Alexander Hamilton

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Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757[1]  – July 12, 1804) was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, a Founding Father, economist, and political philosopher. Aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, he was a leader of American nationalists calling for a new Constitution; he was one of America's first constitutional lawyers, and wrote most of the Federalist Papers, a primary source for Constitutional interpretation. Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington Administration, especially the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. He created and dominated the Federalist Party, and was opposed by Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republican Party. Jefferson denounced Hamilton as too loose with the Constitution, too favorable to monarchy and particularly to Britain, and too partial to the moneyed interests of the cities at home, but Hamilton's policies were generally enacted. A believer in a militarily strong national government, Hamilton helped defeat the tax revolt of western farmers in 1794, and built a new army to oppose France in the Quasi War of 1798, but Federalist President John Adams found a diplomatic solution that avoided war. Hamilton opposed Adams, as well as the opposition candidates Jefferson and Aaron Burr, in the election of 1800; he supported Jefferson over Burr when the House of Representatives had to choose in an electoral tie between them. Tensions with Burr escalated to a duel, in which Hamilton was killed.

Born and raised in the Caribbean, Hamilton attended King's College (now Columbia University) in New York. At the start of the American Revolutionary War, he organized an artillery company and was chosen as its captain. Hamilton became the senior[2] aide-de-camp and confidant to General George Washington, the American commander-in-chief. After the war, Hamilton was elected to the Continental Congress from New York, but he resigned to practice law and found the Bank of New York. He served in the New York Legislature, and he was the only New Yorker who signed the U.S. Constitution. He wrote about half the Federalist Papers, which helped to secure ratification of the Constitution by New York and remain the single most important interpretation of the Constitution.[3] In the new government under President Washington he became Secretary of the Treasury.[4] An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist who emphasized strong central government and successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution could be used to fund the national debt, assume state debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States. These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports and a highly controversial excise tax on whiskey.

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