- NAME: Alexander Hamilton
- OCCUPATION: Economist, Lawyer, Military Leader, Political Scientist, Journalist, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: c. January 11, 1755
- DEATH DATE: July 12, 1804
- EDUCATION: King's College, Columbia University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Nevis, British West Indies (Caribbean Islands)
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- Full Name: Alexander Hamilton
Best Known For
Alexander Hamilton, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and major author of the Federalist papers, was the United States' first secretary of the treasury.
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Around the same time, Hamilton married Elisabeth Schuyler, who was from an affluent New York family.
Growing restless in his desk job, in 1781, Hamilton convinced Washington to let him taste some action on the battlefield. With Washington's permission, Hamilton led a victorious charge against the British in the Battle of Yorktown. Cornwallis's surrender during this battle would eventually lead to two major negotiations in 1783: the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Great Britain,
and two treaties signed at Versailles between France and Britain and Spain (not to be confused with the 1919 peace treaty ending World War I). These treaties and several others comprise the collection of peace agreements known as Peace of Paris, officially marking the end of the American Revolutionary War.
While serving as an adviser for George Washington, Hamilton had come to realize Congress' weaknesses, including jealousy and resentment between states, which, Hamilton believed, stemmed from the Articles of Confederation. (He believed that the Articles -- considered America's first, informal constitution -- separated rather than unified the nation.) Hamilton left his adviser post in 1782, convinced that establishing a strong central government was the key to achieving America's independence. It would not be the last time that Hamilton worked for the U.S. Army.
In 1789, Hamilton was appointed inspector general and second in command, as America geared up for a potential war with France. In 1800, Hamilton's military career came to a sudden halt when America and France reached a peace agreement.
After Hamilton left his position as an adviser to George Washington to study law. After completing a short apprenticeship and passing the bar, he established a practice in New York City. The majority of Hamilton's first clients were the widely unpopular British Loyalists, who continued to pledge their allegiance to the King of England. When British forces took power over New York State in 1776, many New York rebels fled the area, and British Loyalists, many of whom had traveled from other states and were seeking protection during this time, began to occupy the abandoned homes and businesses.
When the Revolutionary War ended, nearly a decade later, many rebels returned to find their homes occupied, and sued Loyalists for compensation (for using and/or damaging their property). Hamilton defended Loyalists against the rebels.
In 1784, Hamilton took on the Rutgers v. Waddington case, which involved the rights of Loyalists. It was a landmark case for the American justice system, as it led to the creation of the judicial review system. He accomplished another history-making feat that same year, when he assisted in founding the Bank of New York. In defending the Loyalists, Hamilton instituted new principles of due process.
Hamilton went on to take an additional 45 trespass cases, and proved to be instrumental in the eventual repeal of the Trespass Act, which had been established in 1783 to permit rebels to collect damages from the Loyalists who had occupied their homes and businesses.
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