Useful Notes: Alexander Hamilton

"I never expect perfect work from an imperfect man."

Alexander Hamilton (1755 or 1757-1804) was one of the major Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an aide-de-camp for General George Washington, and was one of the main proponents for the United States Constitution, organizing and being the primary writer of The Federalist Papers with John Jay and James Madison. As the first US Secretary of the Treasury, he was a proponent for a strong national government, a national bank, a standing army, and a national debt. He also established the New York Manumission Society with John Jay to promote the abolition movement in New York state, the Bank of New York (later merged with Mellon Bank to form BNY Mellon), the oldest operating banking institution in the United States, as well as establishing a college, named Hamilton College, in upstate New York.

He was bitter enemies with Thomas Jefferson, but the two temporarily became allies during the 1800 presidential election when Aaron Burr, another enemy of Hamilton's and quite possibly the most singularly unpleasant man ever to occupy any federal office, decided to run for the presidency. Four years later, Hamilton and Burr would be involved in a duel, resulting in Hamilton's death. He is memorialized on the U.S. $10 bill.

Alexander Hamilton in fiction and pop culture:

  • He's a character in the webcomic The Dreamer by Lora Innes, in which he's a captain of the New York artillery.
  • He appears in the cartoon Libertys Kids.
  • On the Mythpunk blog, there's a story centering around him where he battles the God of Economics with Adam Smith's katana.
  • The infamous Burr/Hamilton duel was featured in Got Milk? TV commercial.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda is the writer and star of Hamilton, a hip-hop-infused musical detailing the life of Alexander Hamilton, currently running at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. Miranda first publicly performed what would become the show's opening number at an evening celebrating poetry and the spoken word at the White House in 2009; that performance can be viewed on youtube.
  • Hamilton appears in the HBO miniseries John Adams, portrayed by Rufus Sewell, particularly during the bit on the Washington Administration. Adams doesn't much care for him, despite being allies against Jefferson. Then again, Adams doesn't much care for a whole lot of people.
  • Hamilton appears in the novel Burr by Gore Vidal where, given the fact that the book features a Historical Hero Upgrade of Aaron Burr into an anti-hero, has a fairly unflattering depiction of Hamilton, unsurprisingly, though it stops short of endorsing his killing.
  • He gets mentioned twice in "Lazy Sunday".
  • He was Cahill from the Ekatrina branch in The 39 Clues. The duel with Burr (a Lucien here) was consider the Mardigals' worst nightmare.
  • Hamilton is a key character in Lucia St. Clair Robsons's novel Shadow Patriots.
  • Hamilton is the second Lord President of the Empire of North America in Look to the West, and his son Philip is an adventurer in Africa.
  • Hamilton is one of the main characters of the I Made America web series.
  • Hamilton appears in his capacity as Washington's aide in The Crossing, where he's a bit quiet but thoroughly capable in both staff functions and fighting Hessians.
  • In the classic alternate history textbook For Want of A Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won At Saratoga, Hamilton joins other surviving rebels in marching west to establish the new nation of Jefferson in the location of present-day Texas.