Alexander Hamilton was born on this day, the 11th of January, in 1755, or, maybe it was 1757 in the British West Indies…
He would go on to be chief of staff to General George Washington, founder of America’s financial system, a principal author of the Federalist Papers, founder of the US Coast Guard, founder of the New York Post, and first Secretary of the Treasury.
Small wonder his story could become the subject of a Broadway musical. What is more surprising is that it hadn’t happened before.
Born, as they used to say, out of wedlock, raised in the West Indies and an immigrant to this country, he managed to get an education at what we now call Columbia University. During the revolution he rose quickly in the ranks eventually becoming as noted General Washington’s chief of staff. And after the war he became a principal player in the establishment of the Republic.While a strong Federalist he so opposed Aaron Burr that in the deadlocked 1800 presidential race, Hamilton’s support for Jefferson secured enough votes in the House for him to prevail. By the then established system, Burr became vice-president. In 1804 Burr then attempted to run for governor of New York. He was defeated. In the maelstrom that followed a letter was produced by a third party that alleged Hamilton has said some “scurrilous” remarks about the former vice-president. Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel.
The duel took place yesterday, two hundred and twelve years ago. Witnesses could not agree as to which man fired first. Hamilton’s bullet went wild. Burr’s hit home.
Hamilton lingered until the next day, the 12th of July, 1804, when he died.
And, as such things sometime happen, he entered the halls of the immortals.