, soldier, economist
, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional law
yers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury
. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington Administration
, especially the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain.
For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.
It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.
Here, sir, the people govern; here they act by their immediate representatives.
Every power vested in a government is in its nature sovereign, and includes by force of the term a right to employ all the means requisite...to the attainment of the ends of such power.
If the end be clearly comprehended within any of the specified powers, and if the measure have an obvious relation to that end, and is not forbidden by any particular provision of the Constitution, it may safely be deemed to come within the compass of the national authority.
If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.
The passions of a revolution are apt to hurry even good men into excesses.
I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be.
Men are rather reasoning than reasonable animals, for the most part governed by the impulse of passion.
A garden, you know, is a very usual refuge of a disappointed politician. Accordingly, I have purchased a few acres about nine miles from town, have built a house, and am cultivating a garden.
, soldier, economist
, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional law
yers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury
. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington Administration
, especially the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. He became the leader of the Federalist Party, created largely in support of his views, and was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson
and James Madison
Hamilton served in the American Revolutionary War
. At the start of the war, he organized an artillery company and was chosen as its captain. He later became the senior aide-de-camp
and confidant to General George Washington
, the American commander-in-chief. He served again under Washington in the army raised to defeat the Whiskey Rebellion
, a tax revolt of western farmers in 1794. In 1798, Hamilton called for mobilization against France after the XYZ Affair
, and secured an appointment as commander of a new army, which he trained for a war. However, the Quasi-War
, although hard-fought at sea, was never officially declared. In the end, President John Adams found a diplomatic solution that avoided war.
Born and raised in the West Indies, Hamilton came to North America for his education, sponsored by people from his community. He attended King's College (now Columbia University
). After the American Revolutionary War
, Hamilton was elected to the Continental Congress
from New York. He resigned to practice law, and founded the Bank of New York
. He was among those dissatisfied with the first national governance document, the Articles of Confederation
. While serving in the New York Legislature
, Hamilton was sent as a delegate to the Annapolis Convention
in 1786 to revise the Articles, but it resulted in a call for a new constitution instead. He was one of New York's delegates at the Philadelphia Convention
that drafted the new constitution in 1787, and was the only New Yorker who signed it. In support of the new Constitution
, Hamilton wrote many of the Federalist Papers
, still an important source for Constitutional interpretation. In the new government under President George Washington
, he was appointed the Secretary of the Treasury. An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist who emphasized strong central government, and successfully argued that the implied powers
of the Constitution could be used to fund the national debt, assume state debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States
. These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports
and later also by a highly controversial excise tax on whiskey.
Embarrassed when an extra-marital affair with Maria Reynolds
became public, Hamilton resigned from office in 1795 and returned to the practice of law in New York. However, he kept his hand in politics and was a powerful influence on the cabinet of President Adams (1797–1801). Hamilton's opposition to John Adams
helped cause Adams' defeat in the 1800 elections. When Thomas Jefferson
and Aaron Burr
tied in the electoral college
, Hamilton helped defeat his bitter personal enemy Burr and elect Jefferson as president. After opposing Adams, the candidate of his own party, Hamilton was left with few political friends. In 1804, as the next presidential election approached, Hamilton again opposed the candidacy of Burr. Taking offense at some of Hamilton's comments, Burr challenged him to a duel and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died within days.
Childhood in the CaribbeanAlexander Hamilton was born in Charlestown
, the capital of the island of Nevis
, in the Leeward Islands
; Nevis was then one of the British West Indies
. His mother moved with the infant Hamilton to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, then ruled by Denmark.
Hamilton was born out of wedlock to Rachel Faucette Lavien, of partial French Huguenot
descent, and James A. Hamilton, the fourth son of Scottish laird
Alexander Hamilton of Grange
It is not certain whether the year of Hamilton's birth was 1757 or 1755; most historical evidence after Hamilton's arrival in North America supports the idea that he was born in 1757, and many historians had accepted this birth date. Hamilton's early life in the Caribbean was recorded in documents first published in Danish in 1930; this evidence has caused recent historians to opt for a birth year of 1755. Hamilton listed his birth year as 1757 when he first arrived in the Thirteen Colonies
. He celebrated his birthday on January 11. In later life, he tended to give his age only in round figures. Probate papers from St. Croix in 1768, after the death of Hamilton's mother, list him as then 13 years old, a date that would support a birth year of 1755. There are several explanations for the different birth years: If 1755 is correct, Hamilton may have been trying to appear younger than his college classmates, or perhaps wished to avoid standing out as older; on the other hand, if 1757 is correct, the probate document indicating a birth year of 1755 may have been in error, or Hamilton may have been attempting to pass as 13, in order to be more employable after his mother's death.
denied him membership and education in the church school. Instead, Hamilton received "individual tutoring" and classes in a private Jewish school. Hamilton supplemented his education with a family library of thirty-four books, including Greek and Roman classics
Hamilton's father James abandoned Rachel and their two sons, allegedly to "spar[e] [Rachel] a charge of bigamy . . . [after finding out that her first husband] intend[ed] to divorce her under Danish law on grounds of adultery and desertion." Rachel supported her family in St. Croix by keeping a small store in Christiansted. She contracted a severe fever and died on February 19, 1768, 1:02 am, leaving Hamilton effectively orphaned. This may have had severe emotional consequences for him, even by the standards of an eighteenth-century childhood. In probate court, Rachel's "first husband seized her estate" and obtained the few valuables Rachel had owned, including some household silver. Many items were auctioned off, but a friend purchased the family books and returned them to the young Hamilton.
Hamilton became a clerk at a local import-export firm, Beekman and Cruger, which traded with New England; he was left in charge of the firm for five months in 1771, while the owner was at sea. He and his older brother James were adopted briefly by a cousin, Peter Lytton, but when Lytton committed suicide the brothers were separated. James apprenticed with a local carpenter, while Alexander was adopted by Nevis merchant Thomas Stevens. Some evidence suggests that Stevens may have been Alexander Hamilton's biological father: his son, Edward Stevens, became a close friend of Hamilton. The two boys were described as looking much alike, were both fluent in French, and shared similar interests.
Hamilton continued clerking, but he remained an avid reader, later developed an interest in writing, and began to desire a life outside the small island where he lived. He wrote an essay published in the Royal Danish-American Gazette, a detailed account of a hurricane that had devastated Christiansted on August 30, 1772. The essay impressed community leaders, who collected a fund to send the young Hamilton to the North American colonies for his education.
