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Alexander Hamilton

(1755 - 1804)


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Alexander Hamilton was born on the British island of Nevis, in the West Indies, on January 11, 1755. His mother was most likely Jewish, and his father, James Hamilton, was a non-Jewish Scotsman descended from the House of Hamilton in Ayrshire, Scotland. In the 1760s, Alexander attended a Jewish school in Nevis, which was housed in a synagogue in Charleston, the island's capital. The local Anglican school was not an option for Alexander, because he was a bastard in the eyes of the church. His mother, Rachel, had never divorced her first husband, who was also Jewish, and her union with James was therefore not technically marriage, making Alexander illegitimate.

After completing his education in Nevis, Alexander moved to Charleston, South Carolina in search of a better life and career. He became George Washington's aide during the American Revolution, was the principal author of the Federalist Papers, and served as the United States' first Secretary of the Treasury, under George Washington. Throughout the rest of his life, it seems that he had no affiliation with Judaism. Alexander Hamilton is most famous, however, for his death — he was killed in 1804 while dueling with Vice-President Aaron Burr.

Today, Hamilton's portrait can be seen on the ten dollar bill.


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