- 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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Hamilton stepped down from his position as secretary of the treasury in 1795, leaving behind a far more secure U.S. economy to back a strengthened federal government.
During the 1800 presidential elections, Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic Republican, and John Adams, a Federalist, were vying for the presidency. At the time, presidents and vice presidents were voted for separately, and Aaron Burr, intended to be Jefferson's vice president on the Democratic-Republican ticket, actually tied Jefferson for the presidency.
Choosing Thomas Jefferson as the lesser of two evils, Hamilton went to work supporting Jefferson's campaign, and in so doing undermined the attempts of Federalists to garner a tie-breaking win for Burr. Ultimately, the House of Representatives chose Jefferson as president, with Burr as his vice president. However, the standoff had damaged Jefferson's trust in Burr.
During his first term, Jefferson often left Burr out of discussions on party decisions. When Jefferson ran for re-election in 1804, he decided to remove Burr from his ticket. Burr then opted to run independently for the New York governorship, but lost. Frustrated and feeling marginalized, Burr hit his boiling point when he read in a newspaper that Hamilton had called Burr "the most unfit and dangerous man of the community."
Burr was infuriated. Convinced that Hamilton had ruined yet another election for him, Burr demanded an explanation. When Hamilton refused to comply, Burr, further enraged, challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton begrudgingly accepted, believing that in doing so he would assure his "ability to be in [the] future useful."
The duel, which began at dawn on July 11, 1804 in Weehawken, New Jersey, would rob Hamilton of that ability entirely. When both men drew their guns and shot, Hamilton was fatally wounded, but Hamilton's bullet missed Burr. Hamilton, injured, was brought back to New York City, where he died the next day, on July 12, 1804.
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