EducationIn the autumn of 1772, Hamilton arrived by way of Boston, Massachusetts, at Elizabethtown Academy, a grammar school
in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. In 1773 he studied with Francis Barber
at Elizabethtown in preparation for college work. He came under the influence of a leading intellectual and revolutionary, William Livingston
with whom he lived for a time at his new house, Liberty Hall. Hamilton applied to the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University
), asking to be allowed to study at a quicker pace and complete his studies in a shorter time. The college's Board of Trustees refused his request. Hamilton made a similar request to King's College in New York City
(now Columbia University
), was accepted, and entered the college in late 1773 or early 1774.
When the Church of England
clergyman Samuel Seabury published a series of pamphlets promoting the Loyalist
cause the following year, Hamilton responded with his first political writings, "A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress
" and "The Farmer Refuted
". He published two additional pieces attacking the Quebec Act
as well as fourteen anonymous installments of "The Monitor" for Holt's New York Journal. Although Hamilton was a supporter of the Revolutionary cause at this prewar stage, he did not approve of mob reprisals against Loyalists. On May 10, 1775, Hamilton saved his college president Myles Cooper
, a Loyalist, from an angry mob by speaking to the crowd long enough for Cooper to escape the danger.
During the Revolutionary War
Early military careerIn 1775, after the first engagement of American troops with the British in Boston
, Hamilton joined a New York volunteer militia company called the Hearts of Oak
, which included other King's College students. He drilled with the company, before classes, in the graveyard of nearby St. Paul's Chapel
. Hamilton studied military history and tactics on his own and achieved the rank of lieutenant
. Under fire from HMS Asia
, he led a successful raid for British cannon in the Battery
, the capture of which resulted in the Hearts of Oak becoming an artillery company thereafter. Through his connections with influential New York
patriots such as Alexander McDougall
and John Jay
, he raised the New York Provincial Company of Artillery
of sixty men in 1776, and was elected captain. It took part in the campaign of 1776 around New York City, particularly at the Battle of White Plains
; at the Battle of Trenton
, it was stationed at the high point of town, the meeting of the present Warren and Broad Streets, to keep the Hessians pinned in the Trenton Barracks.
Washington's staffHamilton was invited to become an aide to Nathanael Greene
and to Henry Knox
; however, he declined these invitations, believing his best chance for improving his station in life was glory on the battlefield. Hamilton eventually received an invitation he felt he could not refuse: to serve as Washington's aide
, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel
. Hamilton served for four years as Washington's chief of staff. He handled letters to Congress, state governors, and the most powerful generals in the Continental Army; he drafted many of Washington's orders and letters at the latter's direction; he eventually issued orders from Washington over Hamilton's own signature. Hamilton was involved in a wide variety of high-level duties, including intelligence, diplomacy, and negotiation with senior army officers as Washington's emissary. The important duties with which he was entrusted attest to Washington's deep confidence in his abilities and character, then and afterward. At the points in their relationship when there was little personal attachment, there was still always a reciprocal confidence and respect.
During the war, Hamilton became close friends with several fellow officers. His letters to the Marquis de Lafayette and to John Laurens
, employing the sentimental
literary conventions of the late eighteenth century and alluding to Greek history and mythology, have been read as revealing a homosocial
or perhaps homosexual relationship, but few historians agree.
on December 14, 1780. She was the daughter of Philip Schuyler
, a general and wealthy landowner from one of the most prominent families in the state of New York. The marriage took place at Schuyler Mansion
, New York.
Hamilton was also extremely close to Eliza's older sister, Angelica Schuyler Church
, who eloped with John Barker Church
, an Englishman who made a fortune in the American colonies during the Revolution, and returned with him to London after the war.
While on Washington's staff, Hamilton long sought command in active combat. As the war drew ever nearer to a close, he knew that opportunities for military glory were fading. In February 1781, Hamilton was mildly reprimanded by Washington, and used this as an excuse for resigning his staff position. He immediately began to ask Washington and others incessantly for a field command. This continued until early July 1781, when Hamilton submitted a letter to Washington with his commission
enclosed, "thus tacitly threatening to resign if he didn't get his desired command".
On July 31, 1781, Washington relented, and Hamilton was given command of a New York light infantry
battalion. In the planning for the assault on Yorktown
, Hamilton was given command of three battalion
s, which were to fight in conjunction with French troops in taking Redoubt
s #9 and #10 of the British fortifications at Yorktown. Hamilton and his battalions fought bravely and took Redoubt #10 with bayonets, as planned. The French also fought bravely, took heavy casualties, and successfully took Redoubt #9. This action forced the British surrender at Yorktown of an entire army, effectively ending major British military operations in North America.
Hamilton enters CongressAfter the Battle of Yorktown, Hamilton resigned his commission. He was elected in July 1782 to the Congress of the Confederation
as a New York representative for the term beginning in November 1782. Hamilton supported congressmen such as Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris, his assistant Gouverneur Morris
(no relation), along with James Wilson
and James Madison
, to provide the Congress with the independent source of revenue it lacked under the Articles of Confederation
While on Washington's staff, Hamilton had become frustrated with the decentralized nature of the wartime Continental Congress, particularly its dependence upon the states for financial support. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had no power to collect taxes or to demand money from the states. This lack of a stable source of funding had made it difficult for the Continental Army both to obtain its necessary provisions and to pay its soldiers. During the war, and for some time after, Congress obtained what funds it could from subsidies from the King of France, from aid requested from the several states (which were often unable or unwilling to contribute), and from European loans.
An amendment to the Articles had been proposed by Thomas Burke, in February 1781, to give Congress the power to collect a 5% impost, or duty on all imports, but this required ratification by all states; securing its passage as law proved impossible after it was rejected by Rhode Island in November 1782. Madison joined Hamilton in persuading Congress to send a delegation to persuade Rhode Island to change its mind. Their report recommending the delegation argued the federal government needed not just some level of financial autonomy, but also the ability to make laws that superseded those of the individual states. Hamilton transmitted a letter arguing that Congress already had the power to tax, since it had the power to fix the sums due from the several states; but Virginia's rescission
of its own ratification ended the Rhode Island negotiations.
Congress and the ArmyWhile Hamilton was in Congress, discontented soldiers began to pose a danger to the young United States. Most of the army was then posted at Newburgh, New York. Those in the army were paying for much of their own supplies, and they had not been paid in eight months. Furthermore, the Continental officers had been promised, in May 1778, after Valley Forge
, a pension of half their pay when they were discharged. It was at this time that a group of officers organized under the leadership of General Henry Knox
sent a delegation to lobby Congress, led by Capt. Alexander MacDougall (see above). The officers had three demands: the Army's pay, their own pensions, and commutation of those pensions into a lump-sum payment.
