Alexander Hamilton: The Other Side of the Revolution
Often when one thinks of the American Revolution or the American Enlightenment, the philosophies and contributions of men like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin are taken into consideration. Indeed they were great thinkers and very pivotal figures in our country's liberation from Great Britain, however more people played a role in accomplishing this great task. America's founding fathers consisted of several of men, all of whom contributed unique and innovative ideas that would eventually helped to shape our country. Heavily influenced by men such as Locke, Rousseau, and Paine, a great deal of the ideas and political plans which emerged during the 18th century were focused solely around becoming an independent and self sufficient land, breaking all ruling ties with the British monarchy, and the healthy promotion of democracy and Christianity. Much like the revolution in France that would soon follow, America's fight was for a change in not only government but in culture as well.
One man who seems to frequently get over looked as far as the part he played in re-shaping American politics and culture is Alexander Hamilton. Misunderstood and most noted for his opinionated personality, Hamilton was in fact a true nationalist and in many cases a martyr for the principles this country was built upon; Pride, Freedom and Democracy. His ideas transcended far beyond the period in which he lived, leaving lasting effects on generations that would follow. The establishment of the American government's first central bank and the Federalist political party are all undertakings in which Hamilton played a leading role in composing. He also made efforts to impact our countries culture. However, in order to gain a full understanding of Hamilton's views and his importance during the American Revolution, you must first examine his values and those who influenced him in his early life. According to Brookhiser, Hamilton came from "nowhere" in comparison to a lot of his political peers (p.3). Born and raised in the sugar Island of the West Indies, the city of St. Croix consisted of three kinds of people: rich whites, poor whites and slaves. There were few middle class inhabitants; either you were rich or very poor. This aspect of Hamilton's society greatly influenced the way he viewed the establishment of a social class system and would eventually contribute to his appeal to the "common people" during his professional career (McDonald, p.11). Sugar farming was labor intensive and as a result, slaves outnumbered their white masters by twenty to one. Families were made up of a mix of nationalities, mainly those who had settled without regard to the islands' formal owners. The people of Croix seemed to hold at high regards ones ancestry and lineage, a concern that Hamilton held loosely due to what he referred to as a birth which was "not free from blemish" (Larson, p.15). He grew up the son of a "whore" mother, as she was called in a divorce document by her first husband and a "Bum" father (Brookhiser, p.15). Such references make it hard to believe that any child of good character could be produced from this union; however Hamilton did adopt some traits that would serve to be very beneficial in his adult years. His relationship with his mother played an essential role in his public career. As he described her, she was a woman of "superior intellect", "elevated with generous sentiments" and "unusual elegance of person and manner", much different from the appalling indication previously made of her. Hamilton was also known to be very intelligent, one who liked to help others and a person of good etiquette. However the greatest influence that his mother had on him came in the study of finance. She was a very good business woman. As a child, Hamilton worked as a clerk in her provision store where he gained an understanding of both marketing and money management. According...
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