regulations on the Patriots side.
In 1775 America claimed to be a separate country from Great Britain Starting the American Revolution. Alexander Hamilton wanted nothing more adamantly thant to help with the war. He was given the position of a captain of provincial artillery and fought in battles such as Long Island, White Plains, and Trenton. He organized his own men at the Battle of Trenton. Alexander and his men did a great part in holding off Lord cornwallis ( A british leader) from crossing the Raritan River and attacking Washington’s Main army. If their army had been attacked it was very likely they would have lost most of their men that were essential for the war. In 1777 Hamilton fought at the battles of Brandywine Creek and Germantown, and through his adamancy and effort he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Continental Army. In February 1777 George Washington Rewarded Hamilton by inviting him to become an Aide-de-camp or essentially washington’s right hand man, assistant and advisor. While working as Washington’s assistant for 5 years, Hamilton wrote many of washington’s most important letters and made many reports on the structuring of the continental Army and which armies should be where and such. Alexander spent 4 years working as Washington’s aide this in turn helped Alexander to gain his trust and turn him into Washington’s corresponder. Alexander became a liaison officer and was sent on very important military missions. Hamilton then found Elizabeth Schuyler his future wife. She was the daughter of Philip Schuyler on of New York’s wealthiest and most established families. After marrying Schuyler he wanted to get out into the field and kept pressing washington to put him into active command. Washington refused Hamiltons presses as he had a new wife in the beginning of 1781. Alexander and Washington fought about the issue and Alexander left the staff of Washington. Though later in July Washington did fulfill Alexanders wishes and gave him command of a battalion. With this newfound army hamilton was able to assault a british stronghold and charge towards The Battle of. Yorktown, in this battle Alexander emerged victorious and a true leader of his men.
After his work in the American revolution hamilton sent letters to a member of the congress, Robert Morris. In these letters Hamilton depicted the weaknesses of the of the government both financially and politically. During this time Hamilton moved to Albany New York. In Albany he studied law and was able to practice it after all his studies in the subject. He was elected into the continental congress shortly after. Alexander was in congress in november 1782 and wrote many arguments that the Articles of Confederations were a weakness to america’s government. In 1783 he practiced law once again in New York City. Most of Hamilton’s clients were unpopular Loyalists, people who were still loyal to England. During the Revolution many British Loyalists fled states to others seeking protection and occupied houses of soldiers. Many soldiers came back to their houses to find them being occupied and sued the people residing in their homes, these people were Alexander’s most common client. Hamilton was even part of a Landmark case in American History. He took part in the Rutgers vs. Waddington case in which heavily involved the rights of loyalists. This case was a landmark case because it led to the creation of the judicial review system. Hamilton took on more than 45 trespass act cases and was very likely a huge component in getting the Trespass act repealed.
In 1783 same year Alexander won his way into the lower house of New York and actually was put into action in that spot in January of 1787. Alexander was made a delegate of New York and met to discuss the Articles of Confederation which he disliked very much. Hamilton made a speech in Philadelphia telling what he sees the government should be. His ideal government would have total control over the states and needs a reliable source of collecting money, he believed these two things to be the most important things to setting up strong and withstandable government. Hamilton did not do much to actually write the constitution, instead he made sure that the constitution was ratified. He did this with the help of James Madison and John Jay in which all together they wrote 85 essays, 51 of which were written by Hamilton under the pseudonym The Federalist. The essays these three wrote consisted of explaining and defending the constitution before it was even approved. In 1788 a New York Ratification convention was held in Poughkeepsie. At this convention two thirds opposed the constitution. Hamilton then argued against their Anti-Federalists claims and successfully got New York to agree to the constitution.
Washington appointed Hamilton to the Secretary of Treasury and with this the congress wanted him to give a plan for to quote “ adequate support of the public credit”. Hamilton did as he was told but did it in a way that he could secretly put out his philosophies in the plan while also creating as strong of a union as one could. He first created credit in the country while also establishing it across other nations to build a platform of which we could stand upon. In this plan were many suggestions for the government to ensue. They were urged by Hamilton to fund the national debt until completely gone and to establish a system of taxation to pay for the debts. States loyalist did not like Hamilton’s views so they came to a compromise. This compromise came during a dinner conversation with James Madison on June 20, 1790. This compromise agreed to have the nation’s capital be near Potomac and Madison would no longer be able to block congress. Hamilton then persuaded Washington to sign this and this is still today’s currency system ( Fun Fact: Hamilton is on the $10 bill).