Several Congressmen, including Hamilton and the Morrises, attempted to use this Newburgh Conspiracy
as leverage to secure independent support for funding for the federal government in Congress and from the states. They encouraged MacDougall to continue his aggressive approach, threatening unknown consequences if their demands were not met, and defeated proposals that would have resolved the crisis without establishing general federal taxation: that the states assume the debt to the army, or that an impost be established dedicated to the sole purpose of paying that debt. Hamilton suggested using the Army's claims to prevail upon the states for the proposed national funding system. The Morrises and Hamilton contacted Knox to suggest he and the officers defy civil authority, at least by not disbanding if the army were not satisfied; Hamilton wrote Washington to suggest that Hamilton covertly "take direction" of the officers' efforts to secure redress, to secure continental funding but keep the army within the limits of moderation. Washington wrote Hamilton back, declining to introduce the army; after the crisis had ended, he warned of the dangers of using the army as leverage to gain support for the national funding plan.
On March 15, Washington defused the Newburgh situation by giving a speech to the officers. Congress ordered the Army officially disbanded in April 1783. In the same month, Congress passed a new measure for a twenty-five-year impost—which Hamilton voted against— that again required the consent of all the states; it also approved a commutation of the officers' pensions to five years of full pay. Rhode Island again opposed these provisions, and Hamilton's robust assertions of national prerogatives in his previous letter were widely held to be excessive. The Continental Congress was never able to secure full ratification for back pay, pensions, or its own independent sources of funding.
In June 1783, a different group of disgruntled soldiers from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, sent Congress a petition demanding their back pay. When they began to march toward Philadelphia, Congress charged Hamilton and two others with intercepting the mob. Hamilton requested militia from Pennsylvania's Supreme Executive Council, but was turned down. Hamilton instructed Assistant Secretary of War William Jackson to intercept the men. Jackson was unsuccessful. The mob arrived in Philadelphia, and the soldiers proceeded to harangue Congress for their pay. The President of Congress, John Dickinson, feared that the Pennsylvania state militia was unreliable, and refused its help. Hamilton argued that Congress ought to adjourn to Princeton, New Jersey. Congress agreed, and relocated there.
Frustrated with the weakness of the central government, Hamilton while in Princeton drafted a call to revise the Articles of Confederation. This resolution contained many features of the future US Constitution, including a strong federal government with the ability to collect taxes and raise an army. It also included the separation of powers into the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.
Return to New YorkHamilton resigned from Congress, and in July 1783 was admitted to the New York Bar after several months of self-directed education. He practiced law in New York City in partnership with Richard Harison
. He specialized in defending Tories and British subjects, as in Rutgers v. Waddington
, in which he defeated a claim for damages done to a brewery by the Englishmen who held it during the military occupation of New York. He pleaded for the Mayor's Court to interpret state law consistent with the 1783 Treaty of Paris
which had ended the Revolutionary War.
In 1784, he founded the Bank of New York
, now the oldest ongoing banking organization in the United States. Hamilton was one of the men who restored King's College, which had been suspended since the Battle of Long Island
in 1776 and severely damaged during the War, as Columbia College
. His public career resumed when he attended the Annapolis Convention
as a delegate in 1786. While there, he drafted its resolution for a constitutional convention, and in doing so brought his longtime desire to have a more powerful, more financially independent federal government one step closer to reality.
Constitution and Federalist Papers
In 1787, Hamilton served as assemblyman from New York County in the New York State Legislature and was the first delegate chosen to the Constitutional Convention. Even though Hamilton had been a leader in calling for a new Constitutional Convention, his direct influence at the Convention itself was quite limited. Governor George Clinton
's faction in the New York legislature had chosen New York's other two delegates, John Lansing
and Robert Yates
, and both of them opposed Hamilton's goal of a strong national government. Thus, whenever the other two members of the New York delegation were present, they decided New York's vote; and when they left the convention in protest, Hamilton remained but with no vote, since two representatives were required for any state to cast a vote.
Early in the Convention he made a speech proposing a President-for-Life; it had no effect upon the deliberations of the convention. He proposed to have an elected President and elected Senators
who would serve for life, contingent upon "good behavior" and subject to removal for corruption or abuse; this idea contributed later to the hostile view of Hamilton as a monarchist sympathizer, held by James Madison
. During the convention, Hamilton constructed a draft for the Constitution based on the convention debates, but he never presented it. This draft had most of the features of the actual Constitution, including such details as the three-fifths clause. In this draft, the Senate was to be elected in proportion to the population, being two-fifths the size of the House, and the President and Senators were to be elected through complex multistage elections, in which chosen electors would elect smaller bodies of electors; they would hold office for life, but were removable for misconduct. The President would have an absolute veto
. The Supreme Court
was to have immediate jurisdiction over all law suits involving the United States, and state governors were to be appointed by the federal government.
At the end of the Convention, Hamilton was still not content with the final form of the Constitution, but signed it anyway as a vast improvement over the Articles of Confederation, and urged his fellow delegates to do so also. Since the other two members of the New York delegation, Lansing and Yates, had already withdrawn, Hamilton was the only New York signer to the United States Constitution. He then took a highly active part in the successful campaign for the document's ratification in New York in 1788, which was a crucial step in its national ratification. Hamilton recruited John Jay and James Madison to write a series of essays defending the proposed Constitution, now known as the Federalist Papers
, and made the largest contribution to that effort, writing 51 of 85 essays published (Madison wrote 29, Jay only five). Hamilton's essays and arguments were influential in New York state, and elsewhere, during the debates over ratification. The Federalist Papers are more often cited than any other primary source by jurists, lawyers, historians, and political scientists as the major contemporary interpretation of the Constitution.
In 1788, Hamilton served yet another term in what proved to be the last session of the Continental Congress
under the Articles of Confederation
. When the term of Hamilton's father-in-law Phillip Schuyler was up in 1791, elected in his place was the attorney general of New York, one Aaron Burr
. Hamilton blamed Burr for this result, and ill characterizations of Burr appear in his correspondence thereafter. The two men did work together from time to time thereafter on various projects, including Hamilton's army of 1798 and the Manhattan Water Company.
Secretary of the TreasuryPresident George Washington appointed Hamilton as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury
on September 11, 1789. He left office on the last day of January 1795. Much of the structure of the government of the United States was worked out in those five years, beginning with the structure and function of the cabinet itself. Forrest McDonald
argues that Hamilton saw his office, like that of the British First Lord of the Treasury
, as the equivalent of a Prime Minister; Hamilton would oversee his colleagues under the elective reign of George Washington. Washington did request Hamilton's advice and assistance on matters outside the purview of the Treasury Department
In the next two years, Hamilton submitted five reports:
- First Report on the Public CreditFirst Report on the Public CreditThe First Report on Public Credit was the first of three major reports on economic policy issued by American Founding Father and first United States Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton on the request of Congress. The report analyzed the financial standing of the United States of America and made...
