Alexander Hamilton has gone down in history as one of the most renowned political minds of the 18th century. Several factors account for his fame, the main reason is him being one of the founding fathers of the USA.
Some people actively argue that Alexander Hamilton’s morals and ethical values were not reflected in his private life which will be revealed in this article down below. Apart from that, Hamilton Musical has made sure that Alexander’s legacy lives on forever. We all are entitled to our preferences, some may like Hamilton and some may not like him and everyone has reasons for that. However, there was more to Hamilton’s life than politics, incidents that may come off as shocking even to you.
The life of Alexander Hamilton – Full Documentary
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So, let’s take a trip down history lane and reveal a few fun and interesting facts about Alexander Hamilton.
13 Fun and Interesting Facts About Alexander Hamilton
Here is a list of 13 Fun and Interesting Facts about Alexander Hamilton
13. He was an Orphan
A very interesting fact about Alexander Hamilton is that his father left his mother when he was only 10 years old.
A little background to this story includes Rachel Faucet was Alexander Hamilton’s mother. She was married off at a very young age to a merchant who didn’t treat her nicely. She was not only physically abused by her husband but also financially deprived. Long story short, Rachel was accused of committing adultery by her first husband Johan, who gave her divorce which wasn’t an unusual activity and was sentenced to prison for 8 months.
After getting out of jail, Hamilton’s mother realized that being in a loveless marriage will give her nothing but misery so she fled away and soon came to meet James A. Hamilton. It is strange yet interesting that James didn’t marry Rachel but had 2 kids with her which was highly controversial for that era. But good things don’t last long, when Alexander was 10 years old, his father James left him and his family thus abandoning both kids and mother. So, maybe the usage of the word “orphan” is not correct here as James wasn’t dead but the reason why people call Hamilton an orphan is that his mother Rachel died 3 years after her husband left her.
At the age of thirteen, Alexander was orphaned. Given the circumstances, it is natural for any child to become distant and cold and so did Hamilton. Facing life without parents at an early age may have made him strong and wise to take major decisions but at the cost of his childhood.After all, who would have thought that one of the founding fathers would have been without a father all along?
12. The Hamilton Musical
Being one of the founding fathers of the United States Of America, you’d think that Alexander Hamilton must be widely known. Surely, everyone who has ever studied American history knows that he was the Secretary of the treasury of the first-ever government and it was his idea to a strike-off monarchy in the first place. But, you’d be surprised to know that several people did not know about the personal life or minor details about Alexander Hamilton until The Hamilton Musical which is now very popular.
A little background on Hamilton musical: Hamilton Musical is a musical theatre that runs for 2 hours 45 minutes. It is based on the biography of Alexander Hamilton and includes everything, from this childhood to his teenage years and the unfortunate event of his death. The musical consists of two Acts. Act 1 describes and covers Hamilton being orphaned at a very young age, him being married and having children to him finally being the secretary of the treasury in the final scene. Act 2 covers the remaining of his political career and ends on a very sad note which will be revealed later in this article. This is the age of digital and social media, people love movies and looking at things to understand them is the new trend. Saying this, this musical has helped people understanding the life of Alexander Hamilton and his feelings have awakened a patriotic sense among people of the USA.
So even if you were a person who didn’t know about Hamilton, thanks to Hamilton Musical and its huge success, you can now tell others about Hamilton’s life.
11. An Opinionated Introvert
The two words opinionated and Introvert don’t go together, do they? But, Alexander Hamilton was all that. He was an introvert in the early age of his life which is quite understandable, given his history of being an orphan but he was also one of the most brilliant political minds of the 18th century. When you are smart and wise, it’s hard to agree with other people and that leads to either a healthy conversation or just pointless arguments. Now, Alexander being shy meant that he did have contradicting opinions but he just didn’t lay them in front of everyone. After his mother died, he was hired as a clerk in a trading company but that didn’t stop him from aiming high. For him, the sky was the limit and being shy, introverted or the fact that he belonged to the lowest tier of the social class didn’t stop him and that is what inspires people about his life.
Because of his loyalty and ambition, his education was sponsored by his boss and he went onto study at King’s College which is now known as Columbia University. His outlook on life was not exactly positive but he was determined to make something out of his life despite facing so many hurdles. Now, that is something and someone you should look up to.
