On this day, January 11, in either 1755 or 1757, depending on which historical records one believes, Alexander Hamilton was born in the British West Indies.
Hamilton went on to a life of success, migrating to the American colonies, serving George Washington in the American Revolution, being a delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, becoming President Washington’s first Secretary of the Treasury, founding the first political party (the Federalists), and promoting what has become the “liberal” interpretation of the Constitution (although it was termed “conservative” at the time).
Hamilton was always controversial, outspoken, opinionated, egotistical, and had so called “skeletons in his closet” regarding his financial and love lives.
But he saved the country during its early years under George Washington with his policies of paying off the national and state debts. He developed the broad interpretation of the Constitution, utilized later by Chief Justice John Marshall and the Supreme Court in the doctrine of “judicial review”. He developed the US Mint; the US Coast Guard; emphasized the importance of manufacturing and industry in the American economy alongside agriculture; started the Bank of New York; and developed the oldest continually published newspaper in America, the New York Post.
Hamilton would be tragically killed by Vice President Aaron Burr in an infamous gun duel in New Jersey in the summer of 1804, dying at the young age of 47 or 49, and remains one of the tragic losses of a young politico, alongside John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. among others.
It is hard to imagine how America would have evolved without the contributions of Alexander Hamilton!