What Was Alexander Hamilton's Role in Aaron Burr's Presidential Defeat?

What Was Alexander Hamilton's Role in Aaron Burr's Presidential Defeat?



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As the presidential election of 1800 approached, Americans were more divided than ever before. The incumbent President John Adams faced off against Vice President Thomas Jefferson, the former secretary of state and author of the Declaration of Independence.

To Jefferson and his supporters in the rising Democratic-Republican (or Republican) opposition, building the strong national government favored by Adams’s Federalist Party meant trampling on the rights of states and individuals, and destroying the revolutionary freedom on which the nation had been founded.

At the time, there was no popular vote, and no separate ballots for presidential and vice presidential candidates. Electors from each of the 16 states in the Union each cast two votes; the candidate who received the most votes became president, while the runner-up became vice president. This undeniably flawed system had led to Jefferson becoming Adams’s VP in 1796, after losing the nation’s first contested presidential race by just three electoral votes.

In the 1800 election—a drawn-out battle between two starkly different visions of America’s future—it would cause an outright constitutional crisis.

A Historic Tie Between Jefferson and Burr

Voting in 1800 took place over a period of months, and the campaign, which was largely fought in the nation’s partisan press, got really nasty. Republican newspaper editor James Callender notoriously accused Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character,” while a Federalist writer named “Burleigh” claimed that if Jefferson won, “murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest, will openly be taught and practiced.”

By mid-December 1800, it was clear Jefferson and his running mate, Aaron Burr, had beaten out the Federalist ticket of Adams and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. But there was a problem: At least Republican one elector had been expected to withhold his vote from Burr to allow Jefferson to come out ahead. None of them did, and each man had received exactly 73 electoral votes.

A Federalist Plot to Thwart Jefferson

The tie sent the election to the lame-duck House of Representatives, where Federalists dominated. Though public opinion favored Jefferson, many Federalists decided to throw their support to Burr, hoping to keep Jefferson from the nation’s highest office. Burr refused to confirm that he would turn down the presidency if the House voted in his favor, leading some people to conclude that he was secretly angling for the job.

Alexander Hamilton was one of these people. Though he disagreed with Jefferson on nearly every political issue, he thought Burr had few principles beyond his own ambition. In a fierce letter-writing campaign that would continue from mid-December through late January 1801, Hamilton worked hard to convince his fellow Federalists of this fact.

“There is no doubt, but that, upon every virtuous and prudent calculation, Jefferson is to be preferred," he wrote to Oliver Wolcott Jr. on December 16. “He is by far not so dangerous a man and he has pretensions to character.”

But Hamilton had lost much of his influence among fellow Federalists due to his vicious attacks on Adams (as well as scandal in his personal life). By the time, the House began voting on February 11, 1801, Hamilton’s concerns about Burr had failed to sway many members of his party.

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The Deciding Vote

The Constitution mandated that each state’s delegation in the House vote as a single bloc to decide the election. This put a great deal of power in the hands of one man: Delaware Federalist James A. Bayard, who was the lone representative of his state in 1800. If Bayard changed his vote, his state changed its vote.

In the first ballot—and the 34 that followed over the next five days—Bayard cast Delaware’s vote for Burr, giving him six states to Jefferson’s eight. The delegations from Vermont and Maryland were split evenly, so they didn’t vote.

With no clear winner emerging, the nation hovered on the brink of chaos. Republican newspapers fanned the flames by suggesting possible military intervention, and groups of unofficial Republican and Federalist militia began to drill in preparation for a potential civil war.

Meanwhile, Bayard (possibly due to the influence of Hamilton, who had written to him on January 16 arguing that Burr was a “man of extreme & irregular ambition”) was reconsidering his position. According to historian Ron Chernow, Bayard suggested in a caucus that he might vote for Jefferson to prevent a constitutional crisis. After other Federalists shouted him down with cries of “Deserter!”

Bayard met with two of Jefferson’s friends, John Nicholas of Virginia and Samuel Smith of Maryland. He sought to confirm that as president, Jefferson would leave certain Federalist policies, including Hamilton’s financial system, and officeholders in place.

After getting tacit assurance that Jefferson was in agreement with these terms, Bayard submitted a blank ballot during the 36th round of voting, on February 17, 1801. Federalists also stepped aside in Vermont and Maryland, allowing those state delegations to vote for Jefferson and sealing his victory, just two weeks before Inauguration Day.

Lasting Impact of the Election of 1800

Jefferson later wrote that his victory in 1800 was “as real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 76 was in it’s form.” Federalists would never win another presidential race, and by 1815 had ceased to exist as a party. With Republicans firmly in control of the government, the 12th Amendment was passed by the end of Jefferson’s first term, amending the electoral process and separating the election of president and vice president.

The election of 1800 figures prominently in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton, serving as the catalyst for the fatal clash between Hamilton and Burr in 1804. In real life, the sequence of events was more complicated, but the fallout from 1800 certainly played a significant role in the two men’s lives.

Hamilton’s stature within his party declined further after Jefferson’s election, even as Federalism itself lost influence. Meanwhile, after Jefferson declined to give his new VP any influence in his administration, and dropped him from the ticket in the next election, Burr ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York.

When rumors reached Burr that Hamilton had spoken out against him during that campaign, the long-simmering tensions between them escalated, culminating in the duel that killed Hamilton in July 1804.


Legacy

Hamilton's interpretations of the Constitution set forth in the Federalist Papers remain highly influential, as seen in scholarly studies and court decisions. [163]

Though the Constitution was ambiguous as to the exact balance of power between national and state governments, Hamilton consistently took the side of greater federal power at the expense of the states. [164] As Secretary of the Treasury, he established—against the intense opposition of Secretary of State Jefferson—the country's first national bank. Hamilton justified the creation of this bank, and other increased federal powers, under Congress's constitutional powers to issue currency, to regulate interstate commerce, and to do anything else that would be "necessary and proper" to enact the provisions of the Constitution. Jefferson, on the other hand, took a stricter view of the Constitution: parsing the text carefully, he found no specific authorization for a national bank. This controversy was eventually settled by the Supreme Court of the United States in McCulloch v. Maryland, which in essence adopted Hamilton's view, granting the federal government broad freedom to select the best means to execute its constitutionally enumerated powers, specifically the doctrine of implied powers. [165] Nevertheless, the American Civil War and the Progressive Era demonstrated the sorts of crises and politics Hamilton's administrative republic sought to avoid. [166]

Hamilton's policies as Secretary of the Treasury greatly affected the United States government and still continue to influence it. His constitutional interpretation, specifically of the Necessary and Proper Clause, set precedents for federal authority that are still used by the courts and are considered an authority on constitutional interpretation. The prominent French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, who spent 1794 in the United States, wrote, "I consider Napoleon, Fox, and Hamilton the three greatest men of our epoch, and if I were forced to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation the first place to Hamilton", adding that Hamilton had intuited the problems of European conservatives. [167]

Opinions of Hamilton have run the gamut: both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson viewed him as unprincipled and dangerously aristocratic. Hamilton's reputation was mostly negative in the eras of Jeffersonian democracy and Jacksonian democracy. However, by the Progressive era, Herbert Croly, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Theodore Roosevelt praised his leadership of a strong government. Several nineteenth- and twentieth-century Republicans entered politics by writing laudatory biographies of Hamilton. [168]

In more recent years, according to Sean Wilentz, favorable views of Hamilton and his reputation have decidedly gained the initiative among scholars, who portray him as the visionary architect of the modern liberal capitalist economy and of a dynamic federal government headed by an energetic executive. [169] Modern scholars favoring Hamilton have portrayed Jefferson and his allies, in contrast, as naïve, dreamy idealists. [169] The older Jeffersonian view attacked Hamilton as a centralizer, sometimes to the point of accusations that he advocated monarchy. [1] : 397–98

Monuments and memorials

Portraits on currency and postage stamps

Since the beginning of the American Civil War, Hamilton has been depicted on more denominations of U.S. currency than anyone else. He has appeared on the $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $1,000 notes. Hamilton also appears on the $500 Series EE Savings Bond.

