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Alexander Hamilton's America | by Tony Fischer Photography
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Alexander Hamilton's America

The man whose picture is on the $10 Bill, Alexander Hamilton, is buried in Trinity Churchyard Cemetery, Broadway and Wall Street, New York City. He was killed by Aaron Burr in an infamous duel at Weehawken, New Jersey, after an alleged "insult" made to Burr by Hamilton. Hamilton was the cause of Burr losing the presidency to Thomas Jefferson and Burr subsequently lost the governorship of New York as well - because of Hamilton.


Far beyond "The Duel", Hamilton was a major figure in American history, ranked in that famous upper tier that includes Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams. Here are a few interesting items about Alexander Hamilton:


1. Hamilton was the first Secretary of the United States Treasury. He supported a national bank, an income tax, tariffs on imported products and was the most influential figure in having the United States government assume the debts of the state during the Revolutionary War, thus creating a large "national debt". He presided over the creation of the United States Mint. He was a founder of the Bank of New York, which is still active today as the "Bank of New York Mellon Corporation" and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


2. Hamilton, a graduate of Columbia, was a Constitutional Lawyer - one of the first, of course - and the author of over 50 "Federalist Papers", which argued for the ratification of the United States Constitution. He was a founder of the New York Evening Post (yes, the now Rupert Murdoch-owned NY Post). "Founding Father" Hamilton was a congressman and signer of the Constitution - the only one from New York.


3. Hamilton, in addition to serving under George Washington in the Cabinet, was also a Lieutenant who served under Washington's command in the Revolutionary War, actively leading troops at the battle of Yorktown.


4. Hamilton was the most significant influence behind the early development of Paterson, New Jersey, my hometown. Paterson was an major manufacturing and industrial city in the early history of the United States, in accordance with Hamilton's plan. We still have over 150,000 people living in Paterson and it is his statue which stands above the Great Falls, the major Paterson Landmark.


5. Hamilton's personal life was interesting too! He was born out of wedlock on a small island in the West Indies.He had eight children with his wife Eliza (who shares his burial plot). His eldest son, Philip was also killed in a duel earlier. Alexander Hamilton also had at least one extensive documented affair and rumors of another. There are at least two historians who think he was bisexual because of some letters he wrote to a friend. He was anti-slavery in philosophy but returned at least one fugitive slave to his "owner" and was criticized as a hypocrite for this and other actions.


5. Hamilton was part of the process which created the first political parties. He was a founder of the "Federalist Party" - the party of Washington and Adams. The opposition gathered around Jefferson - The "Democratic-Republicans". Hamilton was a rival of Jefferson, Burr and Adams. He - as you might conclude - supported a strong central government.


Of all the founders of this country, Hamilton's vision of America is the one which is predominant today, for better or worse.


We live in Hamilton's America.



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Taken on June 7, 2008