: Communicated to the House of Representatives, January 14, 1790.
- Operations of the Act Laying Duties on Imports: Communicated to the House of Representatives, April 23, 1790.
- Second Report on Public CreditSecond Report on Public CreditThe Second Report on Public Credit was the second report of three major reports on economic policy issued by Founding Father of the United States and first United States Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton on the request of Congress for consideration on establishing a national banking system with...
– Report on a National Bank. Communicated to the House of Representatives, December 14, 1790.
- Report on the Establishment of a Mint: Communicated to the House of Representatives, January 28, 1791.
- Report on ManufacturesReport on ManufacturesThe Report on Manufactures is the third report, and magnum opus, of American Founding Father and 1st U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton...
: Communicated to the House of Representatives, December 5, 1791.
Report on Public CreditIn the Report on Public Credit, the Secretary made a controversial proposal that would have the federal government assume state debts incurred during the Revolution. This would give the federal government much more power by placing the country's most serious financial obligation in the hands of the federal government rather than the state governments.
The primary criticism of the plan was from Secretary of State
Thomas Jefferson and Representative
. Some states, such as Jefferson's Virginia, had paid almost half of their debts, and felt that their taxpayers should not be assessed again to bail out the less provident. They further argued that the plan passed beyond the scope of the new Constitutional government.
Madison objected to Hamilton's proposal to lower the rate of interest and postpone payments on federal debt as not being payment in full; he also objected to the speculative profits being made. Much of the national debt was in the form of bonds issued to Continental veterans, in place of wages the Continental Congress did not have the money to pay. As the bonds continued to go unpaid, many had been pawned for a small fraction of their value. Madison proposed to pay in full, but to divide payment between the original recipient and the present possessor. Others, such as Samuel Livermore
of New Hampshire, wished to curb speculation, and reduce taxation, by paying only part of the bond. The disagreements between Madison and Hamilton extended to other proposals Hamilton made to Congress, and drew in Jefferson when he returned from serving as minister to France. Hamilton's supporters became known as Federalists and Jefferson's as Republicans. As Madison put it:
- "I deserted Colonel Hamilton, or rather Colonel H. deserted me; in a word, the divergence between us took place from his wishing to administration, or rather to administer the Government into what he thought it ought to be..."
Hamilton eventually secured passage of his assumption plan by striking a deal with Jefferson and Madison. Hamilton would use his influence to place the permanent national capital on the Potomac River
, and Jefferson and Madison would encourage their friends to back Hamilton's assumption plan. In the end, Hamilton's assumption, together with his proposals for funding the debt, overcame legislative opposition and narrowly passed the House on July 26, 1790.
Founding the US MintHamilton helped found the United States Mint
; the first national bank
; and an elaborate system of duties, tariffs, and excises. Within five years, the complete Hamiltonian program had replaced the chaotic financial system of the Confederation era with a modern apparatus that gave the new government financial stability and investors sufficient confidence to invest in government bonds.
Revenue Cutter ServiceHamilton developed a "System of Cutters", forming the Revenue Cutter Service, (later combined with other government entities to form the United States Coast Guard
). Coast Guard vessels are still referred to as "Cutters" today.
Sources of revenueOne of the principal sources of revenue Hamilton prevailed upon Congress to approve was an excise tax on whiskey. Strong opposition to the whiskey tax by cottage producers in remote, rural regions erupted into the Whiskey Rebellion
in 1794; in Western Pennsylvania
and western Virginia
, whiskey was the basic export product and was fundamental to the local economy. In response to the rebellion, believing compliance with the laws was vital to the establishment of federal authority, Hamilton accompanied to the rebellion's site President Washington, General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, and more federal troops than were ever assembled in one place during the Revolution. This overwhelming display of force intimidated the leaders of the insurrection, ending the rebellion virtually without bloodshed.
Manufacturing and industry
In 1791, while still Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton worked in a private capacity to help found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures
, a private corporation that would use the power of the Great Falls of the Passaic River
in New Jersey to operate mills. Although the company did not succeed in its original purpose, it leased the land around the falls to other mill ventures and continued to operate for over a century and a half.
Emergence of partiesDuring Hamilton's tenure as Treasury Secretary, political factions began to emerge. A Congressional caucus, led by James Madison
and William Branch Giles
, began as an opposition group to Hamilton's financial programs, and Thomas Jefferson
joined this group when he returned from France. Hamilton and his allies began to call themselves Federalists. The opposition group, now referred to as the Democratic-Republican Party, was then known by several names, including Republicans, republicans, Jeffersonians, and Democrats.
The Federalists assembled a nationwide coalition to garner support for the Administration, including the expansive financial programs Hamilton had made Administration policy; the Democratic-Republicans built their own national coalition to oppose these Federalist programs. Both sides gained the support of local political factions; each side developed its own partisan newspapers. Noah Webster
, John Fenno
, and eventually William Cobbett
were prominent editors for the Federalists; Benjamin Franklin Bache
and Philip Freneau edited major publications for the Democratic-Republicans. Coverage by newspapers of both parties was characterized by frequent personal attacks and information of questionable veracity.
In 1801, Hamilton established a daily newspaper, the New York Evening Post under editor William Coleman
. It is now known as the New York Post
French Revolutionary warsWhen France and Britain went to war
in early 1793, all four members of the Cabinet were consulted on what to do. They unanimously agreed to remain neutral, and both Hamilton and Jefferson were major architects in working out the specific provisions that maintained and enforced that neutrality.
However, during Hamilton's last year in office, policy toward Britain became a major point of contention between the two parties. Hamilton and the Federalists wished for more trade with Britain, which would provide more revenue from tariffs; the Democratic-Republicans preferred an embargo to compel Britain to respect the rights of the United States and give up the forts it still held on American soil in contravention to the Treaty of Paris
To avoid war, Washington in late 1794 sent Chief Justice John Jay
to negotiate with the British; Hamilton helped to draw up his instructions. The result was Jay's Treaty, which, as the State Department says, "addressed few US interests, and ultimately granted Britain additional rights". The treaty was extremely unpopular, and the Democratic-Republicans opposed it for its failure to redress previous grievances and for its failure to address British violations of American neutrality during the war.