Hamilton's portrait has been featured on the front of the U.S. $10 bill since 1928. The source of the engraving is John Trumbull's 1805 portrait of Hamilton, in the portrait collection of New York City Hall. [170] In June 2015, the U.S. Treasury announced a decision to replace the engraving of Hamilton with that of a woman however, before the bill was actually redesigned, the decision was changed due to the unanticipated popular success of the 2015 Broadway musical Hamilton. [171]

The first postage stamp to honor Hamilton was issued by the U.S. Post Office in 1870. The portrayals on the 1870 and 1888 issues are from the same engraved die, which was modeled after a bust of Hamilton by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi. [172] The Hamilton 1870 issue was the first U.S. postage stamp to honor a Secretary of the Treasury. The three-cent red commemorative issue, which was released on the 200th anniversary of Hamilton's birth in 1957, includes a rendition of the Federal Hall building, located in New York City. [173] On March 19, 1956, the United States Postal Service issued the $5 Liberty Issue postage stamp honoring Hamilton. [174]

The Grange

The Grange is the only home Alexander Hamilton ever owned. It is a Federal style mansion designed by John McComb Jr.. It was built on Hamilton's 32-acre country estate in Hamilton Heights in upper Manhattan, and was completed in 1802. Hamilton named the house "The Grange" after the estate of his grandfather Alexander in Ayrshire, Scotland. The house remained in the family until 1833, when his widow Eliza sold it to Thomas E. Davis, a British-born real estate developer, for $25,000. [175] Part of the proceeds were used by Eliza to purchase a new townhouse from Davis in Greenwich Village (now known as the Hamilton-Holly House, where Eliza lived until 1843 with her grown children Alexander and Eliza, and their spouses). [175]

The Grange was first moved from its original location in 1889, and was moved again in 2008 to a spot in St. Nicholas Park in Hamilton Heights, on land that was once part of the Hamilton estate. The historic structure, now designated as the Hamilton Grange National Memorial, was restored to its original 1802 appearance in 2011, [176] and is maintained by the National Park Service. [177] [178] [179]

Colleges and universities

Columbia University, Hamilton's alma mater, has official memorials to Hamilton on its campus in New York City. The college's main classroom building for the humanities is Hamilton Hall, and a large statue of Hamilton stands in front of it. [180] [181] The university press has published his complete works in a multivolume letterpress edition. [182] Columbia University's student group for ROTC cadets and Marine officer candidates is named the Alexander Hamilton Society. [183]

Hamilton served as one of the first trustees of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy in Clinton, New York, which was renamed Hamilton College in 1812, after receiving a college charter. [184]

The main administration building of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, is named Hamilton Hall to commemorate Hamilton's creation of the United States Revenue Cutter Service, one of the predecessor services of the United States Coast Guard. [185]

Buildings and public art

At Hamilton's birthplace in Charlestown, Nevis, the Alexander Hamilton Museum is located in Hamilton House, a Georgian-style building rebuilt on the foundations of the house where Hamilton is believed to have been born and to have lived during his childhood. [186] The second floor of Hamilton House hosts the offices and meeting place of the island's legislature, the Nevis Island Assembly.

In 1880, Hamilton's son John Church Hamilton commissioned Carl Conrads to sculpt a granite statue, now located in Central Park, New York City. [187] [188]

A bronze statue of Hamilton by Franklin Simmons, dated 1905–06, overlooks the Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in New Jersey.

In 1990, the U.S. Custom House in New York City was renamed after Hamilton. [189]

The U.S. Army's Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn is named after Hamilton.

In Washington, D.C., the south terrace of the Treasury Building features a statue of Hamilton by James Earle Fraser, which was dedicated on May 17, 1923. [190]

In Chicago, a thirteen-foot tall statue of Hamilton by sculptor John Angel was cast in 1939. [191] It was not installed at Lincoln Park until 1952, due to problems with a controversial 78-foot tall columned shelter designed for it and later demolished in 1993. [191] [192] The statue has remained on public display, and was restored and regilded in 2016. [191]

A bronze sculpture of Hamilton titled The American Cape, by Kristen Visbal, was unveiled at Journal Square in downtown Hamilton, Ohio, in October 2004. [193]

Geographic sites

Numerous American towns and cities, including Hamilton, Kansas, Hamilton, Missouri, Hamilton, Massachusetts, and Hamilton, Ohio, were named in honor of Alexander Hamilton. In eight states, counties have been named for Hamilton: [194]

On slavery

Hamilton is not known to have ever owned slaves, although members of his family were slave owners. At the time of her death, Hamilton's mother owned two slaves named Christian and Ajax, and she had written a will leaving them to her sons however, due to their illegitimacy, Hamilton and his brother were held ineligible to inherit her property, and never took ownership of the slaves. [195] : 17 Later, as a youth in St. Croix, Hamilton worked for a company trading in commodities that included slaves. [195] : 17 During his career, Hamilton did occasionally purchase or sell slaves for others as their legal representative, and one of Hamilton's grandsons interpreted some of these journal entries as being purchases for himself. [196] [197]

By the time of Hamilton's early participation in the American Revolution, his abolitionist sensibilities had become evident. Hamilton was active during the Revolution in trying to raise black troops for the army, with the promise of freedom. In the 1780s and 1790s he generally opposed pro-slavery southern interests, which he saw as hypocritical to the values of the American Revolution. In 1785 he joined his close associate John Jay in founding the New-York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves, and Protecting Such of Them as Have Been, or May be Liberated, the main anti-slavery organization in New York. The society successfully promoted the abolition of the international slave trade in New York City and (shortly after his death) passed a state law to end slavery in New York through a decades-long process of emancipation, with a final end to slavery in the state on July 4, 1827. [195]

At a time when most white leaders doubted the capacity of blacks, Hamilton believed slavery was morally wrong and wrote that "their natural faculties are as good as ours." [198] Unlike contemporaries such as Jefferson, who considered the removal of freed slaves (to a western territory, the West Indies, or Africa) to be essential to any plan for emancipation, Hamilton pressed for emancipation with no such provisions. [195] : 22 Hamilton and other Federalists supported Toussaint Louverture's revolution against France in Haiti, which had originated as a slave revolt. [195] : 23 Hamilton's suggestions helped shape the Haitian constitution, and when Haiti became the Western Hemisphere's first independent black nation in 1804, Hamilton urged closer economic and diplomatic ties. [195] : 23