10. The Very Famous Duel
If you haven’t noticed yet, I didn’t even for once mentioned the death of Alexander Hamilton. That is because his death is considered to be shocking and appalling. For those who have watched Hamilton Musical might already know the incident that leads to Hamilton’s death. It was very unfortunate because Alexander Hamilton died in a duel.
So many questions arise, who did he duel with? What was the reason behind this duel? Why did it happen in the first place?
To answer these questions, let me give you a brief explanation of what happened. The very famous “Burr-Hamilton” duel took place on 11th July 1804. This duel took place between Vice President Aaron Burr and Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton. The reason why this duel took place was purely political as Aaron and Alexander were rivals with opposing views and opinions. Alexander Hamilton had called Burr “a dangerous man” but that wasn’t all, he went on to call Burr a number of things which resulted in Burr demanding to meet Hamilton and explain his wrongdoings because these opinions of Alexander Hamilton were published in a newspaper, Burr felt it was an attack on his public image and challenged him to a duel.
It is widely believed that Hamilton had no desire to kill Burr and missed his shots at purpose, shooting at a distance from where Burr stood. But, Burr had other plans and decided to shoot Hamilton on the first chance he got which clearly showed how much he hated Hamilton and ended up being the villain of the century. It was nonetheless a very vile thing to do.
9. Power Maniac
If you take a deep look at Hamilton’s life, you will realize how much Hamilton craved power and was willing to do anything to have the first opinion and ideas that were implemented. He had a very strong influence which is mainly because he made sense and others looked up to him for advice.
He knew what he wanted and he wasn’t afraid to get it. His views about democracy were not even close to what a democratic state is supposed to be like but rather it was a monarchy. He wanted the president to have immense power such as being elected for an entire life, appointing ministers and governors with free will and change any law the president wanted to. Pretty sure that these things don’t qualify for a democratic state which reflects how Alexander wanted all the power limited to the institution he was going to be involved with for the rest of his life.
The Federalist Papers were written by Alexander Hamilton which were 85 in number and served as a treaty of the USA constitution. Although these papers served as a means to form a government, the system in itself that was proposed by Alexander Hamilton was flawed in more ways than one. One of the most prominent features of Federalist Papers was nepotism.
Apart from these things, he used religious intolerance and military rule to suppress people. It was because of him that the military was so involved in government which goes against democracy.
Coming from a background where Alexander Hamilton had to work as a child, you’d think that he would not be a supporter of child labor but you would be disappointed to know that he supported child labor. This just makes him another politician who wants things to be in his favor whether it comes at the cost of poor people’s suffering.
8. Extra-Marital Affairs
In my personal opinion, you should judge a person’s character by how they treat their loved ones. Anyone can maintain a good but fake public version of themselves, it’s not that hard but then again it’s my preference. I think this is the reason why I judged Alexander Hamilton when I came to know about his extramarital affair with Maria Reynolds. Yes, one of the founding fathers of the USA was very popularly known for committing adultery and though his wife forgave him for what he did, it still doesn’t justify what he did.
The reason why this comes off as a shocking fact to me is because of Alexander’s background. You would think that a person whose own mother was put under false charges of adultery wouldn’t do such a thing but people have a way of surprising you. So, judging Alexander Hamilton based on this sole factor might not be fair as he is the reason why things began to change in the first place. Alexander Hamilton cheated on his wife Eliza, with a 23-year-old blonde woman named Maria Reynolds. Hamilton was 34 years old when Maria approached him and made up a fake story about her husband, the two began writing letters to each other and started seeing each other intimately as well. It was later known that this was all a scam to exhort money from Hamilton by Maria and her husband James.
When they were caught, James spilled all the tea to Hamilton’s rival and Hamilton’s infidelity became the talk of the town. It is also known as one of the starting sex scandals in the country which followed the demise of Hamilton’s political career. It all went downhill from there, some people call it karma.
7. Mother was accused of Adultery
So, we already know that Hamilton’s mother was accused of adultery by her first husband but some minor details are not public facts.
