Alexander Hamilton Essay

2046 words - 8 pages


“ I Consider Napoleon, Fox, and Hamilton the three greatest men of our epoch, and If I were force to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation the first place to Hamilton (Kaplan 284)”. Those are the words of prominent French diplomat Charles Maurice De Talleyrand after spending a year in the United States. Those words of respect came because of the actions and influences that Alexander Hamilton had on a young United States that still have an effect today. Hamilton helped shaped and interpret the United States constitution and set up the financial system that lead to the United States rise to a global power.


Hamilton was born in 1757 on a small island in the British West Indies. At the Age of 9, his father left his mother and both Hamilton and his Brother. At 11 years old his mother died, and both Hamilton and his brother were orphaned. After being orphaned Hamilton became a Clerk in a mercantile establishment, where his employers found potential in him, and raised a fund for him to go to the colonies and study there. However, the American Revolution interrupted Hamilton’s Studies and he joined the Americans in Fighting the British. Hamilton would rise fast through the ranks of the U.S. Forces and obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served under General Washington’s as his chief of staff during the war. This relationship, cemented by friendship and respect, would continue between Washington and Hamilton all the way through Washington’s Presidency. In 1780 Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, whose family was rich and politically connected, and in 1781 he resigned from Washington’s staff, before resigning completely from the army shortly after that. Hamilton was then elected to the Continental Congress, where he served only for a year due to the limitations he felt the Articles of Confederation had with creating a strong central government. Hamilton had great influence on many political decisions and elections that would continue in till his death in a duel with Aaron Burr, a by product of Burr being upset about Hamilton using his influence to ensure Burr’s loss in multiple political elections. (Americans Founding Fathers)

Historical Context

After the creation of our new nation the Articles of Confederation were created as the first constitution of the United States. The Articles gave the federal government limited powers due to the fact many people were fearful of a strong central government as they felt it “posed a danger to Liberty” (Foner 259). The Articles were more of a pact or “treaty for mutual defense” between the states and even stated inside the document that it was a “ firm league of friendship” (Foner 259). The only powers that the Articles gave the Federal government were the power to declare war, represent the nation in foreign affairs, and sign treaties. There was no president, only a one-house congress where each of the original thirteen states got one vote and need...

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