On economics

Hamilton has been portrayed as the "patron saint" of the American School of economic philosophy that, according to one historian, dominated economic policy after 1861. [199]   He firmly supported government intervention in favor of business, after the manner of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, as early as the fall of 1781. [1] : 170 [200] [201]   Hamilton opposed the British ideas of free trade, which he believed skewed benefits to colonial and imperial powers, in favor of protectionism, which he believed would help develop the fledgling nation's emerging economy.  Henry C. Carey was inspired by his writings.  Hamilton influenced the ideas and work of the German Friedrich List. [202]   In Hamilton's view, a strong executive, linked to the support of the people, could become the linchpin of an administrative republic. [203]   The dominance of executive leadership in the formulation and carrying out of policy was essential to resist the deterioration of republican government. [204]   Ian Patrick Austin has explored the similarities between Hamiltonian recommendations and the development of Meiji Japan after 1860. [205]

In popular culture

Apart from the $10 bill, a 1917 play, and a 1931 film, Hamilton did not attract much attention in American popular culture [206] until the advent of the 2015 hit Broadway musical Hamilton. The musical, which features music, lyrics, and a book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is based on a biography by Ron Chernow. The New Yorker called the show "an achievement of historical and cultural reimagining. In Miranda's telling, the headlong rise of one self-made immigrant becomes the story of America." [207]   The off-Broadway production of Hamilton won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical as well as seven other Drama Desk Awards.  In 2016, Hamilton received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a record 16 Tony nominations, [208] winning 11 of them including Best Musical. [209]

Hamilton has also appeared as a significant figure in popular works focusing on other American political figures of his time. He is a major character in Gore Vidal's 1973 historical novel Burr [210] [211] and in episodes of the 1976 PBS miniseries The Adams Chronicles. [212] Hamilton was played by Rufus Sewell in two episodes of a further TV portrayal of John Adams' life, the 2008 seven part HBO miniseries John Adams with Paul Giamatti in the title role. [213] Hamilton is a major villain in L. Neil Smith's libertarian alternative history series "North American Confederacy".


Alexander Hamilton’s Life

The Life of Alexander Hamilton A Research Paper Alexander Hamilton was one of the founding fathers of America.He helped developed the first financial system in America, fought in the revolutionary war and up to his death influenced many of the founder fathers in shaping the country.

He fought in the revolutionary war, and participated in the politics of the newly formed countryDespite everything he had accomplished in his life and what he left behind, many people know very little about his life and influences. When Alexander Hamilton immigrated to the thirteen colonies in 1772, he found himself in the middle of the civil unrest that the colonist had toward England.During the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, Hamilton wrote many essays about revolting and spoke out against the British.His involvement in the early years of the revolution lead him to become captain of the Provincial Artillery in 1776.As captain he was assigned the duty to protect New York.

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As the war went on Hamilton became Aide de’ Camp with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel and because he could speak both french and english,Liaison Officer for George Washington and the French Generals who were aiding the colonist.Despite rising in rank and being eager to see the front lines, Alexander was left out of the physical fighting and did more desk work.It was not until after 1781, Washington gave him command of a battalion and allowed him to lead the successful assault at Yorktown. After the war was won, George Washington asked Hamilton to be first treasurer of his cabinet.Upon becoming treasurer, he immediately wanted to establish a stable financial program for the United States.On January 14th and December 13th 1790, Hamilton submitted the “Reports on Public Credit”.

Inside the reports he stated that the central government should pay the state’s debts acquired during the revolutionary war.In his eyes since every state had acquired debts as a result of the war, the government should simply pay it off in full.By doing so it would show just how strong the central government was in the new country. On December 14th 1790 Hamilton also submitted the “Report on a National Bank”.In it he drafted a national bank plan called “Bank of the United States.”He hoped that the government would charter the bank to regulate currency.

During his time in Washington’s cabinet, Alexander Hamilton had affiliations with various political parties and its members.In the beginning he had agreed with Washington that political parties were not needed in the government. Even though he had initially held this stance, Hamilton went on the be in charge of the Federalist party.Once he became the head of the federalist -partymany feuds began to break out among various political figures, including Thomas Jefferson.Jefferson’s and Hamilton’s feud began to surface when Hamilton started to interfere with Jefferson policies as secretary of state.

The main issue that arose between the two was if America should get involved in the French Revolution. Jefferson, who highly favored the french, thought that the government should provide aide to the French. Hamilton however thought that America shouldn’t get involved at all and was able to convince Washington to declare a statement of neutrality. On January 31st 1795 Hamilton left Washington’s cabinet.Right before he left he had helped Washington draft his farewell address.

In the years that followed he would continue to help and advise the new president John Adams and his cabinet members, despite not actually being in the cabinet itself. This led John Adams to start disliking Hamilton, for fear of his influence over political matters.As a result he had gotten ridden of any Hamilton supporters and “spies”from his cabinet.In retaliation over this matter,Alexander worked to stop Adams from getting reelected which worked.With Adams out of the picture, this left room for Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson getting the same number of votes during the Election of 1800.

Hamilton vouched for Jefferson’s presidency over Burr, a move that upset the other members of the Federalist party who favored Burr.After this his career with the Federalist was essentially over. A few years prior to the Election, however Hamilton also suffered another career ending blow.In 1797 Alexander Hamilton published The Reynolds Pamphlet documenting his affair with Maria Reynolds ,which would go on the be known as the first sex-scandal of America.Leading up to the publishing he had started an affair with Mrs.

Reynolds who then claimed he husband had abandoned her.Her Husband, James Reynolds, found out about the fair and blackmailed Hamilton into paying him to keep quiet about the affair, and to let it continue.Soon many people began to become suspicious that Hamilton was becoming corrupt and extorting federal funds.Hamilton published the pamphlet to prove that he was not corrupted at all.Once it was published his reputation began to sour, which only worsened during the Election of 1800.

When the election was over, Aaron Burr began to have a deep hatred for Alexander Hamilton.He felt upset that Hamilton vouched for Jefferson’s candidacy over his.Despite this defeat he later decided to run for governor of New York. At this pointHamilton was soactively against Burr having any political power that he began to be public about it.With Hamilton constantly speaking out against Burr, he ended up not getting the position.

Sometime after losing yet another election, Aaron heard that Alexander was still making some negative remarks about him.This lead to Burr challenging Hamilton to a duel on July 11th 1804. which ended up in him getting challenged to a duel.The duel took place in Weehawken, New Jersey.While there are many different accounts on what actually happened on the dueling grounds, Alexander Hamilton died from a gunshot to the stomach as a result of the conflict.