Several European nations had formed a League of Armed Neutrality
against incursions on their neutral rights; the Cabinet was also consulted on whether the United States should join it, and decided not to. It kept that decision secret, but Hamilton revealed it in private to George Hammond, the British Minister to the United States, without telling Jay or anyone else. (His act remained unknown until Hammond's dispatches were read in the 1920s). This "amazing revelation" may have had limited effect on the negotiations; Jay did threaten to join the League at one point, but the British had other reasons not to view the League as a serious threat.
AffairIn 1791, Hamilton became involved in an affair with Maria Reynolds
that badly damaged his reputation. Reynolds's complicit husband, James, blackmailed Hamilton for money by threatening to inform Hamilton's wife. When James Reynolds was arrested for counterfeiting, he contacted several prominent members of the Democratic-Republican Party, most notably James Monroe
and Aaron Burr
, touting that he could expose a top-level official for corruption. Presuming that James Reynolds could implicate Hamilton in an abuse of his position in Washington's Cabinet, they interviewed Hamilton with their suspicions. Hamilton insisted he was innocent of any misconduct in public office, but admitted to an affair with Maria Reynolds. Since this was not germane to Hamilton's conduct in office, Hamilton's interviewers did not publish about Reynolds. When rumors began spreading after his retirement, Hamilton published a confession of his affair, shocking his family and supporters by not merely confessing but also by inexplicably narrating the affair at an unexpected level of detail. This public revelation damaged Hamilton's reputation for the rest of his life.
1796 presidential electionHamilton's resignation as Secretary of the Treasury in 1795 did not remove him from public life. With the resumption of his law practice, he remained close to Washington as an advisor and friend. Hamilton influenced Washington in the composition of his Farewell Address
; Washington and members of his Cabinet often consulted with him.
In the election of 1796, under the Constitution as it stood then, each of the presidential electors had two votes, which they were to cast for different men. The one who received most votes would become President, the second-most, Vice President. This system was not designed with the operation of parties in mind, as they had been thought disreputable and factious. The Federalists planned to deal with this by having all their Electors vote for John Adams
, the Vice President, and all but a few for Thomas Pinckney
of South Carolina
(who was on his way home from being Minister to Spain, where he had negotiated a popular treaty); Jefferson chose Aaron Burr as his vice presidential running mate.
Adams resented Hamilton's influence with Washington and considered him overambitious and scandalous in his private life; Hamilton compared Adams unfavorably with Washington and thought him too emotionally unstable to be President. Hamilton took the election as an opportunity: he urged all the northern electors to vote for Adams and Pinckney, lest Jefferson get in; but he cooperated with Edward Rutledge
to have South Carolina's electors vote for Jefferson and Pinckney. If all this worked, Pinckney would have more votes than Adams, Pinckney would become President, and Adams would remain Vice President; but it did not work. The Federalists found out about it (even the French minister to the United States knew), and northern Federalists voted for Adams but not for Pinckney, in sufficient numbers that Pinckney came in third and Jefferson became Vice President. Adams resented the intrigue, since he felt his service to the nation was much more extensive than Pinckney's.
Quasi-WarDuring the Quasi-War
of 1798–1800, and with Washington's strong endorsement, Adams reluctantly appointed Hamilton a major general
of the army (essentially placing him in command, since Washington could no longer leave Mt. Vernon). If full-scale war broke out with France, Hamilton argued that the army should conquer the North American colonies of France's ally, Spain, bordering the United States.
To fund this army, Hamilton had been writing incessantly to Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
, his successor at the Treasury; William Loughton Smith
, of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Senator Theodore Sedgwick
of Massachusetts. He directed them to pass a direct tax to fund the war. Smith resigned in July 1797, as Hamilton scolded him for slowness, and told Wolcott to tax houses instead of land.
The eventual program included a Stamp Act
like that of the British before the Revolution and other taxes on land, houses, and slaves, calculated at different rates in different states, and requiring difficult and intricate assessment of houses. This provoked resistance in southeastern Pennsylvania, led primarily by men who had marched with Washington against the Whiskey Rebellion, such as John Fries.
Hamilton aided in all areas of the army's development, and officially served as the Senior Officer of the United States Army
as a Major General from December 14, 1799, to June 15, 1800. The army was to guard against invasion from France. Hamilton also suggested that its strategy involve marching into the possessions of Spain, then allied with France, and potentially even taking Louisiana
and Mexico. His correspondence further suggests that when he returned in military glory, he dreamed of setting up a properly energetic government, without any Jeffersonians. Adams, however, derailed all plans for war by opening negotiations with France. Adams had also held it proper to retain the members of Washington's cabinet, except for cause; he found, in 1800 (after Washington's death), that they were obeying Hamilton rather than himself, and fired several of them.
1800 presidential election
In November 1799, the Alien and Sedition Acts
had left one Democratic-Republican newspaper functioning in New York City; when the last one, the New Daily Advertiser, reprinted an article saying that Hamilton had attempted to purchase the Philadelphia Aurora and close it down, Hamilton had the publisher prosecuted for seditious libel
, and the prosecution compelled Mr. Greenleaf to close it.
Aaron Burr had won New York for Jefferson in May; Hamilton proposed a rerun of the election under different rules, with carefully drawn districts, each choosing an elector, so that the Federalists would split the electoral vote of New York. John Jay, a Federalist, who had given up the Supreme Court to be Governor of New York, wrote on the back of the letter the words, "Proposing a measure for party purposes which it would not become me to adopt," and declined to reply.
John Adams was running this time with Thomas Pinckney's elder brother Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
. Hamilton, however, toured New England
, again urging northern electors to hold firm for this Pinckney, in the renewed hope of making Pinckney President; and he again intrigued in South Carolina. This time, the important reaction was from the Jeffersonian electors, all of whom voted both for Jefferson and Burr to ensure that no such deal would result in electing a Federalist. (Burr had received only one vote from Virginia in 1796.)
In September, Hamilton wrote a pamphlet called Letter from Alexander Hamilton, Concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq. President of the United States that was highly critical of Adams, though it closed with a tepid endorsement. He mailed this to two hundred leading Federalists; when a copy fell into the Democratic-Republicans' hands, they printed it. This hurt Adams's 1800 reelection campaign and split the Federalist Party, virtually assuring the victory of the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Jefferson, in the election of 1800; it destroyed Hamilton's position among the Federalists.
On the Federalist side, Governor Arthur Fenner
of Rhode Island denounced these "jockeying tricks" to make Pinckney President, and one Rhode Island elector voted for Adams and Jay. Jefferson and Burr tied for first and second; Pinckney came in fourth.
