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but the story of that immigrant, hamilton himself, who was born on the caribbean island of nevis, is not all backroom maneuvering. he has dramatic ups and downs, going through revolution, a sex scandal, blackmail and death in a duel at the hands of the vice president of the united states.
Hamilton was an orphan, born out of wedlock to a half-British, half-French mother, who died when he was about 11, and a Scottish father, who had abandoned them long ago. His mother was still married to another man, and his estranged husband emerged after her death to seize his estate, leaving young Alexander penniless.
so how did hamilton break through? When he was a teenage clerk, he showed such adeptness writing about a hurricane that hit Christiansted Island that a group of elders banded together to send him to King’s College (now Columbia University) in New York. Once there, however, he set his heart on achieving glory in the Revolutionary War and was soon a captain in an artillery division, before becoming a non-combat aide-de-camp to General George Washington. But Hamilton insisted on returning to action, and in the last major battle of the war, he led a bayonet charge against besieged British forces in 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia (now about a seven-hour drive from New York), which It led to the decisive surrender of General Cornwallis’s army.
In the same period, he co-founded the first bank in North America and married Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of a general, whom he had met the year before the battle. Then, when the war was almost over, he resigned his commission to return to New York to join his wife and his son. they would have eight children together.
in new york, he worked as a lawyer and helped forge the united states constitution. he also founded the bank of new york (alongside the man who would later kill him). When George Washington became the first President of the United States, he named Hamilton his Secretary of the Treasury. In that role, he established a commercial relationship with Great Britain, opposed slavery, and created the first national bank.
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But in the same year, Hamilton became involved in an expensive affair with 23-year-old Maria Reynolds, whose husband apparently encouraged the relationship, demanding large sums of money, starting with a payment of $1,000.
Hamilton would later air all his dirty laundry in the new country’s first political sex scandal, detailing the ins and outs of the tawdry business to avoid accusations of embezzlement.
I was also busy creating enemies. Exchanging insults with one of his critics, George Eacker, cost the life of his eldest son, Philip, who challenged Eacker to a duel; The 19-year-old was shot and died 14 hours later in the arms of his father and his pregnant mother.
The couple would also name the new baby Philip and take him to the newly built family mansion, Hamilton Grange, in Harlem (now relocated to nearby St Nicholas Park and open year-round, Wednesday through Sunday). but the statesman, though not yet 50 years old, would not live to see his youngest child grow up. In 1804, Hamilton made an enemy of former Attorney General Aaron Burr by ruining his chances of winning the governorship of New York.
Hamilton’s refusal to apologize led to a duel between the two men, in which Hamilton announced that he intended to shoot away from his opponent. On the morning of July 11, the two were rowed across the Hudson from Manhattan to New Jersey (you can still take the ferry to visit the memorial in Weehawken). Hamilton’s shot hit a tree, Burr’s hit his opponent in the lower abdomen. He died the following afternoon and is buried, along with his wife, Eliza, in Trinity Cemetery at the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street.
Full ticketing information can be found on the official website at hamiltonthemusical.co.uk, including details of the daily £10 lottery.