He left behind a wife and seven children. Alexander Hamilton had accomplished so many things in his life.Starting his life as a poor immigrant he rose above his station to one of the most influential people in America.He dedicated so much of his life to serving and better America, that the country today as we know it would be completely different if a young Alexander Hamilton had chosen to not get involved with the war and its people.He is truly is one of America’s greatest founding fathers. Works cited .

Bonanos, Christopher. “Read the Actual Reynolds Pamphlet From Hamilton, Page by Original Page.” Vulture. N.p.

, 13 Jan. 2016. Web. 25 May 2016. Serratore, Angela. “Alexander Hamilton.

” Smithsonian. N.p., June-July 2013. Web.

12 May 2016. “Maria Reynolds.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web.

12 May 2016. Cavendish, Richard. “Birth of Alexander Hamilton.” History Today. N.p.

, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. “Major General Alexander Hamilton.” Ushistory.

org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. “Alexander Hamilton.

” Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web.

16 May 2016. “American Experience Alexander Hamilton.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web.

16 May 2016. Biography.com Editors. “Alexander Hamilton.” Bio.com. A Networks Television, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

History.com Staff. “Alexander Hamilton.” History.com. A Television Networks, 01 Jan.

2009. Web. 19 May 2016. “Alexander Hamilton.” Alexander Hamilton.

19 May 2016. “Hamilton’s Financial Plan.” Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d.

Web. 19 May 2016. DeConde, Alexander. “Alexander Hamilton.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online.


Eliza had pedigree, money and status while Hamilton had none

Hamilton’s prospects were far less promising. He was born c. 1755 on the island of Nevis, in the British West Indies. His mother, Rachel Faucette, had been born there to British and French Huguenot parents. He was born out of wedlock, a status that his political opponents would later seize on. Because his mother had never divorced her first husband, Hamilton’s father, James, abandoned the family, likely to prevent Rachel from being charged with bigamy. A single mother, Rachel struggled to provide for Alexander and his brother before she died in 1768, leaving him an orphan.

But while Hamilton came from an impoverished background, he had two key traits that would help propel him to the top — intelligence and ambition. He found work at a local import-export firm, where he quickly impressed his bosses. A lifelong reader who was largely self-educated, he soon set his sights far beyond his tiny island home. In 1772, after writing a powerful essay describing the devastation inflicted on Nevis by a recent hurricane, a group of local businessmen took up a collection to send young Hamilton to America to continue his education.


Family Life

Alexander married Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of prominent New York general and politician Phillip Schuyler. Despite Alexander’s infamous extramarital affair, Elizabeth remained a steadfast supporter of her husband. She outlived him by more than 50 years, and tirelessly advocated for his inclusion in the annals of American history.

Historians have also noted Alexander was close with Elizabeth’s many siblings, especially Angelica (with whom he’s rumored to have had an affair) and Margaret “Peggy.” Angelica plays a large role in the Hamilton musical, which takes some creative liberties with her timeline. (Unlike in the musical, Angelica had already married John Barker Church when she met Alexander.)


Alexander Hamilton, American and Duel

On the Mount Rushmore of our collective memory, the faces of many of the nation's founders loom as large weathered archetypes--unchanging men of granite who shaped the American Revolution and the new republic. In reality, of course, these individuals were complicated and sometimes less than admirable. Gore Vidal, in his novel Burr, famously capitalized on the shock value of portraying them as flesh-and-blood politicians. He brought them to life as figures who would be familiar to any modern statehouse reporter in, say, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, or Little Rock, Arkansas.

If Vidal parodied our esteemed founders a bit, well, he was probably closer to the truth than the more familiar versions of them as Olympians who temporarily graced us with their presence and whose every utterance should be viewed as a permanent guide to the future.

Political leaders over the past 200 years have not been bashful about appropriating, reinterpreting, and even reinventing aspects of the founders' thinking. Their ideas, like the Constitution itself, have been adapted to fit the needs of each succeeding generation and almost every ideology in American politics. We hold our founders up to the light of contemporary conditions and, all too often, see what we want to see. To be fair, I should note that some of the central figures of this period lend themselves to differing interpretations. Madison, for example, wavered from founding Federalist to rabid anti-Federalist before settling on the latter. Modern politicians have needed only a knack for selectivity to be able to make the claim that their arguments are firmly grounded in the principles of a founder.

For most of our history, when the authority of a founder was sought, Alexander Hamilton was a second stringer, brought in only when members of the first team, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and John Marshall, were worn out from over-use. In Alexander Hamilton, American, Richard Brookhiser makes a persuasive case that Hamilton, in fact, deserves a place on the all-star team of national memory. Thomas Fleming's treatment, Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Future of America, while telling a considerably broader story, also confirms the significance of Hamilton.

Brookhiser gives us a sense of the extent to which Hamilton's imprints on the early republic are everywhere. His remarkable rise from West Indies apprentice and son of a single mother to wartime aide to George Washington and secretary of the treasury is itself a peculiarly American story. His central role with Madison in drafting the Federalist Papers and fighting for ratification of the Constitution is probably the best-known part of his career. Still, as treasury secretary, he showed even greater foresight and originality.

Although Hamilton had great suppleness of mind--he was perhaps the best lawyer in America at the time of his death--his views were remarkably consistent and coherent. He had a clear vision of the new nation and believed that it could learn much from British economic policy and governmental practice. That attraction to things British was abhorrent to many of his contemporaries, notably Jefferson and Madison.

Ironically, what set Hamilton on an ultimately fatal collision course with Aaron Burr was his effort on behalf of his great enemy Jefferson in 1800. With the electoral college tied between Democratic-Republican presidential candidate Jefferson and vice presidential candidate Burr, the question of who would assume the presidency was very much in the air. Party politics was in its infancy when Burr was widely believed to be attempting to convince Federalist electors that throwing their support to him would be infinitely preferable to four years of the thoroughly anti-Federalist sage of Monticello. Hamilton, then a giant among Federalists, mounted a spirited and successful inside game to deny Burr the presidency.

Jefferson, of course, never forgave Burr and, rather ungenerously, never stopped hating Hamilton. Later, in 1804, after four years of machinations as vice president, Burr was grasping at straws to save his political career and went to Jefferson for help. Knowing that he would not be selected for vice president by Jefferson a second time, he sought in vain to obtain a presidential promise of office--his eye was particularly on either the ambassadorship to France or the one to England. But Jefferson would have none of it, and the frustrated Burr turned to his fallback: a race for governor of New York, a move that led a few years later to the crucial meeting on the "field of honor" with Hamilton.

While the Burr-Hamilton feud resulted in the latter's death, the same bullet also ended, in a sense, the former vice president's career. True, Burr lived on until 1836, but his falling out with Jefferson, the duel, and his subsequent flirtation with an independent "empire" in the West meant that he never again played in the upper echelons of American power. And although Hamilton was lionized at death, the long Virginia dynasty of his enemies--Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe--ensured that he too, at least for a time, would be remembered as an opponent of democracy rather than as a martyr to principle.

But in the long run, it was Hamiltonism that turned out to be the wave of the future. Free trade, a national banking system, a constructively deployed national debt, a strong military, publicly sponsored economic development programs, and other elements of his program are, in fact, the pillars on which the modern nation stands. Even his fondness for the British turned out to anticipate the "special relationship" between the two nations that has been a centerpiece of American foreign policy for generations.