Jefferson had beaten Adams, but both he and his running mate, Aaron Burr, had received 73 votes in the Electoral College. With Jefferson and Burr tied, the United States House of Representatives had to choose between the two men. (As a result of this election, the Twelfth Amendment
was proposed and ratified, adopting the method under which presidential elections are held today.) Several Federalists who opposed Jefferson supported Burr, and for the first 35 ballots, Jefferson was denied a majority. Before the 36th ballot, Hamilton threw his weight behind Jefferson, supporting the arrangement reached by James A. Bayard
of Delaware, in which five Federalist Representatives from Maryland and Vermont abstained from voting, allowing those states' delegations to go for Jefferson, ending the impasse and electing Jefferson President
rather than Burr. Even though Hamilton did not like Jefferson and disagreed with him on many issues, he was quoted as saying, "At least Jefferson was honest." Hamilton felt that Burr was dangerous. Burr then became Vice President of the United States
. When it became clear that he would not be asked to run again with Jefferson, Burr sought the New York governorship in 1804 with Federalist support, against the Jeffersonian Morgan Lewis
, but was defeated by forces including Hamilton.
In 1801, Hamilton announced his intention to withdraw from the Federalist Party if Burr became its presidential candidate in 1804. In 1802, he began to organize "The Christian Constitutional Society", the first principle of which, even before supporting the Constitution, was "the support of the Christian religion".
, greatly assisted by Hamilton, defeated Aaron Burr
—the Albany Register published Charles D. Cooper
's letters, citing Hamilton's opposition to Burr and alleging that Hamilton had expressed "a still more despicable opinion" of the Vice President at an upstate New York dinner party. Burr, sensing an attack on his honor, and surely still stung by his political defeat, demanded an apology. Hamilton refused because he could not recall the instance.
Following an exchange of three testy letters, and despite attempts of friends to avert a confrontation, a duel was scheduled for July 11, 1804, along the west bank of the Hudson River
on a rocky ledge in Weehawken
, New Jersey. This was the same dueling site at which Hamilton's eldest son, Philip, had been killed three years earlier.
At dawn, the duel began, and Vice President Aaron Burr shot Hamilton. Hamilton's shot broke a tree branch directly above Burr's head. A letter that he wrote the night before the duel states, "I have resolved, if our interview [duel] is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire", thus asserting an intention to miss Burr. The circumstances of the duel, and Hamilton's actual intentions, are still disputed. Neither of the seconds, Pendleton or Van Ness, could determine who fired first. Soon after, they measured and triangulated the shooting, but could not determine from which angle Hamilton fired. Burr's shot, however, hit Hamilton in the lower abdomen above the right hip. The bullet ricocheted off Hamilton's second or third false rib
, fracturing it and caused considerable damage to his internal organs, particularly his liver
before becoming lodged in his first or second lumbar vertebra
. Chernow considers the circumstances to indicate that Burr fired second, after having taken deliberate aim.
If a duelist decided not to aim at his opponent there was a well-known procedure, available to everyone involved, for doing so. According to Freeman, Hamilton apparently did not follow this procedure; if he had, Burr might have followed suit, and Hamilton's death might have been avoided. It was a matter of honor among gentlemen to follow these rules. Because of the high incidence of septicemia and death resulting from torso wounds, a high percentage of duels employed this procedure of throwing away fire. Years later, when told that Hamilton may have misled him at the duel, the ever-laconic Burr replied, "Contemptible, if true."
The paralyzed Hamilton, who knew himself to be mortally wounded, was ferried back to New York. After final visits from his family and friends and considerable suffering, Hamilton died on the following afternoon, July 12, 1804. Gouverneur Morris
, a political ally of Hamilton's, gave the eulogy at his funeral and secretly established a fund to support his widow and children. Hamilton was buried in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery in Manhattan
Another of Hamilton's legacies was his pro-federal interpretation of the US Constitution. Though the Constitution was drafted in a way that was somewhat ambiguous as to the balance of power between national and state governments, Hamilton consistently took the side of greater federal power at the expense of the states. As Secretary of the Treasury, he established—against the intense opposition of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson—the country's first national bank. Hamilton justified the creation of this bank, and other increased federal powers, under Congress's constitutional powers to issue currency, to regulate interstate commerce, and to do anything else that would be "necessary and proper". Jefferson, on the other hand, took a stricter view of the Constitution: parsing the text carefully, he found no specific authorization for a national bank. This controversy was eventually settled by the Supreme Court of the United States
in McCulloch v. Maryland
, which in essence adopted Hamilton's view, granting the federal government broad freedom to select the best means to execute its constitutionally enumerated powers, specifically the doctrine of implied powers
Hamilton's policies as Secretary of the Treasury greatly affected the United States government and still continue to influence it. In 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis
, the United States Navy
was still using intership communication protocols written by Hamilton for the Revenue Cutter Service. His constitutional interpretation, specifically of the Necessary and Proper Clause, set precedents for federal authority that are still used by the courts and are considered an authority on constitutional interpretation. The prominent French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, who spent 1794 in the United States, wrote, "I consider Napoleon
, and Hamilton the three greatest men of our epoch, and if I were forced to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation the first place to Hamilton", adding that Hamilton had intuited the problems of European conservatives. Talleyrand, who helped demolish the First French Republic, would have preferred to have a coalition of European monarchies curtail the solitary republicanism of the United States, which would permit the peaceful recreation of the French colonial empire of Louis XIV; he believed himself and Hamilton in general agreement.
Opinions of Hamilton have run the gamut: both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson viewed him as unprincipled and dangerously aristocratic. Aaron Burr
and Hamilton became personal enemies. Herbert Croly
, Henry Cabot Lodge
, and Theodore Roosevelt
directed attention to him at the end of the 19th century in the interest of an active federal government, whether or not supported by tariffs. Several nineteenth- and twentieth-century Republicans
entered politics by writing laudatory biographies of Hamilton.
By the time of the American Civil War
, Hamilton's portrait began to appear on US currency, including the $2, $5, $10, and $50 notes. His likeness also began to appear on US postage in 1870. His portrait has continued to appear on US postage and currency, and most notably appears on the modern $10 bill. Hamilton also appears on the $500 Series EE Savings Bond. The source of the face on the $10 bill is John Trumbull
's 1805 portrait of Hamilton, in the portrait collection of New York City Hall
. On the south side of the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C.
is a statue of Hamilton.
On March 19, 1956, the United States Postal Service
issued the $5 Liberty Issue
Hamilton's upper Manhattan
home is preserved as Hamilton Grange National Memorial
. The historic structure, already removed from its original location many years ago, was moved again in 2008 to a spot in a park on land that was once part of the Hamilton estate. It was restored and reopened to the public in 2011.
Many towns throughout the United States have been named after Hamilton.
