The Powerful and Principled Alexander Hamilton

By Dave Caplan

One of the founding fathers of the United States, Alexander Hamilton, was born January 11, 1755, on the island of Nevis in the British West Indies. Hamilton was one of the most influential and brilliant immigrants to make his way to America. Here in New York City he attended King’s College, today known as Colombia University. He also served as an officer during the American Revolution.

A believer in a strong central government, Hamilton was a fierce promoter of the US Constitution and equally adept at its interpretation. Hamilton was successful in arguing that the implied powers of the constitution could create government owned banks, assume state debt and fund the national debt.

Alexander Hamilton (1757 - 1804)
Alexander Hamilton (1757 – 1804)

Hamilton enjoyed a colorful and powerful career which included being the first Secretary of the Treasurer in Washington’s administration. His influence led to the establishment of a national bank system and friendly trade relations with Great Britain. Hamilton also founded the Bank of New York.

Today he is probably best known for being on the front of a US ten dollar bill and for the dramatic events that led to his death. Hamilton’s greatest political adversary was Aaron Burr. When Burr and Thomas Jefferson were tied in Electoral College votes for the Presidency Hamilton helped Jefferson defeat Burr. Burr would later run for Governor in Hamilton’s home state of New York and again Hamilton’s power and influence prevented a Burr victory. Hamilton considered Burr to be unprincipled. Fed up with Hamilton’s comments and opinions Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. At dawn On July 11th 1804 the two met in Weehawken, New Jersey on a rocky ledge next to the Hudson River. Hamilton fired first and grazed a branch above Burr’s head. Burr fired and hit Hamilton in the abdomen. He died a day later at a friend’s house in Greenwich Village surrounded by family and friends. He is buried at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan.

Last week’s trivia answer-Bellevue Hospital

Last week’s mystery photo – Grand Central Terminal

Trivia question – Where does the NYC Marathon begin?

This week’s mystery photo below:

Mystery Photo

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