Brookhiser's account is lively, with plenty of detail about Hamilton's wartime exploits, the sex scandal that threatened to engulf him, and the machinations of Jefferson, former friend Madison, and Monroe that helped to finish off his chances for public office. Although Brookhiser is a National Review conservative, he doesn't wear his ideological heart on his sleeve in this book. Fleming's Duel is likewise free of heavy-handed messages, at least beyond the moral that American politics has never been for the faint of heart.

While their stories are anything but new, both Brookhiser and Fleming manage to bring their historical figures to life as humans in the round without sacrificing authenticity or accuracy. The story of the early years of the United States needs this kind of fleshing out with real people. Some of the important decisions of the era reflect the deep personal animosities as well as loyalties among those in the political class. In other words, government policies then, as now, did not exist in isolation from the personalities battling for power and reputation. One can easily go too far in this direction--certainly that is the case with contemporary political reporting. In the end, it's the policies that matter. They endure in a way that is more significant than all the fanciful anecdotes about cherry trees and real accounts of duels to the death. While it may be true that Burr and Hamilton were doing no more than what many politicians would do to their enemies, the law and culture permitting, that does not change the fact that they also were establishing a foundation of laws and tradition that has had a lasting impact on our nation. Clearly, Hamilton is a giant in that respect while Burr is merely a minor player in the policy drama.

Brookhiser and Fleming provide accounts of this key period that are accessible to nonspecialists. Readers who find their appetites whetted by these books can find more in-depth coverage in the recent work of first-rate historians like Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick (The Age of Federalism) and Lance Banning (The Sacred Fire of Liberty).

In the end, these books remind us that the founders were a special crowd, for all their foibles. Like the best and brightest of any age, these men tell us a lot about their time. And because they cast such long shadows, they reveal a good deal about our own era. These days, Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton are particularly in play in policy debates. And even Washington, thanks to several new biographies, may be poised to make a comeback to relevance. Those who make political arguments today based on precedents that are two centuries old almost invariably overlook the bitter differences among the founders. They quote them selectively, applying their wisdom inappropriately to contemporary issues that these sages of the eighteenth century could not have imagined.

One of the legends about another Alexander, Alexander the Great, is that his lieutenants, all vying to succeed him, struggled over who would get possession of his body. Something similar happens with the body of work left behind by our founding leaders. Since the struggle for patrimony is sure to continue, it's worth remembering that Alexander Hamilton, the remarkable immigrant son of an unmarried mother, has every right to be considered one of the true fathers of modern America.


When Hamilton's mother died, she left two slave boys to him in his inheritance.

Hamilton was only 12 years old when his mother died and left him orphaned. She gave him the remainder of her property, including two young slaves named Christian and Ajax, according to an article by James Oliver Horton, professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University, in The New York Journal of American History. But, because Hamilton and his brother James Jr. were both illegitimate children, they did not receive their inheritance. The court determined they had no right of inheritance, and awarded her estate to her legitimate son and a cousin, according to Chernow's account The Guardian reported.

Hamilton grew up amidst slavery on the Caribbean island of St. Croix and described the brutality of what he saw, per research from Columbia University. However, Hamilton later took over operations of the entire St. Croix branch of Beekman & Cruger, an import-export business that engaged in the African slave trade and sugar. At a young age, Hamilton participated indirectly in buying and selling human beings, per the The New York Journal of American History.


Hamilton, Alexander

Alexander Hamilton, as a lawyer, politician, and statesman, left an enduring impression on U.S. government. His birth was humble, his death tragic. His professional life was spent forming basic political and economic institutions for a stronger nation. As a New York delegate at the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton advocated certain powers for the central government. His principles led to his rise as chief spokesperson for the Federalist Party. The party had a short life span, but Hamilton's beliefs carried on through his famous federalist papers. In these documents he advocated broad constitutional powers for the federal government, including national defense and finance. According to Hamilton, a lesser degree of individual human liberties and Civil Rights would follow federal powers. His deemphasis of freedom put him at odds with other Founders, especially Thomas Jefferson's Democrats. However, he backed his beliefs with a strong record of public service from the Revolution onward. Through his contributions in the U.S. Army, in the Treasury Department, and as a lawyer, many still recognize him as a commanding architect of the United States government.

Hamilton was born January 11, 1757, on Nevis Island, in the West Indies. His parents never married. His father, the son of a minor Scottish noble, drifted to the West Indies early in his life and worked odd jobs throughout the Caribbean. His mother died in the Indies when he was eleven. Hamilton spent his early years in poverty, traveling to different islands with his father. At the age of fourteen, while visiting the island of St. Croix, he met a New York trader who recognized his natural intelligence and feisty spirit. The trader made it possible for Hamilton to go to New York in pursuit of an education.

Hamilton attended a preparatory school in New Jersey and developed contacts with men who had created a movement seeking colonial independence. When he later entered King's College (now Columbia University), he became active in the local patriot movement. The American Revolution had been brewing in the background, and Hamilton took a keen interest in the battles that flared between the colonists and the British around Boston in 1775. Instead of graduating from college, he opted to join a volunteer militia company.

He reported for orders to General George Washington's chief of artillery, Colonel Henry Knox. In his duties, Hamilton assisted in the famous crossing of the ice-jammed Delaware River on Christmas Night, 1776. Knox called Hamilton to Washington's attention. In March 1777, Hamilton was appointed aide to the commander in chief. With Washington, Hamilton learned his first lessons on the need for central administration in dealing with crises.

He also took advantage of his contacts with General Philip Schuyler, a wealthy and influential man within the military. In March 1780, Schuyler's young daughter, Elizabeth Schuyler, agreed to marry Hamilton. The relationship provided Hamilton with both additional contacts inside U.S. politics and generous financial gifts from his father-in-law.

"R eal liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments ."
𠅊 lexander H amilton

Hamilton came to resent the limits of his position as aide to Washington and aspired to greater challenges. A minor reprimand afforded him the opportunity to resign from his services in April 1781. Hamilton had already received an education beyond anything that King's or any other college could have offered. However, he went to New York with his wife and took up the study of law in early 1782. In July of that year, he was admitted to the bar.

As a lawyer and as an intellectual who commanded growing respect, Hamilton represented New York in the Continental Congress of 1782, in Philadelphia. Here, he spoke with an ally, a young Virginian, James Madison.The two expounded on the merits of strong central administration. Most of the other delegates represented the common fears of citizens in the United States𠅊pprehensions about the abusive tendencies of strong central powers and, more important, the possibility of oppression in the future. Hamilton and Madison failed to sway a majority of the delegates to vote for their ideas. In the end, the Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, a body of principles intended to knit the new states into a union that was only loosely defined.

Hamilton left Philadelphia frustrated. He returned to New York, built a thriving law practice, and gained fame as a legal theorist. In 1787, he spent a term in the New York Legislature and joined the movement designed to create a new Constitution. During this time, Madison and John Jay𠅊 future chief justice on the U.S. Supreme Court—helped Hamilton draft a series of essays called The Federalist Papers. The essays stand as fundamental statements of U.S. political philosophy.

