I fell in love with Alexander Hamilton the first time I played the soundtrack for the Broadway musical Hamilton. And if any of our Founding Fathers had a to-do list, I’m betting it was Alex. After all, one of the songs in the musical refers to him and his writing as Non-stop!
Fun facts about Alexander Hamilton:
- We really don’t know when he was born. The records on his home island of Nevis report his birth in 1755, but Alexander always claimed he was born in 1757. His claim may have worked to help him land an apprenticeship position after the death of his mother left him an orphan. And it certainly didn’t hurt his reputation of being precocious to shave a couple years off his age!
- Alexander’s views on a strong central national government inspired the beginning of the Federalist Party. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison opposed many of Hamilton’s ideas about centralized governance and formed the Republican Party in response.
- Regardless of how it is presented in the musical, Hamilton didn’t actually pass the bar to become a lawyer until 1782 when the Revolution was over. He began studying law while still on Nevis, attended some classes at King’s College and also studied with John Jay and William Paterson (two future Supreme Court justices) on his mostly self-taught way to becoming a lawyer.
- The last letter George Washington wrote before his death was to Alexander.
- Alex may have been this nation’s first media mogul. In 1801, he talked several investors into giving him $10,000 to found the New York Evening Post. Today, it is known as the New York Post and is the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper.
If you haven’t read “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow that was the inspiration for the Broadway musical, do yourself a favor and look it up at your library or favorite bookseller.
Famous quote from Alexander -“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”