At this time, the 1750s-1800s, the United States was still very much a young, weak, and inexperienced nation. There are two major political parties wanting more power, the Federalists Party, and the Democratic-Republican Party. Alexander Hamilton was the leader of the Federalist Party, which controlled congress and the rest of the national government from the beginning of the new nation after John Adams succeeded George Washington as president. The Federalists believed that their political party was the government and that once they were elected by political leaders, no one should publicly criticize them. The federalists also detested the French Revolution.
Alexander Hamilton, born on January 11, 1755, in Charlestown, Nevis, did not have the brightest childhood. Financial hardship, separation, abandonment, death of a parent, and public humiliation were only some of the characteristics that described Hamilton’s childhood.
Hamilton’s mother was Rachel Faucette and was married to a man named Johann Michael Lavien before she met Alexander Hamilton’s father, James Hamilton. James Hamilton was a Scottish trader and had two children with Rachel, James Hamilton Jr., and Alexander Hamilton. Alexander Hamilton’s father later left his family after discovering that “her first husband intended to divorce her under Danish law on grounds of adultery and desertion.’ Alexander’s father believed that Rachel has committed bigamy, which is “the act of going through a marriage ceremony while already married to another person.” This left Alexander and his family penniless in a new world, where his mother was required to own a small store to support the family financially. This series of hard work ended up with his mother catching yellow fever, which Alexander also soon caught, yellow fever was the cause of her death on February 19, 1768. His mother’s death was surely a hard blow to Alexander and something that will have a great impact on him. Chernow states: “Mother and son must have been joined in a horrid scene of vomiting, flatulence, and defecation as they lay side by side in a feverish state in the single upstairs bed. The delirious Alexander was probably writhing inches from his mother when she expired…” All of Alexander’s books, toys, and property were confiscated and seized.
Peter Lytton, Alexander’s cousin, soon looked after both Alexander and his brother. But they were soon left alone again after Peter took his own life. Thomas Stevens, a Nevis merchant, then provided Alexander with a home. Alexander became very good friends with Thomas’s son, Edward Stevens.
One of the only few people who influenced Hamilton and shaped him to become who he grew up to be was his maternal grandmother, Mary Faucett. Mary wasn’t an ordinary woman, she was not quiet or shy, she stood up for her opinions and was extremely bold. She did not allow her husband or any male to “control” her, she cared and had a loud voice about her own needs but also for the needs of others. These personality traits also influenced his strong-willed mother quite a bit.
Hamilton has already begun working as a clerk in a general store just at the age of twelve! But he grew fluent in French and began to have a passion for writing. Having been mostly self-taught for most of his young years, Alexander soon desired to relieve more proper education. His caring aunts soon saved enough money to be able to send Alexander over to New York where he could receive the education he desired so much. Then in 1773, he was accepted into King’s College, where he finally had the education he desired. Alexander combined his passion for writing with politics and first wrote politically by attacking the Quebec Act as well as responding to Samuel Seabury’s writings which promoted the Loyalist cause. Alexander supported the American Revolution as well as its cause.
Just a few years later, due to the British occupying New York City, King’s College was forced to shut down before Alexander was able to fully complete his studies. This supplied Alexander, as well as many other King’s College’s students, the motive to join a “New York volunteer militia company called the Corsican. (later renamed as the Hearts of Oak)” Not surprisingly, Alexander put lots of time and effort into studying the military history and tactics which attracted the attention of higher-ranked men who recommended him for a promotion. The “Hearts of Oak” company converted into an artillery company after Alexander led a successful raid for British cannons even under heavy fire from the Royal Navy. The New York Provincial Company of Artillery, whose duty was to defend New York City from British
Attack, was created by Alexander Hamilton who also became the elected captain. Alexander finally accepted the role to serve George Washington as his aide, “with the rank of lieutenant colonel”, after being offered the role to serve as an aide to other great generals such as William Alexander and Lord Stirling. Alexander served an important role for General George Washington, he served him for four years taking on many high-level duties such as handling and drafting letters as well as drafting and issuing orders.
Alexander, now loathing military glory at this time, took command and returned to combat near the end of the Revolution war. Being frustrated with George Washington, Hamilton soon left George Washington’s staff after Washington gravely disapproved and criticized Hamilton over a misunderstanding. This small quarrel damages Washington and Hamilton’s relationship forever.