The Articles of Confederation had already begun to show inadequacies, as the federal government had no real power to collect the money necessary for its own defense. The authors of The Federalist Papers argued that a strong federal government would constitute not a tyranny but an improvement over the current system of relatively weak rule. Their arguments helped allay the commonly held fears about central power.

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Hamilton again served as a delegate from New York. This time, his ideas were received with more favor. In the drafting of the new Constitution, and the creation of a more effective government, many of Hamilton's Federalist beliefs came into play. In the area of defense, for example, Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution read, "The Congress shall have Power … To raise and support Armies … To provide and maintain a Navy … To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia." The role of the government in raising finances to do these things would put Hamilton's ideas to the test.

Hamilton took on the test personally. In 1789, when President Washington began to assemble the new federal government, he asked Hamilton to become the nation's first secretary of the treasury. For the following six years, Hamilton developed a fiscal and economic system based on a national coinage, a national banking system, a revenue program to provide for the repayment of the national debt, and measures to encourage industrial and commercial development. He sought a vigorous, diversified economy that would also provide the nation with the means to defend itself. He stirred a considerable amount of controversy with certain proposals, such as the need for tariffs on imports, several kinds of excise taxes, the development of natural resources, a friendship with England, and opposition to France during the French Revolution. However, without such a concrete agenda, many historians have argued, the United States could not have survived its years of initial development.

Because of Hamilton's decisive stance on some issues, a split occurred between, and even within, political parties. Hamilton and John Adams spoke the ideas of the Federalists. Madison joined Jefferson in the Democratic-Republican Party. Even though Hamilton had previously worked alongside Secretary of State Jefferson, the two were now, as Washington noted, "daily pitted in the cabinet like two cocks." Hamilton stressed the need for a strong central government, while Jefferson emphasized individuals' rights. Their rivalry, among the most famous political clashes in U.S. history, led to a significant and ongoing level of frustration for both sides. Because of the deadlock, Hamilton retired from his secretarial position in 1795 and returned to the practice of law.

Through his service in government and his connections with the Schuyler family, Hamilton became a prominent and prosperous lawyer. His practice extended to wealthy clients in New York and in other states, both individuals and partnerships. It resembled the practices of modern corporate lawyers, since he also represented banks and companies.

The bulk of his civil practice took place in maritime litigation, which boomed with European interests in the U.S. market. His most important admiralty case involved the sale and export to Europe of large quantities of cotton and indigo. Defendants Gouveneur and Kemble had incurred damages to the head merchant in their trade, Le Guen. Hamilton took on the case as attorney for Le Guen. He was assisted by Aaron Burr, with whom he had worked in New York.

In Le Guen v. Gouveneur, Hamilton helped the merchant successfully sue his agents for $120,000𠅊t the time, one of the largest awards in a personal damage suit. James Kent, chancellor of the New York bar, remembered Hamilton's performance in the trial as displaying "his reasoning powers … his piercing criticism, his masterly analysis, and … his appeals to the judgment and conscience of the tribunal." A grateful Le Guen wanted to pay Hamilton a fee commensurate with the size of the judgment. Hamilton refused anything more than $1,500. Burr took a much larger fee at his own discretion. This was the beginning of strained developments between Hamilton and Burr that would result in a future, climactic confrontation.

As a private citizen, Hamilton had amassed considerable power. In letters to politicians and newspapers, he continued to make a number of government-related proposals. At least four of them figured into future developments in the U.S. political structure. First, he suggested dividing each state into judicial districts as subdivisions of the federal government's judicial branch. Second, he proposed consolidating the federal government's revenues, ships, troops, officers, and supplies as assets under its control. Third, he pushed for the enlargement of the legal powers of the government by making certain already existing laws permanent, particularly the law authorizing the government to summon militias to counteract subversive activities and insurrections. Finally, he proposed the addition of laws that would give the courts power to punish Sedition. Through letters to leaders and citizens, as through his Federalist Papers, Hamilton's ideas were received, although not always easily, into the political mainstream.

In 1798 the United States prepared for war with France. Hamilton decided to rejoin the Army as a major general. He was assigned the additional duties of inspector general until 1800. In 1800, Jefferson campaigned for president with Hamilton's former partner in the Le Guen settlement, Burr, as his running mate. The two received identical numbers of electoral votes for the 1800 presidential election. At that time all candidates ran for the presidency. The winner became president and the individual in second place became vice president. Hamilton, an elector for New York, refused to go along with the Federalists' plans to deny Jefferson the presidency. Hamilton voted for Jefferson instead of Burr, partly because he could stand Burr even less than his ideological rival. Jefferson won the election.

In 1804, Burr ran for governor of New York and became embittered by more of Hamilton's insults during the campaign. When Burr lost again, he challenged Hamilton to a duel. On July 11, 1804, the two men met at Weehawken Heights, New Jersey. Hamilton received a mortal wound from Burr's pistol shot, and died in New York City the next day.

As the United States evolved in political, legal, and economic dimensions, Hamilton's contributions remained part of its basic structure. His legacy went on to affect the way the rest of the world interpreted the proper role of government. Numerous political experiments took place in the following centuries, but still, Hamilton's notions of a strong central government made other systems appear weak in comparison. In a letter to the Washington Post on January 28, 1991, biographer Robert A. Hendrickson asserted that Hamilton's doctrine lives up to its model status as "a beacon of freedom and financial success in the modern world. It has peacefully discredited agrarianism, Communism,and totalitarianism."

Further readings

Brookhiser, Richard. 1999. Alexander Hamilton, American. New York: Free Press.

Chernow, Ron. 2004. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin Press.

Cooke, Jacob Ernest. 1982. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Scribner.

Emery, Noemie. 1982. Alexander Hamilton: An Intimate Portrait. New York: Putnam.

Epstein, David F. 1984. The Political Theory of the Federalist. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

Flaumenhaft, Harvey. 1992. The Effective Republic, Administration and Constitution in the Thought of Alexander Hamilton. Durham, N.C.: Duke Univ. Press.

Randall, Willard Sterne. 2003. Alexander Hamilton: A Life. New York: HarperCollins.


Hamilton watches 'Hamilton'

When the beginning instrumentals played, Kaitlen sang along to it.

Ah, Mister Secretary

Mister Burr, sir

Didja hear about good old General Mercer?

You know Clermont Street?

They renamed it after him

"That happened to a lot of streets, you would not believe how many Lafayette Streets there are in the states. There's even towns in the US named Lafayette." Max says. The Frenchman smiles happily.

"Don't forget about the town in Washington called Hamilton." Anna adds in. Max nods.

The Mercer legacy is secure

"Again with legacy, come on." Aaron complained a bit.

"Shhhhhhh." Kaitlen, Gracen, Alexander, Hercules, Lafayette, and King George tells him.

And all he had to do was die

That's a lot less work

We oughta give it a try

"Too soon." Kaitlen says while shaking her head.

Now how're you gonna get your debt plan through?