FamilyHamilton's widow, Elizabeth
(known as Eliza or Betsy), survived him for fifty years, until 1854; Hamilton referred to her as the "best of wives and best of women". An extremely religious woman, Eliza spent much of her life working to help widows and orphans. After Hamilton's death, Eliza sold the country house, the Grange
, that she and Hamilton had built together from 1800 to 1802. She co-founded New York's first private orphanage, the New York Orphan Asylum Society. Despite the Reynolds affair, Alexander and Eliza were very close, and as a widow she always strove to guard his reputation and enhance his standing in American history.
Hamilton and Elizabeth had eight children, including two named Phillip. The elder Philip, Hamilton's first child (born January 22, 1782), was killed in 1801 in a duel with George I. Eacker, whom he had publicly insulted in a Manhattan theater. The second Philip, Hamilton's last child, was born on June 2, 1802, right after the first Philip was killed. Their other children were Angelica, born September 25, 1784; Alexander
, born May 16, 1796; James Alexander
(April 14, 1788 – September 1878); John Church
, born August 22, 1792; William Stephen
, born August 4, 1797; and Eliza, born November 26, 1799.
On slaveryRob Weston has described modern scholarly views on Hamilton's attitude to slavery as viewing Hamilton as anything from a "steadfast abolitionist" to a "hypocrite"; Weston's view is that he was deeply ambivalent. Nevertheless, he attended meetings of the New York Manumission Society
Hamilton's first polemic against King George's ministers contains a paragraph that speaks of the evils that "slavery" to the British would bring upon the Americans. McDonald sees this as an attack on actual slavery; such rhetoric was quite common in 1776, and varied from the stand that slavery was wrong for free-born Americans of British descent to a recognition of the evils of black slavery.
During the Revolutionary War, there was a series of proposals to arm slaves, free them, and compensate their masters. In 1779, Hamilton's friend John Laurens
suggested that such a unit be formed, under his command, to relieve besieged Charleston
, South Carolina; Hamilton proposed to the Continental Congress to create up to four battalions of slaves for combat duty, and free them. Congress recommended that South Carolina (and Georgia) acquire up to three thousand slaves, if they saw fit; they did not, even though the South Carolina governor and Congressional delegation had supported the plan in Philadelphia.
Hamilton argued that blacks' natural faculties were as good as those of free whites, and he answered objections by citing Frederick the Great and others as praising stupidity in soldiers; he argued that if the Americans did not do this, the British would (as they had elsewhere). One of his biographers has cited this incident as evidence that Hamilton and Laurens saw the Revolution and the struggle against slavery as inseparable.
Hamilton later attacked his political opponents as demanding freedom for themselves and refusing to allow it to blacks.
In January 1785, he attended the second meeting of the New York Manumission Society
(NYMS). John Jay
was president and Hamilton was secretary; he later became president. He was a member of the committee of the society that put a bill through the New York Legislature banning the export of slaves from New York; however, three months later, Hamilton returned a fugitive slave to Henry Laurens
of South Carolina.
Hamilton never supported forced emigration for freed slaves; it has been argued from this that he would be comfortable with a multiracial society, and that this distinguished him from his contemporaries. In international affairs, he supported Toussaint L'Ouverture
's black government in Haiti
after the revolt that overthrew French control, as he had supported aid to the slaveowners in 1791—both measures hurt France.
Hamilton may have owned household slaves himself (the evidence for this is indirect; McDonald interprets it as referring to paid employees). He supported a gag rule
to keep divisive discussions of slavery out of Congress, and he supported the compromise by which the United States could not abolish the slave trade for 20 years. When the Quakers of New York petitioned the First Congress
(under the Constitution) for the abolition of the slave trade, and Benjamin Franklin
and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society petitioned for the abolition of slavery, the NYMS did not act.
On economicsAlexander Hamilton is sometimes considered the "patron saint
" of the American School
of economic philosophy that, according to one historian, dominated economic policy after 1861. He firmly supported government intervention in favor of business, after the manner of Jean-Baptiste Colbert
, as early as the fall of 1781.
Hamilton opposed the British ideas of free trade
, which he believed skewed benefits to colonial and imperial powers, in favor of US protectionism
, which he believed would help develop the fledgling nation's emerging economy.
Henry C. Carey was inspired by his writings. Some say he influenced the ideas and work of the German Friedrich List
From the 1860s onwards members of Japan's Meiji leadership, after touring America's post-Civil War political and industrial landscape, embraced Hamilton's words and work as being applicable to their own need to modernize. Within the Grant Administration they found Hamiltonian advocates who opened up American financial and manufacturing operations for Japanese inspection. The Meiji leadership sent their sons to study American finance and industry in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and other centers of commerce. These Japanese leaders found Hamilton's words and work also being used by Bismarck's administration in Germany, having been brought to Germany by Friedrich List in the 1840s after List had spent time in exile in Philadelphia. Later Hamilton's reports to Congress could be found in libraries not only in Japan but in Taiwan and Korea, after they came under the colonial rule of Meiji Japan. Post-1945 leaders in both countries (i.e., South Korea) used Hamilton's Report on Credit to establish their own modern financial systems [Austin. 2009].
Hamilton's religionDuring much of his life, Hamilton remained quite religious. Biographer Ron Chernow argues that this was the source of his aggressive abolitionism. Hamilton, as a youth in the West Indies, was an orthodox and conventional Presbyterian of the "New School" evangelical type (as opposed to the "Old School" Calvinists); he was being taught by a student of John Witherspoon
, a moderate of the New School. He wrote two or three hymns, which were published in the local newspaper. Robert Troup, his college roommate, noted that Hamilton was "in the habit of praying on his knees night and morning."
From 1777 to 1792, Hamilton appears to have been completely indifferent, and made jokes about God at the Constitutional Convention. During the French Revolution, he had an "opportunistic religiosity", using Christianity for political ends and insisting that Christianity and Jefferson's democracy were incompatible. After his misfortunes of 1801, Hamilton further asserted the truth of Christianity; he also proposed a Christian Constitutional Society in 1802, to take hold of "some strong feeling of the mind" to elect "fit men" to office, and he wrote of "Christian welfare societies" for the poor. He was not a member of any denomination. After being shot, Hamilton spoke of his belief in God's mercy, and of his desire to renounce dueling; Bishop Moore administered communion to Hamilton.
Hamilton on US postageThe first postage stamp to honor Hamilton was issued by the US Post Office in 1870. The portrayals on the 1870 and 1888 issues are from the same engraved die, which was modeled after a bust of Hamilton by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi
The Hamilton 1870 issue was the first US Postage stamp to honor a Secretary of the Treasury. The 3-cent red commemorative issue, which was released on the 200th anniversary of Hamilton's birth in 1957, includes a rendition of the Federal Hall building, located in New York City.