Alexander’s mother Rachel Faucette’s exact age is not known, it is known that she was born somewhere between 1720 to 1735. Her parents, John and Mary moved to St. Croix which is located on Caribbean Island. Rachel was very young, around 16 years old when she got married and that too with a very older man named John Michael Lavien, also known as Johann. They got married in 1745 and had one boy child named Peter who was born in 1746.
Problems began to arise soon after marriage. Rachel was already very upset with this marriage in the first place because she didn’t love John and also because John was abusive towards her.
The marriage was not successful and ended on a very bad note with John claiming for divorce by saying that his wife is a “whore” as found in the records discovered by H. U Ramsing.
John claimed that his wife was having an extramarital affair with a man named Johann Jacob Cronenberg who came to St. Croix in 1749. In the discovered records, it was written that Rachel was found with this man in his house behind locked doors and this man kept her with him and had sexual relations with her.
The court found both Johann Jacob Cronenberg and Rachel Faucette guilty and as a punishment, Johann was restricted to never see this woman again and Rachel was barred from remarrying again along with serving jail time of 8 months.
6. An Extraordinary Genius
No one is going to argue on the fact that Hamilton was beyond a doubt labeled as a GENIUS but how smart was he?
Let’s take a look at Hamilton’s major achievements and decide for yourself whether it sounds something extraordinary of not.
Alexander Hamilton became General Washington’s assistant in 1777 when he was only 22 years old. Now, I know that there is a huge difference in being a 22 year old in this generation and being a 22 year old in 18th century but that doesn’t erase the fact that Hamilton was pretty young to become secretary to the future president, what did he do to deserve it? Here is a list of things that landed Hamilton this position:
- Being a manager of a warehouse at a very young age taught him to be quick, smart and deal with people
- After joining King’s College, Hamilton supported a protest against British Imperial Policy.
- Given Hamilton’s extraordinary writing sense, he wrote pamphlets opposing the rival parties
- He wrote Federalist Papers which serve as support for United States Constitution
The list shows that Hamilton was already well-deserving of the position of an aide-de-camp of George Washington who was impressed by Hamilton’s war fight during the American Revolution.
Apart from these, it is also said that Washington was unwilling to send Hamilton to fight in wars because he was afraid of losing one of his most intelligent and wise cabinet members.
5. An Excellent Lawyer and Writer
Some people don’t understand the power of a good writer. A good writer can manipulate you into believing his own beliefs, now combine this skill with the skill of negotiation. That, right there is a deadly combination and just so happens, Hamilton was very well-known for these particular skills.
Alexander Hamilton was not reserved to one profession for his entire life, he was known for his skills in several professions. The most common professions being a writer and a lawyer.
The writing abilities come later in the picture but Hamilton was a self-taught lawyer. He studied for 6 months, passed a verbal exam and started his practice in the year 1782.
He mainly represented rich people and his arguments were flawless, without any grammatical errors and fluent speaking skills are what made him a good lawyer.
His writing skills were reflected when he wrote the Federalist Papers. Moreover, he was the negotiator and wrote letters to Congressmen and other officers after becoming the secretary of the treasury. He wrote a total of 59 Federalist Essays out of the 85 that were published, there is no denying the fact that he was an excellent political writer.
Here is a list of Hamilton’s excellent writings:
1- A full Vindication of the measures of congress
2- The Farmer Refuted
3- The Pacificus-Helvidius Debates
4- Report on Manufactures
5- The Essential Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers
6- The Reynolds Pamphlet
7- The Whiskey Rebellion
8- Letters of H.G
These are some of the most famous works of Alexander Hamilton which include several reports and essays. These were written to explain the role of the constitution and how different departments of a country function under the foreign policy.
4. Lying about Age
Alexander Hamilton was born on 11th January 1757 in a small village of Caribbean Island called St. Croix. But, this is what Hamilton said about his birth which he lied about.
When people took an interest in Hamilton’s life, they find out about his real birth year which was not 1757 but 1755. If you come to think about it, 2 years isn’t that much of a difference but even then, why lie about it? Why lie about the fact that you were born 2 years after your actual birth date?
This could either be a purely psychological thing or it could have a deeper meaning to it. Let’s just analyze both aspects and reach to a neutral conclusion.
