Alexander Hamilton's Letter to George Washington: An Analysis

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Alexander Hamilton, the author of this letter to George Washington, bolstered an impressive resume as a politician, war general, economist, congressman, lawyer, and scholar. A few of his main accolades are: an integral author of the Federalist Papers, a devoted member of the Continental Congress, a contributor to the Constitution, and the first secretary of the Treasury. He also was the main creator of the first National Bank of the United States. Alexander Hamilton was born in the British West Indies with the exact birth date unknown; he came to America as a teenager and enrolled at Princeton. He passed the tough entrance exams after one year but was not allowed to advance at his own pace, therefore, he made the controversial decision to enroll at King’s College (modern day Columbia.) During this time period, conflict was beginning to brew between the colonies and Great Britiain. In response, Hamilton started to educate and prepare himself for war. He eventually was offered a spot in George Washington’s army as lieutenant colonel and then a field commander. Forrest McDonald. "Hamilton, Alexander";; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000. Access Date: Tue Feb 11 2014 22:14:54 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time) Hamilton was a Federalist; he was in favor of creating a strong federal government. America was in an unstable state during the time period that this letter was written. They were in a lot of debt due to the Revolutionary War against Britain. Optimistically, they had officially won their freedom and were in the process of building an unwavering, efficient governmental system. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton exchanged hundreds of letters due to them working together. This particular letter from Hamilton was in response to one written by George Washington on July 29, 1792, where he relayed comments made by Thomas Jefferson which addressed certain public concerns. George Washington says, “…it is my request, and you would oblige me in furnishing me, with your ideas upon the discontents here enumerated” (From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 29 July 1792). The main purpose of Alexander Hamilton’s letter was to give George Washington feedback on Thomas Jefferson’s comments on public concerns. “From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 29 July 1792,” Founders Online, National Archives (, ver. 2013-12-27). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 10, 1 March 1792 – 15 August 1792, ed. Robert F. Haggard and Mark A. Mastromarino. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002, pp. 588–592. 2.Historical Context

In 1789, Alexander Hamilton was elected to be the first Secretary of the Treasury; he was committed to solving the financial problems that the US had. In the early 1790s, Hamilton presented many complex reports on the state of the economy. In his first one, he reported and calculated approximately how much debt the US was in. “Hamilton estimated that the country’s total obligations at $77 million” (Reynolds, 68). The second report was a solution to help cut the debt; he proposed to open the first national bank; this caused outrage from oppositions such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The tension between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton during this time period grew. “The two men looked at America in fundamentally different ways” (Reynolds, 68). This letter is a perfect example of the differences in philosophies between these two men. Since these are Thomas Jefferson’s ideas that George Washington sent to Hamilton to comment on, one can clearly see the opposite ideology present between the two men in each objection Hamilton makes. Hamilton’s federalist ideas on the state of the economy and debt, and the structure of the government are portrayed through his objections. Reynolds, David. America, Empire of Liberty....
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