I guess I'm gonna fin'ly have to listen to you

"Talk less. Smile more."

"So far, you are sucking at being Aaron, Alex." John says while chuckling. Alexander chuckles a bit.

Do whatever it takes to get my plan on the Congress floor

"Would you give than just the capital to those in Congress who are opposed to your debt plan?" Max asks. Alexander looks at him confused.

Now, Madison and Jefferson are merciless

"We are not!" the two Southerners say at the same time.

Well, hate the sin, not the sinner

"Are you implying something?" John asks Alexander. Everyone looks at him.

"That line is probably a reference to the previous song." Alexander says quietly.

I'm sorry Burr, I've gotta go

Decisions are happening over dinner

Kaitlen raises an eyebrow at Alexander, Thomas, and James.

"Oh nothing." Kaitlen tells them.

Two Virginians and an immigrant walk into a room

"That sounds like the start of a really bad joke." Anna points out. Everyone nods in agreement.

"Lin must have been told a bad joke while writing this song." Kaitlen says.

Diametric'ly opposed, foes

"Only politically." Alexander says. Thomas and James nods.

They emerge with a compromise, having open door that were

Previously closed

"Awwww, they're bros." Gracen gushes. Kaitlen chuckles.

The immigrant emerges with unprecedented financial power, a financial system he can shape however he wants. The Virginians emerge with the nation's capital

"One of these things hold greater power than the other." Anna says. Alexander, Aaron, Thomas, James, and George W. nodded their heads.

"How did you get them to agree to give you your debt plan? It's too OP." Gracen asks Alexander.

"OP?" Alexander then asks confused.

"Oh, um, well to answer your question Gracen, I'm excellent at persuasion." Alexander said.

"Be begged on his knees for an hour, he was desperate." Thomas tells them.

"Thomas, I thought we agreed to never speak of it?" Alexander asked a little hurt.

"Sorry." he told Alexander, Alexander just pouts.

And here's the pièce de résistance:

No one else was in the room where it happened, the room where it happened, the room where it happened. No one else was in the room where it happened (the room where it happened), the room where it happened, the room where it happened (the room where it happened).

"This is mostly Aaron condensed song." John asked.

"Yes, since well no one really knows what went down behind the closed doors of the Compromise of 1790, except Alex, Thomas, and James, so Lin wrote the song in perspective of someone who wasn't a participant, Aaron." Kaitlen answers.

No one really know how the game is played (game is played), the art of trade, how the sausage gets made (how the sausage gets made)

Gracen start giggling like the immature child that he is at that line.

We just assume that it happens (assume that it happens). But no one else was in the room where it happens (the room where it happens)

Thomas claims:

Alexander was on Washington's doorstep one day in distress and disarray

"I'm not claiming anything, that's true, I was visiting Washingdad when an over worked and exhausted Alex showed up." Thomas says.

"You really do need to take care of yourself son" George W. tells Alexander.

"But I had get me debt plan through to Congress or else I would have lost my job." Alexander countered.

"Alexander, mon ami, don't argue with your father." Lafayette tell him.

Thomas claims:

Alexander said

I have nowhere else to turn!

And basic'ly bag me to join the fray

"And there's the incorrect self entitled portal of me again." Thomas says with a sigh. John pats Thomas's shoulder.

"There, there." he says. Thomas smiles a bit.

"Besides, I made him and Alex settle their political differences for a moment so that they come up with a compromise." George W. says.

"So like, you put them in time out?" Kaitlen asks.

"If that's what you want to call it." George W. answers. Kaitlen starts laughing at the thought of Alexander and Thomas in time out.

Thomas claims:

I approached Madison and said, "I know you hate 'im,

"I don't hate Alexander, a little mad at him, but all is forgiven and he is my friend." James says.

"Aww, you're my friend too." Alexander tells him.

But let's hear what he has to say."

Thomas claims:

I arranged the meeting, I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating

"How do you arrange seating for three people?" Gracen asked?

"Surprisingly enough, it's actually really hard." Thomas says.

"Thomas just served us his favorite French meal" James says.

"I thought I was going to die from eating so much cheesy pasta." Alexander said.

But! No one else was in

The room where it happened, the room where it happened, the room where it happened

No one else was in

The room where it happened, the room where it happened, the room where it happened

"Okay, the repetition in this song in particular is really annoying." King George III complained.

"Shhhhhh." Kaitlen, Alexander, Aaron, John, Thomas, James, Lafayette, Herc, Gracen, and Anna tells him.

No one really knows how the parties get to yes (parties get to yes) the pieces that are sacrificed in ev'ry game of chess (ev'ry game of chess) we just assume that it happens (assume that it happens) but no one else was in the room were it happens (the room where it happens)

Madison is grappling with the fact that not every issue can be settled by committee

"Though life would be a bit easier if it was." James said.

Congress is fighting over where to put the capital

Everyone jumped a bit at ensembles yelling on stage.

"That is very accurate." Thomas says. Alexander, George W., Aaron, and James nods.

It isn't pretty, then Jefferson approaches with a dinner and invite and Madison responds with some Virginian insight:

Maybe we can solve one problem with another and win a victory for the Southerners, in other words

"This makes me sound like plotting mastermind." James says softly. Thomas reaches over and holds James's hand.

A quid pro quo

Wouldn't you like to work a little closer to home?

Actually, I would

Well, I propose the Potomac

And you'll provide him his votes?

Well, we'll see how it goes

. one else was in the room where it happened

"That was clever transition." Alexander and Aaron said at the same time.

"Yeah, I know." Kaitlen said excitedly.

The room where it happened, the room where it happened. No one else was in the room where it happened, the room where it happened, the room where it happened

In God we trust, but we'll never really know what got discussed, click-boom then it happened

"That gave me shivers a bit." Lafayette said.

And no one else was in the room where is happened

Alexander Hamilton!

What did they say to you to get you to sell New York City down the river?

"Nothing, I begged them to give me the votes, I may have cried a bit, they agreed on the term that the capital is close to Virginia." Alexander tells Aaron.

Alexander Hamilton!

Did Washington know about the dinner? Was there Presidential pressure to deliver?

Alexander Hamilton!

Or did you know, even then, it doesn't matter where you put the U.S. capital?

'Cause we'll have the banks, we're in the same spot

You got more than you gave

"That's an understatement." Thomas and James said.

All I wanted what I got, when you got skin in the game you stay in the game, but you don't get win unless you're playing the game, oh, you get love for it, you get hate for it, you get nothing if you.

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it

"A punch to gut via lyrics from Aaron's own song." John says.

God help and forgive me I wanna build something that's gonna outlive me

"And the financial system that we have is still going strong, so you did build something that outlived you." Max tells Alexander. He smiles happily.

What do you want, Burr? (What do you want, Burr?) What do you want, Burr? (What do you want, Burr?) If you stand for nothing (what do want, Burr?) Burr, then what do you stand for? (What do you want Burr?)

I, I want to be in the room where it happens, the room where it happens

"Welp, there's the answer to that question." John says.

"Though, I could've done without being ganged up on by Alex, Thomas, Madison, Washington, and the entire ensemble." Aaron says.