The psychological point of view of this situation tells us that Hamilton wanted people to have sympathy for him and care about him. A young boy with no parents is working at a very young age to provide for himself and is so also incredibly smart and intelligent. It sounds like a child anything would sympathize with. The person who financed Hamilton’s education must have thought the same way, how a child at this age can be so brilliant and thus decided to finance his education. He wanted to get into a college that accepted young people and thus lied about his age. There doesn’t seem to be another explanation for lying about his age other than these. Also, even if he did lie about his age, that doesn’t make him any less wise or less popular than before.
3. Rival Aaron Burr
Yes, this is the same Aaron Burr who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Surprisingly, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton seem to have quite a history.
Aaron Burr was the third Vice President of the United States of America. Before dueling with Alexander Hamilton, Burr had a duel with John Barker Church whose wife was the sister of Alexander Hamilton’s wife Eliza. Hamilton and Burr were connected in more than one way.
Alexander Hamilton was very vocal about his opinions during political discussions which Burr mainly disagreed on and although you could tell by just sitting in the same room as same that there was some sort of tension between the two, no one questioned the elephant in the room and let it slide.
Tensions truly began to arise when Burr deceived Hamilton and other people in power by opening up his own Bank which gave other banks competition, one of which was owned by Hamilton. The problem wasn’t with opening a bank, Burr initially sought permission to establish a water company and once that application was approved, he changed the statement and established a bank instead which was very dishonorable for a gentleman like him.
Burr was dropped from the party due to lack of trust and Hamilton’s statement of how Burr isn’t a man that should be trusted by the government and he is dangerous and could also conspire against his people put an end to Hamilton’s life in the unforgettable duel.
2. Founder of New York Post
The New York Post is the most popular newspaper that was founded by Alexander Hamilton in the year 1801. The paper is famous all over the world for its page six and is one of the oldest newspapers.
Like every other paper, The NY Times has also been under the light of blatant criticism for spreading false news and making a mole out of nothing. William Coleman was the first editor in chief of The NY Times. Initially, the paper was created by Alexander Hamilton to give his political point of view to the public after he showed his trust in Jefferson instead of Aaron Burr which made a lot of his allies dislike him. They thought he wanted to sabotage the Federalist Movement and thus Hamilton was found all alone and isolated. So, to present his point of view and lay the logic behind his decisions, Hamilton contacted William Coleman and decided to launch The New York Post.
The investments were collected by Alexander Hamilton and the investors were his friends. Hamilton managed to raise around $10,000 worth of investments in the NY Times. The first release of paper clearly stated that Hamilton started the publication of this paper to prevail in a sense of literature, interest in religion, politics, and morals in people.
1. The Long Forgotten Brother
Alexander Hamilton was never an only child. He had 1 step bother and 1 blood brother but no one seems to be talking about them. Where were they when Hamilton became a crucial part of the American Revolution? How much did they support Hamilton? Did Hamilton and his brother have a good relationship? Did Hamilton even know that he has a stepbrother? Hamilton’s stepbrother was Peter and was the first child of Rachel Faucette, the child was born out of wedlock. He was the only child of Rachel and Johann. It is unlikely that Hamilton knew about this half-brother of his as they both lead a very different life. Peter was a shipping merchant and inherited everything that his parents owned. Peter Lavien died in 1781.
When it comes to Hamilton’s other brother “James Hamilton”, people don’t know much. A much lesser-known fact is James and Alexander were raised by Peter Lytton after their mother died. Peter Lytton was their cousin who died after attempting suicide. James was the older brother and both brothers were separated after a while. They didn’t have a closer bond and never really talked much.
It is also reported that James Hamilton had children with a slave black woman. Letters were found that were addressed to James Hamilton sent by Alexander Hamilton. The letter shows that James was in terrible need of money and immense pain, maybe he was ill or sick.
Hamilton agreed to pay around 50 sterling and wished him relief from his pain, he further said that it would not be possible for him to contribute more as he is going through a rough patch. Moreover, he advised his brother to steer clear of debt and then went on to inquire about their father and whether he is alive or not. The letter tells us that Alexander and James kind of stayed in touch with each other but weren’t on good terms either.