He intentionally fired into the air, but his political rival, Vice President Aaron Burr, took deadly aim and fatally shot him in a duel July 11, 1804.
Alexander Hamilton was born in the West Indies on the Island of Nevis. As his parents were not legally married, he was not permitted to attend the Anglican academy, resulting in him being tutored at a private school by a Jewish headmistress.
Hamilton worked for merchants till, at the age of 17, he sailed to Massachusetts in 1772 to attend Elizabethtown Academy. He was studying at Columbia College in New York when the Revolutionary War started. Alexander Hamilton fought in the battle of White Plains and the battle of Trenton. He served four years as aide-de-camp to General George Washington.
Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Alexander Hamilton led a bayonet attack at night capturing Redoubt No. 10 which helped the Continental Army win the battle of Yorktown.
During the Revolution, Alexander Hamilton wrote “The Farmer Refuted,” Feb. 23, 1775, stating: “The Supreme Being gave existence to man, together with the means of preserving and beautifying that existence … and invested him with an inviolable right to personal liberty and personal safety.”
Alexander Hamilton continued: “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the Hand of the Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”
Alexander Hamilton concluded: “Good and wise men, in all ages … have supposed that the Deity, from the relations we stand in to Himself, and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind. … This is what is called the law of nature…dictated by God himself.”
Alexander Hamilton helped write the U.S. Constitution, stating at the Constitutional Convention, June 22, 1787: “Take mankind as they are, and what are they governed by? Their passions. There may be in every government a few choice spirits, who may act from more worthy motives. One great error is that we suppose mankind is more honest that they are.”
After the Constitution was written, Alexander Hamilton helped convinced the states to ratify it by writing 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers.
Alexander Hamilton wrote of the Constitution: “I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.”
Hamilton pushed Congress to have ships, called Revenue Cutters, to guard the coasts from piracy, collect revenue and confiscate contraband, thus beginning of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Opposed to slavery, Hamilton and John Jay founded the New York Manumission Society which successfully helped pass legislation to end New York’s involvement in the slave trade in 1799.
Alexander Hamilton was the first secretary of the U.S. Treasury – his statue is at the south entrance of the Treasury building in Washington, D.C. He served as senior officer of the United States Army during a threatened war with France in 1799.
During the 1800 election, Alexander Hamilton was instrumental in Thomas Jefferson being chosen as president instead of Aaron Burr.
Before the 1804 election, Alexander Hamilton threatened to withdraw from the Federalist Party if it chose Vice President Aaron Burr as its presidential candidate.
Hamilton began organizing the Christian Constitutional Society. On April 16, 1802, Alexander Hamilton wrote to James Bayard: “Let an association be formed to be denominated ‘The Christian Constitutional Society,’ its object to be first: The support of Christian religion; second: The support of the United States.”
When Aaron Burr later ran for governor of New York, Alexander Hamilton’s influence led to his defeat. Aaron Burr took offense and challenged Hamilton to a duel, mortally wounding him.
Alexander Hamilton had previously warned: “Liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race. … Civil liberty … cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice.”
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