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Alexander Hamilton (1) [1755–1804]

This page covers the author of The Federalist Papers.

For other authors named Alexander Hamilton, see the disambiguation page.

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Alexander Hamilton has 1 media appearance.

Jan
21
Alexander Hamilton
Booknotes, Sunday, January 21, 2001
Alexander Hamilton discusses The Federalist Papers.

The series of essays that comprise The Federalist constitutes one of the key texts of the American Revolution and the democratic system created in the wake of independence. Written in 1787 and 1788 by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to promote the ratification of the proposed Constitution, these papers stand as perhaps the most eloquent testimonial to democracy that exists. They describe the ideas behind the American system of government: the separation of powers; the organization of Congress; the respective positions of the executive, legislative, and judiciary; and much more. The Federalist remains essential reading for anyone interested in politics and government, and indeed for anyone seeking a foundational statement about democracy and America. This new edition of The Federalist is edited by Robert Scigliano, a professor in the political science department at Boston College. His substantive Introduction sheds clarifying new light on the historical context and meaning of The Federalist. Scigliano also provides a fresh and definitive analysis of the disputed authorship of several sections of this crucial work. —from the publisher (timspalding)… (more)
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Short biography
Alexander Hamilton was born on the island of Nevis in the British West Indies. His parents, a married Frenchwoman and a Scottish trader, lived together for a while after Hamilton was born. When Hamilton was a small child, his father abandoned the family, leaving them in poverty. He got his first job at age 11 as a clerk in an accounting firm. His employer, thinking Hamilton a promising boy, sent him to the British colony of America for an education when he was 15. In 1773, he arrived alone in New York City and enrolled in King's College (later Columbia University). He wrote his first political article to defend the cause of American self-rule from the British. He dropped out of school before graduating at the start of the Revolutionary War. He joined the New York militia and fought in the battles of Long Island, White Plains and Trenton.

In 1777, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Continental Army. During his early service in the army, he caught the attention of General George Washington, who made Hamilton his chief aide and adviser. Around this time, he married Elizabeth Schuyler, from an affluent New York family.
After studying law and passing the bar exam, in 1783 he set up a law practice in New York City. Hamilton believed that the Articles of Confederation, the new USA's first, informal constitution, was inadequate, and that a strong central government was the key to achieving true independence and freedom. In 1787, he served as a New York delegate to the Constitutional Convention; although he did not have a large role in writing the Constitution, he heavily influenced its eventual ratification by writing 51 of 85 persuasive essays in its favor under the collective title The Federalist (later known as The Federalist Papers), along with James Madison and John Jay. After George Washington was elected president of the USA in 1789, he appointed Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton stepped down in 1795, after helping establish a more centralized federal government and a stronger economy, but remained active in public and political affairs. It was in an argument over politics that Vice President Aaron Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel and killed him.

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