Alexander Hamilton was born January 11, 1755 or 1757 (the exact birth date is unknown) in the West Indies. He was moved to the Virgin Islands by his mother at a young age. Due to his mother’s lack of marital status, Hamilton was not seen as a legitimate child and was thus denied access to church schools. He was taught by a tutor and he supplemented his teachings with books. When his mother died, he was adopted by a merchant in Nevis, where he worked as a clerk. During his time in Nevis, Hamilton continued to write; one of his essays impressed the community leaders so much that they worked together and collected funds to send Hamilton to the colonies. He continued his education there.
Hamilton served in the revolutionary war, during which time he worked his way through battles and earned himself a place aiding General Washington. After the war, Hamilton was elected into the Congress of the Confederation. He was dissatisfied with the decentralized government that was set up and the inability to raise money from the states to pay the soldiers.
Hamilton was involved in the Constitution Convention but did not fully agree with the document; despite his disagreements, he promoted the document because he believed it was a vast improvement over the Articles of Confederation. He pushed the ratification of the Constitution, teaming up with John Jay and James Madison to write the Federalist papers, which were often cited when pushing for the Constitution’s ratification.
Alexander Hamilton was appointed as the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury on September 11, 1789. During his time as Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton helped write economic policies, develop the funding of state debts, establish the national bank, create a national currency, a system of tariffs, and a peaceful trade relationship with Britain.
After his time in politics finished, Alexander Hamilton went back to New York to practice law. He died in a duel with Aaron Burr in Weehawken, New Jersey on July 12, 1804.