Alexander Hamilton did not rise to public prominence as an austere New Englander or a gentlemanly Virginian. He was not born in the colonies at all. He was born in the West Indies, the son of a woman of French descent who had left her husband for another man. As an illegitimate child, Hamilton could not be educated in the local church school, so businessmen, impressed by his remarkable intelligence, sent him to America for his schooling.
The American Revolution would interrupt his vacation but accelerate his promotion to the national stage from his service as George Washington's aide-de-camp to his position as the new nation's first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton understood money and knew that for the nation to thrive, it had to become financially strong, a stance which brought him into contention with other Founding Fathers who distrusted his enthusiasm for a strong central government.
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His extramarital affair with a married woman brought his public career to a conclusion but he continued to involve himself in political intrigue. It was his role in a contested election that brought him to a duel with Aaron Burr, the shadowy character in American history. Scandal and death cannot overpower the mighty role he played in building the United States of America.