Alexander Hamilton Essay

1223 words - 5 pages

“[T]he man on the ten-dollar bill is the father of the American treasury system, a signer of the Constitution, one of the primary authors of the Federalist Papers, and the loser of the infamous duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. Alexander Hamilton's earlier career as a Continental Army officer is less well known. Yet Hamilton's first experience in public service is important, not only because it was the springboard to his later career, but because it also deeply influenced his values and thinking” (Hamilton).
Alexander Hamilton was born as a British subject on the island of Nevis in the West Indies on the 11th of January 1755. His father, James Hamilton -- Scottish merchant of St. Christopher – was the younger son of a minor Scottish noble. His mother, Rachel Fawcett Levine was married a Danish proprietor of St. Croix named John Michael Levine. Ms. Levine left her husband John and was later divorced from him on June 25, 1759, two years after Alexander was born. His parents soon separated. However, Alexander grew up with his mother and his brother James, living on the ragged edge of poverty. He had no further contact with his father, and when his mother died in 1768, he became an orphan at the age of 11 (Hamilton).
Hamilton found a job as a merchant’s apprentice with the help of his aunts. By the time he was fifteen, his employers paid attention to his honesty and intelligence and they were impressed. Therefore, they collaborated with his aunts to send him for a formal schooling in New York. First, he attended Francis Barber's Preparatory School in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Hamilton always displayed an unusual capacity for impressing older, influential men: so he gained his social footing in Elizabethtown with the surpassing spend, crossing over an invisible divide into privileged, patrician world in a way that would have been impossible in St. Croix (Chernow 43).
In 1773, Hamilton enrolled in King’s College (now Columbia University). However, Hamilton never graduated from college, but in 1775 he joined a volunteer militia company with a group of students from King’s. On August of that year, his company invaded Manhattan Island; that was the first combat action he saw. Whenever Hamilton had a spare time, he used to involve himself into a self-study program of military tactics and artillery gunnery. On January 6, 1776, the New York Provincial Congress authorized the raising of a company of artillery to protect Manhattan; Hamilton was one of the first to apply to command it. The congress was hesitated to hand the command over to him, because he was only 19 years old back then. So they enforced him to take an inclusive examination in gunnery and ballistics. Everyone was surprised because he passed the examination easily. On March 14 he received his commission as a captain, four guns, and the authority to recruit the required sixty-three men and four subordinate officers (Chernow 63).
“Hamilton's first taste of offensive combat came when...

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