TDOH: Alexander and Eliza

Note: This is Day Eight of Ten Days of Hamilton. Primer is here

We’ve spoken ad nauseam about the various men in Alexander Hamilton’s life: political enemies, his mentor, and (coming tomorrow) the man who murdered him. Those men helped shape Alexander Hamilton into the person that he was politically, and Hamilton may have latched onto these men because he was abandoned by his father at a young age. But losing his mother at an early age may have also pushed him to strong women in his life, which is evidenced by his marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler.

Elizabeth Schuyler was the second daughter of Philip Schuyler, a general in the Revolutionary War and one of the first senators from New York, and Catherine Van Rensselaer, who was from one of the richest and politically influential families of Colonial New York. This upbringing afforded Eliza and her siblings luxury, but she was much more than just a young women looking to marry well in an era where that was to be expected, and she was nearly an equal partner in her marriage with Alexander Hamilton, whom she met during a brief respite from the War. Continue reading

TDOH: Hamilton and Washington

Note: This is Day Seven of Ten Days of Hamilton. Read this for an explanation.

Thanks to the musical Hamilton, people who care are aware that Alexander Hamilton served as an aide to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. But Washington’s patronage of Hamilton extended beyond this role. According to accounts of the day, Hamilton didn’t encounter Washington until they met during the war. This shouldn’t be unexpected; Washington was older and lived in Virginia, far away from Hamilton in New York.

Washington probably first heard of Hamilton after the latter stole some cannons from the British during the Battle of Princeton. Hamilton became a hot commodity, and others sought him out for “promotion” from the field to their side as an aide, including Nathanael Greene, the American commander in the Southern theater. Fortunately for Washington, Hamilton didn’t want to be a secretary and longed to stay in the field with his men striving for glory. An offer from Washington, however, was too enticing to pass up, and Hamilton served at Washington’s side for just over 4 years.* Continue reading

TDOH: Hamilton and the Army

Note: “Ten Days of Hamilton” is explained here. Today is Day 6. 

As a kid in the Caribbean I wished for a war
I knew that I was poor
I knew that it was the only way to 
Rise up
If they tell my story 
I am either gonna die on the battlefield of glory or
Rise up
I will fight for this land

Hamilton – “Right Hand Man”

As mentioned previously, Alexander Hamilton was born in the Caribbean, far from the fledgling American colonies, though he was tangentially involved in what was going on through his employment with a trading charter. He learned a lot about trade and how the world at the time functioned, but he also had a lot of free time and some very helpful folks that would give him things to read. He filled his free time with reading – and writing – and eventually made it to America and his destiny.

As indicated in the quote above, Hamilton knew that his upbringing would prevent him from attaining the height of society. (He was very prescient in that way). Based on his studies of history, however, he also understood that there were “shortcuts” to the leading class, and that was through the service in the military.* Hamilton arrived in America three years before what would become the Revolutionary War, and began training with a New York volunteer militia company at King’s College (now Columbia University) shortly after the events of Lexington and Concord and in advance of the Declaration of Independence.  Continue reading

TDOH: Hamilton and Jefferson

Note: Check out this post for what is going on this month on this very blog! 

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd POTUS and general pain in the ass to everyone around him

As a person present at the founding of our nation, it should be expected that Alexander Hamilton crossed paths with all the names and faces we know and remember. George Washington. John Adams. James Madison. Even Benedict Arnold makes an appearance close to Hamilton during the Revolution and around the time he became probably the most famous traitor in history.

But no man – even including the man that eventually murdered him in a duel – was more anti-Hamilton than our third president Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson is revered in this country for the things he did before and during his presidency. He wrote the Declaration of Independence. He was our first Secretary of State. While president, the Louisiana Purchase greatly increased the size of our fledgling nation, allowing westward expansion (but also the murder and displacement of our Native people). He founded the University of Virginia. He even died, symbolically, on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, hours before BFF and also former president/Founding Father John Adams.  Continue reading