Alexander Hamilton was a signer of the United States Constitution, and aide to George Washington during the American Revolution and the first Secretary of the Treasury. He was born on January 11, 1757 in Charlestown on the island of Nevis in the West Indies. In 1769 he was apprenticed to a storekeeper after the death of his parents. A friend, who was a minister, lent him money for his journey to American. In 1772 Hamilton arrived in America and attended King's College a year later. He left college when the Revolutionary War began and enlisted in the Continental Army. He was given the position of captain of artillery. Hamilton fought in the battles of Princeton, White Plains, Trenton and Yorktown. After three years of being an aide to Washington, Hamilton was given command of a New York infantry.
Hamilton left the army right after the war ended and went on to study law. The New York legislature chose him as a delegate to the 1st and 2nd Continental Congress. He was a major leader at the Annapolis Convention of 1786 and attended the Constitutional Convention a year later. Hamilton was in favor of an elected president, similar to England's king, who would keep his office until death. He believed that a government of rich, power men was best. His philosophy was strongly opposed and discarded yet he still signed the United States Constitution. Along with James Madison and John Jay, he wrote the series "The Federalist." These articles pushed for a new government.
In 1789 Hamilton was appointed the first Secretary of Treasury by President Washington. He kept the new nation on a steady financial basis. During this time, he began to have conflicts with Thomas Jefferson, who was Secretary of State. Their arguments led to the establishment of political parties, with Hamilton leading the Federalists and Jefferson with and Democratic-Republican. He returned to law in 1795 after leaving Washington's cabinet. When England and France went to war, the U.S. eventually became involved in the 1790s. Hamilton was given the position of major general by President John Adams. During the political campaign of 1804, Hamilton made unfavorable remarks about Vice President Aaron Burr. Burr then challenged him to a duel. The duel took place by the Hudson River, close to Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton received a fatal gunshot wound and died the next day on July 12, 1804.