Hamilton established his own political party known as the federalist party, Despite saying he dislikes parties and that they only bring disorder. It is most likely he put himself at the head of a party to bring himself into higher power to eventually get into congress. Hamilton’s party was challenged by a entirely different party known as the Republican party which was created by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. The main difference in these parties was the countries they wanted to keep close. Federalists still wanted to keep england as a close ally while the Republicans wanted to reconstruct old ties with the French. This became a problem as France was in its own revolution from England at this point so the decision had to be made, help France or help England. This led Alexander to detest the French Revolution in order to further his cause. Alexander even warned British officials of Jefferson’s political alignment and his want to help France to try and get them to work with Hamilton instead of Jefferson. This constant fighting of both sides made both Hamilton and Jefferson to try and force eachother out of the cabinet. Hamilton used the war itself as a way to drive a stake between the bonds of France and the United States. Washington then did as Hamilton wanted and released the Proclamation Of Neutrality. The British began seizing our ships headed towards France and an outroar for a war against British was heard but Hamilton detested this thought as he believed this would destroy the United States. Washington then left the cabinet with his Farewell Address which was mostly written by Hamilton. So then John Adams became president and the cabinet still consulted Hamilton about all their matters. France then broke ties with the U.S. which led Hamilton to say to fight France as they could be after the United States if they ever got too big. Adams denied Several of Hamilton’s requests But Washington forced Adams to make Hamilton second in command of the army as a Inspector General. The feud between these two raged on and adams got everyone out of the cabinet he regarded as one of Hamilton’s Spies. In spite of this decision Hamilton tried to deny Adams of his reelection. Hamilton posted “The Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq., President of the United States” and took full responsibility of it to put their constant fighting for power into the open. Then came the next election of Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The two had the same amount of votes so the cabinet looked to hamilton for his vote to see who would win and he chose Jefferson as he believed that Thomas was the lesser of two evils and at least had ideals for what the United States should be. Aaron Burr still became vice president but this all the feuding severely damaged Jeffersons trust in Burr. This caused Hamilton to essentially lose his prestigious spot in the cabinet as he stepped down from his position, But he stepped down leaving the country he touched with his ideas stronger than it ever was before. This Betrayal by Hamilton further solidified the feud of Burr and Hamilton.
Burr and Hamilton have fought throughout hamilton’s life and eventually Burr will win with Hamilton’s death. Almost all federalists supported Burr except for Hamilton. Hamilton wanted Burr’s opponent to win the governorship of New York. Hamilton has been the bane of Burr’s existence on several occasions. After the election on June 1804 Burr had heard that Hamilton had made remarks about him at a dinner party and demanded to be accosted for them. Burr read in a newspaper that hamilton called him “the most unfit and dangerous man of the community” Burr was reasonably outraged by this. Burr after reading what Hamilton had said challenged him to a duel. Hamilton did not want to duel Burr as his son died to a duel three years earlier. Hamilton accepted the duel for his honor. They had both met on the same hill Hamilton’s son died on, early in the morning july 11, the hill was located on the heights of Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton and his son both had the same tactic to dueling, they both would not fire at their opponent but at the air, as a duel was to test who would fire the quickest not who dies first as many people believe it to be. This tactic to dueling will be Hamilton’s downfall as while Alexander aimed at the sky Burrs bullet struck Hamilton. Hamilton will be injured and brought back to New York City and died July 12, 1804. Hamilton will leave behind a legacy he created and his wife and seven children.
Hamilton while he was alive had created a family for himself with a wife and seven children. Alexander married his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler sometimes called Eliza. She was the daughter of a general of the revolutionary war. The two had a very loving relationship but alexander almost ruined it with his unruly relationship with Maria Reynolds. A few people found out about his relationship with Maria Reynolds and instead of having them tell the public he created the “Reynolds Pamphlet” in which he documented his relations with Maria. This was taken very poorly by the people which is another reason hamilton stepped down from his post in the cabinet. But despite that Elizabeth will have a happy relationship with having eight children. Some days before Hamilton’s duel with Aaron Burr Hamilton wrote to his wife “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”. After hearing the news of Hamilton’s death Eliza will do her best to preserve his legacy for the next 50 years of her life.
Alexander may have died on July 12, 1804 but his legacy lived on far past his death. Alexander was one of the most essential people to the creation of the great nation we live in today. He helped push the constitution into existence, helped create our system of currency which is used everyday, he helped create the United States of America and everything in it. Alexander’s story is still being told even today as there is an entire musical that has been dedicated to his life story that came out on April 12, 2016. We see him almost every day on our $10 bills. Alexander wife spent the rest of her life she had trying to preserve the legacy of a man who still lives on today and his children carried on with their lives and had children of their own. Alexander was one of the United States of America’s greatest and most influential founding fathers and his legacy will be remembered far from now possibly the man known as Alexander Hamilton may be able to live on forever.
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