I, I want to be in the room where it happens

I (I wanna be in the room where it happens) wanna be (the room where is happens) in the room where it happens (the room where it happens)

"That sounds cool." John said. Samuel nods his head.

I (I wanna be in the room where it happens) I wanna be in to room. (The room where it happens) oh (the room where it happens) oh (I wanna be in the room where it happens) I wanna be (where it happens) I wanna be (where it happens) I got to be, I got to be (I wanna be in the room where it happens) in the room (the room where it happens) the bid ol' room (the room where it happens)

The art of compromise

Hold your nose and close your eyes

Kaitlen plugged her nose and closed her eyes. Everyone around her chuckled.

We want our leaders to save the day

But we don't get a say in what they trade away

We dream of a brand new start

"Now I'm on the table." Aaron says with a sigh.

"Alexander, Aaron, and Lafayette, the table trio." Kaitlen and Gracen both say at the same time.

But we dream in the dark for the most part

Dark as a tomb where is happens

"Whoa! That was cool, how did they time that so well?" Samuel asks amazed by Aaron's actor jumping at the right moment for an ensemble member to remove the table cloth.

I've got to be in the room. (The room where it happens) I've got to be. (The room where it happens) I've got to be. (The room where in happens) oh, I've got to be in the room where it happens. (The room where it happens) I've got to be, I've gotta be (the room where it happens) I've gotta be in the room (I wanna be in the room where it happens) click-boom! (Click-boom!)


Hamilton watches 'Hamilton'

"Okay Thomas, James Madison, and Aaron weren't the ones who confronted me, That was James Monroe, Fredrick Muhlenberg, and Abraham Venable." Alexander says.

"I found out through Monroe while we were having a few drinks." Thomas says.

We have the check stubs from separate accounts

Almost a thousand dollars paid in different amounts

To a Mr. James Reynolds

"Fucking James Reynolds, two things, one I found out the man is a con artist and two, he blackmailed me into paying him." Alexander stated.

"Hey, you're the idiot who slept with his wife while being married." Samantha tells him. Alexander sighs.

"Don't forget he also slept with a married man." Max says before looking straight at John.

"You're never going to let us forget that are you?" John and Alexander asked.

Way back in seventeen ninety-one

Is that it? Are you done?

"Never!" Kaitlen tells Alexander before proceeding to do an evil laugh.

You are uniquely situated by virtue of your position

Though virtue is not a word I'd apply to this situation

"The switch of were virtue and situate are place to change the meaning, well done." Thomas says.

To seek financial gain, to stray from your sacred mission

And the evidence suggests you've engaged in speculation

An immigrant embezzling our government funds

"I didn't do that, I paid of Reynolds with my own money, which left me in a whole lot of debt." Alexander states.

"To which you left your family with when you died at after your duel with Aaron." Max tells him.

I can almost see the headlines, your career is done

"I love you guys too." Alexander says sarcastically.

"Awww, you love us?" Thomas asked while batting his eyelashes.

"Hey, back off he's mine." John tells him. Kaitlen chuckled a bit that John would defend his place as Alexander's boyfriend.

I hope you saved some money for your daughter and sons

"Wow, you just had to hit where it hurt Aaron, huh?" Alexander asked while shaking his head in playful tune.

"That wasn't me, that's the actor playing me." Aaron said trying to defend himself.

"For shame." Samuel tells him.

"How many kids did you have at that point?" John asked.

"Five, Phillip, Angelica, Alexander Jr, James, and John." Alexander answered.

"Yes and then your son John and child to which he named Laurens." Max states.

"Wait, didn't John Hamilton even have a that he after both his mother and chick Alex slept with?" Gracen asked.

"Wow." John and Alexander both said.

You best g'wan run back where you come from

"Deportation!" Kaitlen says. The men from past looks at her confused.

Ha, you don't even what you're asking me to confess

"Bullshit!" Kaitlen and Gracen both say.

"Confess, man. Confess!" Gracen tells Alexander in his best fake British accent.

"I confess." Anna says while getting out of her seat and starts praying.

"Not you!" Gracen tells her. This interaction made the men from the past even more confused.

You have nothing, I don't to tell you anything at all

"Plead the 5th, smart." Max says.

"Hey." Alexander says while pouting.

"This is a reference to a podcast called My Brother, My Brother and me." Kaitlen tells the men from the past.

If I can prove that I never broke that law? Do you promise not to tell another soul what you saw?

"Not like it's gonna matter because you're going to write about it and publish it two songs later." Kaitlen says.

No one else was in the room where it happened

"Hey that's from a few songs ago." Thomas pointed out.

"Yup, this is a motif that Aaron will use a bit later in the show." Kaitlen tells him.

Is that a yes?

Everyone watched as Alexander's actor takes a folded piece of paper of from the draw of a set piece and handed it to Aaron's actor.

"Did you have the letter Reynolds wrote you in your office?" James asked him.

"Yeah." Alexander answered. George W. pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head.

Dear Sir, I hope this letter finds you in good health and in a prosperous position to put wealth in the pocket of people like me, down on their luck, you see, that was my wife who you decided to

There were chuckles in the audience, even from the men from the past, but Kaitlen knew meaning of why Aaron was the one reading it. Why must there be so many foreshadowing and lead up to the tragic end.

"Yes, she's just currently preparing herself for the end of the show." Samantha answered.

She courted, escorted me to bed, and when she had me in a corner

"You are partly to blame for that." Samantha tells him. Alexander nods.

"Everything with Maria Reynolds was a huge mistake." Alexander states.

"I'm glad you've learned that, son." George W. tells him. Alexander smiles at the closest thing to a real dad he'll ever have.

That's when Reynolds extorted me for sordid fee, I paid me quarterly, I may have mortally wounded my prospects,

"Meaning, he paid Reynolds with his own money, not the government's money, and he now has debt." Max says.

But my papers are orderly, as you can see I've kept a record of every check in my checkered history, check it again against your list and see consistency

"Yeah." Kaitlen said while smiling.

I haven't spent a cent that wasn't mine, you sent the dogs after my scent, that's fine

"No it's not, you go a little bit legacy crazy after this." Gracen says.

"You mean more than he already is?" Aaron asked. To which made Gracen laugh.

Yes, I have reasons for shame

"Alex, sweetie, the list for those reasons is too long." Kaitlen tells him.

"I didn't do that much." Alexander said defensively. Everyone looked at him in disbelief.

But I have not committed treason and sullied my good name

"You had an affair, wrote about it in great detail, and published it, you sullied your name and made yourself look like a jackass." Samantha tell Alexander.

As you can see I have done nothing to provoke legal action, are my answers to you satisfaction?

"That is the only appropriate response." Samantha states.

Gentlemen, let's go

The people won't know what we know

"Trust worthy, and you doubted them." Gracen teased Alexander. Alexander rolled his eyes.

Burr, how did I know you won't use this against me the next time we go toe to toe?

Alexander, rumors only grow and we both know what we know


Watch the video: The Hamilton-Burr Duel. History is Our Story.. Morgan