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Read the story of the Founding Father who inspired the smash Broadway musical. Born in the British West Indies and orphaned as a child, Alexander Hamilton made his way to the American Colonies and studied to become a lawyer. He joined a local militia during the American Revolution, rose to the rank of Major General, and became the chief aide to General George Washington. After the war, he became the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. He founded the Bank of New York and The New York Post newspaper. He served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and is also celebrated as a co-author of The Federalist Papers, a series of essays that are still used today to interpret the U.S. Constitution. The end of his life became a national scandal when he was shot and killed in a duel with then-Vice President Aaron Burr.
The America that Alexander Hamilton knew was largely agricultural and built on slave labor. He envisioned something else: a multi-racial, urbanized, capitalistic America with a strong central government. He believed that such an America would be a land of opportunity for the poor and the newcomers. But Hamilton’s vision put him at odds with his archrivals who envisioned a pastoral America of small towns, where governments were local, states would control their own destiny, and the federal government would remain small and weak. The disputes that arose during America’s first decades continued through American history to our present day. Over time, because of the systems Hamilton set up and the ideas he left, his vision won out. Here is the story that epitomizes the American dream—a poor immigrant who made good in America. In the end, Hamilton rose from poverty through his intelligence and ability, and did more to shape our country than any of his contemporaries. Related subjects and concepts discussed in the book include: Law and Legal Concepts Due process Bill of Rights Freedom of Speech and the Press Originalism / nonoriginalism (theories of Constitutional interpretation) Government Checks and Balances Democracy Electoral College Republic Financial Concepts Capitalism Credit Inflation Interest Mercantilism Securities: Stocks and Bonds Tariffs Taxes Miscellaneous Demagogues Dueling Pastoralism About the Series The Making of America series traces the constitutional history of the United States through overlapping biographies of American men and women. The debates that raged when our nation was founded have been argued ever since: How should the Constitution be interpreted? What is the meaning, and where are the limits of personal liberty? What is the proper role of the federal government? Who should be included in “we the people”? Each biography in the series tells the story of an American leader who helped shape the United States of today.
The untold story of the founding father’s likely Jewish birth and upbringing—and its revolutionary consequences for understanding him and the nation he fought to create In The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Porwancher debunks a string of myths about the origins of this founding father to arrive at a startling conclusion: Hamilton, in all likelihood, was born and raised Jewish. For more than two centuries, his youth in the Caribbean has remained shrouded in mystery. Hamilton himself wanted it that way, and most biographers have simply assumed he had a Christian boyhood. With a detective’s persistence and a historian’s rigor, Porwancher upends that assumption and revolutionizes our understanding of an American icon. This radical reassessment of Hamilton’s religious upbringing gives us a fresh perspective on both his adult years and the country he helped forge. Although he didn’t identify as a Jew in America, Hamilton cultivated a relationship with the Jewish community that made him unique among the founders. As a lawyer, he advocated for Jewish citizens in court. As a financial visionary, he invigorated sectors of the economy that gave Jews their greatest opportunities. As an alumnus of Columbia, he made his alma mater more welcoming to Jewish people. And his efforts are all the more striking given the pernicious antisemitism of the era. In a new nation torn between democratic promises and discriminatory practices, Hamilton fought for a republic in which Jew and Gentile would stand as equals. By setting Hamilton in the context of his Jewish world for the first time, this fascinating book challenges us to rethink the life and legend of America's most enigmatic founder.
Complex, passionate, brilliant, flawed—Alexander Hamilton comes alive in this exciting biography. He was born out of wedlock on a small island in the West Indies and orphaned as a teenager. From those inauspicious circumstances, he rose to a position of power and influence in colonial America. Discover this founding father's incredible true story: his brilliant scholarship and military career; his groundbreaking and enduring policy, which shapes American government today; his salacious and scandalous personal life; his heartrending end. Richly informed by Hamilton's own writing, with archival artwork and new illustrations, this is an in-depth biography of an extraordinary man.
The vital words of Alexander Hamilton, including essays, private correspondence, and public statements Alexander Hamilton is best known as the United States’ first Secretary of the Treasury and the author of the majority of The Federalist Papers, a series of essays that outlined the basic concepts and premises of the U.S. Constitution. Since the founding of the nation, these essays have been used by the U.S. Supreme Court as an authoritative guide to the intentions of the Founding Fathers in cases involving constitutional interpretation. Included in this volume are five of the most important essays from The Federalist Papers, plus personal correspondence and public statements from across Hamilton’s career as a statesman.
Alexander Hamilton is one of the least understood, most important, and most impassioned and inspiring of the founding fathers. At last Hamilton has found a modern biographer who can bring him to full-blooded life; Richard Brookhiser. In these pages, Alexander Hamilton sheds his skewed image as the "bastard brat of a Scotch peddler," sex scandal survivor, and notoriously doomed dueling partner of Aaron Burr. Examined up close, throughout his meteoric and ever-fascinating (if tragically brief) life, Hamilton can at last be seen as one of the most crucial of the founders. Here, thanks to Brookhiser's accustomed wit and grace, this quintessential American lives again.
In this critical reinterpretation of Hamilton's life, the first Secretary of the Treasury is perceived as an ambitious man whose self-appointed mission was to create a new social order in America based not on status but on money
“A treasure trove for financial and public policy geeks . . . will also help lay readers go beyond the hit musical in understanding Hamilton’s lasting significance.” —Publishers Weekly While serving as the first treasury secretary from 1789 to 1795, Alexander Hamilton engineered a financial revolution. He established the treasury debt market, the dollar, and a central bank, while strategically prompting private entrepreneurs to establish securities markets and stock exchanges and encouraging state governments to charter a number of commercial banks and other business corporations. Yet despite a recent surge of interest in Hamilton, US financial modernization has not been fully recognized as one of his greatest achievements. This book traces the development of Hamilton’s financial thinking, policies, and actions through a selection of his writings. Financial historians and Hamilton experts Richard Sylla and David J. Cowen provide commentary that demonstrates the impact Hamilton had on the modern economic system, guiding readers through Hamilton’s distinguished career. It showcases Hamilton’s thoughts on the nation’s founding, the need for a strong central government, problems such as a depreciating paper currency and weak public credit, and the architecture of the financial system. His great state papers on public credit, the national bank, the mint, and manufactures instructed reform of the nation’s finances and jumpstarted economic growth. Hamilton practiced what he preached: he played a key role in the founding of three banks and a manufacturing corporation—and his deft political maneuvering and economic savvy saved the fledgling republic’s economy during the country’s first full-blown financial crisis in 1792. “A fascinating examination of Hamiltonian economics.” —The Washington Times