Memorial at collegesAlexander Hamilton served as one of the first trustees of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy in New York state. When the Academy received a college charter in 1812, the school was formally renamed Hamilton College. There is a prominent statue of Alexander Hamilton in front of the school's chapel (commonly referred to as the "Al-Ham" statue) and the Burke Library has an extensive collection of Hamilton's personal documents.
, Hamilton's alma mater, has official memorials to Hamilton on its campus in New York City. The college's main classroom building for the humanities is Hamilton Hall
, and a large statue of Hamilton stands in front of it. The university press
has published his complete works in a multivolume letterpress edition. Columbia University's student group for ROTC cadets and Marine officer candidates is named the Alexander Hamilton Society.
The main administration building of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, is named Hamilton Hall to commemorate Hamilton's creation of the United States Revenue Cutter Service
, one of the predecessor services of the United States Coast Guard
- Adams, Henry. History of the United States of America under the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson. Library of AmericaLibrary of AmericaThe Library of America is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature.- Overview and history :Founded in 1979 with seed money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, the LoA has published over 200 volumes by a wide range of authors from Mark Twain to Philip...
, 1986, ISBN 978-0-521-32483-0.
- Elkins, Stanley, and Eric McKitrick. Age of Federalism. New York: Oxford University PressOxford University PressOxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...
, 1993. online edition
- Ambrose, Douglas, and Robert W. T. Martin, eds. The Many Faces of Alexander Hamilton: The Life & Legacy of America's Most Elusive Founding Father . 2006.
- Brookhiser, Richard. Alexander Hamilton, American. Free Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-684-83919-6.
- Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN 978-1-59420-009-0. (Full-length, detailed biography)
- Ellis, Joseph J. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary GenerationFounding Brothers: The Revolutionary GenerationFounding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation is a Pulitzer Prize–winning book written by Joseph Ellis, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College...
. 2002. (Won Pulitzer PrizePulitzer PrizeThe Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...
- Ellis, Joseph J. His Excellency: George Washington. 2004.
- Fleming, ThomasThomas Fleming (historian)Thomas James Fleming is an American military historian and historical novelist.-Biography:Thomas Fleming was born in 1927 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is a historian and novelist with a special interest in the American Revolution....
. Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Future of America. 2000, ISBN 978-0-465-01737-9.
- Flexner, James Thomas. The Young Hamilton: A Biography. Fordham University Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8232-1790-8.
- McDonald, Forrest. Alexander Hamilton: A Biography. 1982, ISBN 978-0-393-30048-2. (Biography focused on intellectual history, especially on AH's republicanism)
- Miller, John C. Alexander Hamilton: Portrait in Paradox. 1959. (Full-length, detailed biography) online edition
- Mitchell, Broadus. Alexander Hamilton. 2 vols. 1957–62. (Full-length, detailed biography; also published in abridged edition)
- Randall, Willard Sterne. Alexander Hamilton: A Life. HarperCollins, 2003, ISBN 978-0-06-019549-6. (Popular)
- Winslow, Don. Alexander Hamilton: In Worlds Unknown. (Script and Film New-York Historical SocietyNew-York Historical SocietyThe New-York Historical Society is an American history museum and library located in New York City at the corner of 77th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. Founded in 1804 as New York's first museum, the New-York Historical Society presents exhibitions, public programs and research that...
Specialized studiesA one-volume recasting of Brant's six-volume life. Full-length, detailed biography.. Four volumes, with various subtitles, cited as "Flexner, Washington". Vol. IV. ISBN 9780316286022. A review of the evidence on Newburgh; despite the title, Kohn is doubtful that a coup d'état was ever seriously attempted. First volume of two, but this contains Hamilton's lifetime. Survey of politics in 1790s. An undergraduate paper, which concludes that Hamilton was ambivalent about slavery. Coverage of how the Treasury and other departments were created and operated. The most recent synthesis of the era.
- Cooke, Jacob E., ed. Alexander Hamilton: A Profile. 1967. (Short excerpts from AH and his critics)
- Cunningham, Noble E. Jefferson vs. Hamilton: Confrontations that Shaped a Nation. 2000. (Short collection of primary sources, with commentary)
- Federalist PapersFederalist PapersThe Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788...
. Under the shared pseudonym "Publius". By Alexander Hamilton (c. 52 articles), James MadisonJames MadisonJames Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...
(28 articles), and John JayJohn JayJohn Jay was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, and the first Chief Justice of the United States ....
- Freeman, Joanne B., ed. Alexander Hamilton: Writings. 2001, ISBN 978-1-931082-04-4. The Library of America edition, 1108 pages. (All of Hamilton's major writings and many of his letters)
- Frisch, Morton J., ed. Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton. 1985.
- Goebel, Julius, Jr., and Joseph H. Smith, eds. The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton. 5 vols. Columbia University Press, 1964–80. (The legal counterpart to The Papers of Alexander Hamilton)
- Lodge, Henry Cabot, ed. The Works of Alexander Hamilton. 10 vols. 1904. full text online at Google Books online in HTML edition. (The only online collection of Hamilton's writings and letters, containing about 1.3 million words)
- Morris, Richard, ed. Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation. 1957. (Excerpts from AH's writings)
- Report on ManufacturesReport on ManufacturesThe Report on Manufactures is the third report, and magnum opus, of American Founding Father and 1st U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton...
. (AH's economic program for the United States)
- Report on Public Credit. (AH's financial program for the United States)
- Syrett, Harold C., Jacob E. Cooke, and Barbara Chernow, eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. Columbia University Press, 1961–87. (Includes all letters and writings by Hamilton, and all important letters written to him; this is the definitive edition of Hamilton's works, intensively annotated)
- Taylor, George Rogers, ed. Hamilton and the National Debt. 1950. (Excerpts from all sides in 1790s)
- Alexander Hamilton on PBS' American Experience
- Alexander Hamilton: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress
- New-York Historical Society's Alexander Hamilton Exhibit
- Hamilton's Report on Manufactures (Columbia University Press)
- Hamilton's Congressional biography
- Alexander Hamilton: Debate over a National Bank (February 23, 1791)
- Alexander Hamilton by Henry Cabot LodgeHenry Cabot LodgeHenry Cabot "Slim" Lodge was an American Republican Senator and historian from Massachusetts. He had the role of Senate Majority leader. He is best known for his positions on Meek policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles...
- Alexander Hamilton's Plan of Government
- Hamilton Grange National Memorial
- Reenactment of the Burr–Hamilton duel on July 12, 2004
- Alexander Hamilton and the National Triumph of New York City A WNET video lecture; overview of Hamilton's career