The Life of Alexander Hamilton
A Research Paper
Alexander Hamilton was one of the founding fathers of America. He helped developed the first financial system in America, fought in the revolutionary war and up to his death influenced many of the founder fathers in shaping the country. He fought in the revolutionary war, and participated in the politics of the newly formed country Despite everything he had accomplished in his life and what he left behind, many people know very little about his life and influences.
When Alexander Hamilton immigrated to the thirteen colonies in 1772, he found himself in the middle of the civil unrest that the colonist had toward England. During the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, Hamilton wrote many essays about revolting and spoke out against the British. His involvement in the early years of the revolution lead him to become captain of the Provincial Artillery in 1776. As captain he was assigned the duty to protect New York. As the war went on Hamilton became Aide de’ Camp with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel and because he could speak both french and english, Liaison Officer for George Washington and the French Generals who were aiding the colonist. Despite rising in rank and being eager to see the front lines, Alexander was left out of the physical fighting and did more desk work. It was not until after 1781, Washington gave him command of a battalion and allowed him to lead the successful assault at Yorktown.
After the war was won, George Washington asked Hamilton to be first treasurer of his cabinet. Upon becoming treasurer, he immediately wanted to establish a stable financial program for the United States. On January 14th and December 13th 1790, Hamilton submitted the “Reports on Public Credit”. Inside the reports he stated that the central government should pay the state's debts acquired during the revolutionary war. In his eyes since every state had acquired debts as a result of the war, the government should simply pay it off in full. By doing so it would show just how strong the central government was in the new country. On December 14th 1790 Hamilton also submitted the “Report on a National Bank”. In it he drafted a national bank plan called “Bank of the United States.” He hoped that the government would charter the bank to regulate currency.
During his time in Washington’s cabinet, Alexander Hamilton had affiliations with various political parties and its members. In the beginning he had agreed with Washington that political parties were not needed in the government. Even though he had initially held this stance, Hamilton went on the be in charge of the Federalist party. Once he became the head of the federalist -party many feuds began to break out among various political figures, including Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s and Hamilton’s feud began to surface when Hamilton started to interfere with Jefferson policies as secretary of state. The main issue that arose between the two was if America should get involved in the French Revolution. Jefferson, who highly favored the french, thought that the government should provide aide to the French. Hamilton however thought that America shouldn’t get involved at all and was able to convince Washington to declare a statement of neutrality.
On January 31st 1795 Hamilton left Washington's cabinet. Right before he left he had helped Washington draft his farewell address. In the years that followed he would continue to help and advise the new president John Adams and his cabinet members, despite not actually being in the cabinet itself. This led John Adams to start disliking Hamilton, for fear of his influence over political matters. As a result he had gotten ridden of any Hamilton supporters and “spies” from his cabinet. In retaliation over this matter, Alexander worked to stop Adams from getting reelected which worked. With Adams out of the picture, this left room for Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson getting the same number of votes during the Election of 1800. Hamilton vouched for Jefferson’s presidency over Burr, a move that upset the other members of the Federalist party who favored Burr. After this his career with the Federalist was essentially over.
A few years prior to the Election, however Hamilton also suffered another career ending blow. In 1797 Alexander Hamilton published The Reynolds Pamphlet documenting his affair with Maria Reynolds ,which would go on the be known as the first sex-scandal of America. Leading up to the publishing he had started an affair with Mrs. Reynolds who then claimed he husband had abandoned her. Her Husband, James Reynolds, found out about the fair and blackmailed Hamilton into paying him to keep quiet about the affair, and to let it continue. Soon many people began to become suspicious that Hamilton was becoming corrupt and extorting federal funds. Hamilton published the pamphlet to prove that he was not corrupted at all. Once it was published his reputation began to sour, which only worsened during the Election of 1800.
When the election was over, Aaron Burr began to have a deep hatred for Alexander Hamilton. He felt upset that Hamilton vouched for Jefferson's candidacy over his. Despite this defeat he later decided to run for governor of New York. At this point Hamilton was so actively against Burr having any political power that he began to be public about it. With Hamilton constantly speaking out against Burr, he ended up not getting the position. Sometime after losing yet another election, Aaron heard that Alexander was still making some negative remarks about him. This lead to Burr challenging Hamilton to a duel on July 11th 1804. which ended up in him getting challenged to a duel. The duel took place in Weehawken, New Jersey. While there are many different accounts on what actually happened on the dueling grounds, Alexander Hamilton died from a gunshot to the stomach as a result of the conflict. He left behind a wife and seven children.
Alexander Hamilton had accomplished so many things in his life. Starting his life as a poor immigrant he rose above his station to one of the most influential people in America. He dedicated so much of his life to serving and better America, that the country today as we know it would be completely different if a young Alexander Hamilton had chosen to not get involved with the war and its people. He is truly is one of America’s greatest founding fathers.
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