|Education:||Kings College, New York|
|Religion||Presbyterian, Episcopalian (convert)|
|Born||January 11, 1755|
|Died||July 12, 1804 (aged 49)|
"May our Government never fall a prey to the dreams of a Condorcet, nor to the vices of a Cataline."- "May our Government never fall prey to the dreams of a Liberal, nor the vices of a democrat"
Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Appointed by George Washington upon inauguration, he started the excise tax, tariff, and National Bank of the US. He worked to strengthen the federal structure of the United States and helped the United States to succeed commercially.
He can be said to be the father of American Capitalism, as well as father of American Party Politics, perhaps even the progenitor of the modern Republican Party. On the other hand, we of the left might see the man who tried to strangle Liberalism in its cradle, and the man who so nearly succeeded that we've spent the last two hundred and twenty plus years trying to undo his mischief. Hamilton is featured on the US $10 Dollar bill.
The television series John Adams and the book The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South portrays him as a power-hungry madman.
Racism and slavery
Alexander Hamilton was ahead of his time in recognizing that slavery is evil and that racism is irrational. In 1785, Hamilton suggested gradual emancipation of slaves.
If he had survived perhaps the curse of slavery in the south wouldn’t have happened and the American Civil War wouldn’t have happened either.
On the other hand, Hamilton was a leader of a faction which promoted maintenance of hereditary aristocracy, so Hamilton would have had no problem with freedmen, but couldn't have imagined them in his society. Hamilton's rival, Aaron Burr by contrast actively supported the immediate elimination of slavery, promoted Feminism, and worked to achieve equal rights under law rather than giving those principles mere lip-service. Hamilton's machinations against Burr led to Hamilton's death and probably set back Civil rights.
Alexander Hamilton, was in some ways the prototypical New York Financier. He was a Federalist, a member of the group of early American politicians who supported a strong Federal Government and maintenance of the former class based order. Hamilton became, in many ways, the leader of a faction which was opposed by those people who wished a more limited and populist government as envisioned by George Mason and others, who became known initially as anti-Federalists. Hamilton, in some ways replaced George Mason as recipient of the friendship and support of the USA's first great leader, and most influential citizen, George Washington. In some sense, Hamilton became the leader of the new Republic. Whether we believe Hamilton was Revolutionary or counter-Revolutionary depends on point-of-view.
Anglophile and Monarchist
Hamilton proposed Life time tenure for President and Senators in the Constitutional Convention. He advocated and later promoted a two-tier legal system, one tier for aristocrats and another for commoners. He saw the British System of government as the ideal. Hamilton was an active promoter British over French interest, despite the new country's alliance with France. Hamilton's political machinations in the electoral college affected several early presidential elections, and led to a Constitutional Crisis. His subversion of John Adams' cabinet led to a second Constitutional Crisis. Concern for Hamilton's actions probably led to the 12th Amendment, and he may have been a primary reason for proposal of the original un-ratified 13th Amendment.
Hamilton was not only a supporter of the British system of government, but also a strong advocate of British over French interest in the new Republic. The emerging Hamilton faction in the new government was able to negotiate the Jay Treaty with Britain while ignoring the existing treaty with France. This shift of allegiance added tension in the new administration. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had been Ambassador to France and opposed the Jay Treaty.
In 1784, Alexander Hamilton obtained a charter for the Bank of New York. Using investment of the Rothschild family, the Bank of New York joined by the New York branch of The First Bank of the United States, existed as the Monopoly banking institutions in New York until Aaron Burr obtained a charter for the Manhattan Company to deliver clean Water to New York and perform other services in New York in 1799. Competing bankers had been unable to obtain charters for any other bank in the city until this time, and many anti-Federalists had been unable to obtain financial service. The Manhattan Company was only able to obtain a charter which allowed it to perform banking duties because Aaron Burr hid the true intent of his company in a carefully worded charter that was not understood by the legislature which granted the charter, and with the aid of Hamilton (Hamilton's brother-in-law was one of the original board members). The Manhattan Company's banking ended BoNY's legal monopoly. BoNY evolved into Bank of New York Mellon. The Manhattan Company evolved into JP Morgan Chase & Company.
In 1791, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, with Rothschild support, was able to obtain a federal charter for the First Bank of The United States. Anti-Federalists and others opposed the granting of FBoUS's charter, and FBoUS's charter was revoked in 1811. One Conspiracy theory asserts that the War of 1812 was punishment of the United States for revoking the charter.
Hamilton on Taxation
As Secretary of the Treasury for the New federal government, Alexander Hamilton spent much effort in securing the funds necessary to pay the nation's War debts and operating expenses. Alexander Hamilton was a strong believer in consumption taxes and tariffs, which have a disproportionate impact on common people while protecting business interests. Hamilton's tax policies, though, went beyond merely taxing the poor and working-class. Hamilton was a staunch advocate of government grants of trade monopoly, and taxation which was truly regressive, as his proposal that the whiskey tax be levied at a higher rate for small producers than for large producers. At the time, many small farmers on the frontier converted excess crops to whiskey in order to lessen the cost of transportation of their cash crop to market. Furthermore, whiskey had become an important commodity used in barter in areas lacking adequate specie, in direct conflict to Hamilton's banking interests. The newly imposed whiskey tax, and it's heavy impact on the economic interests of common men particularly in frontier areas led to the Whiskey Rebellion, an early insurrection which required President Washington's direct intervention at the head of the National Army to suppress. Hamilton may have anticipated this reaction by taxpayers and advocated the imposition of the hated whiskey tax as a means of provoking confrontation in order to have the excuse to exercise Federal authority and advocate the strengthening of a standing Federal Army. In a later case of regressive taxation, Hamilton advocated a property tax based on residences, rather than upon total property.
On July 11, 1804, Hamilton was fatally shot during a duel by his rival, Vice President Aaron Burr. Burr's shot entered Hamilton's abdomen and lodged in his spine, paralyzing him. After being examined by Dr. David Hosack, the same doctor who attended his late 19-year-old son, Phillip, the wounded Hamilton was taken back to New York, where he lingered in pain for 31 hours at his friend's boarding house until he finally died the next day on July 12, 1804.
Recent investigation of the weapons used in the duel suggest former Senior Officer of the United States Army, retired Major General Hamilton may have selected these weapons to give himself an ungentlemanly advantage in the confrontation. The weapons had an unusual balance, larger than standard bore, and secret hair trigger.
Fun Fact: ?
There's an old story that the George and Martha Washington owned a cat of which they were very fond. The cat, a Tom which was infamous for it's promiscuity, was named "Hamilton".