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Alexander Hamilton and Adoption

Portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull
Source: Wikipedia.org.

Biography

Hamilton and his older brother were the illegitimate sons of James Hamilton, a Scottish trader, and a married Frenchwoman, Rachel Faucett Lavien. Alexander Hamilton was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis. Not long after his mother moved in with his birth father, James Hamilton abandoned the family on St. Croix. They then went to live with his mother's relatives. She died in 1768, but he and his older brother were left destitute after her legal husband successfully sued for all of their mother's estate. The boys were made wards of their cousin, but he died very soon afterwards. The boys were separated, with Alexander going to live with his best friend's family until he sailed for the American colonies in 1772.

He soon became part of the colonists' struggle for independence and wrote revolutionary pamphlets, including over half of The Federalist Papers. He joined the colonial army in 1775 or 1776 and quickly became George Washington's aide. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1782 but resigned in 1783 and became a lawyer in New York. He reorganized the US financial system in the 1790s, after Washington appointed him the country's first secretary of the treasury (1789-95).

He continued in politics until his death in 1804 in a duel with Aaron Burr.

References

Dever, Maria, and Dever, Aileen. Relative Origins: Famous Foster and Adopted People. (Portland: National Book Company, 1992) Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Dictionary of American Biography Lodge, Henry Cabot. Alexander Hamilton. (Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1997) (American Statesmen Series; 7) O'Brien, Steven. Alexander Hamilton. (New York: Chelsea House, 1989) (World Leaders Past and Present) McDonald, Forrest. Alexander Hamilton: A Biography. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979) Flexner, James Thomas. The Young Hamilton: A Biography. (New York: Fordham University Press, 1997) Brookhiser, Richard. Alexander Hamilton, American. (New York: Free Press, 1999) DeCarolis, Lisa Marie. "A Biography of Alexander Hamilton. [Includes portrait]. Available at: [1] US Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804." Available at: [2] "American Str@tegy: Biography: Alexander Hamilton." Available at: [3] "Alexander Hamilton." 2014. The Biography.com website. Apr 30 2014

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