Nevis in the West Indies

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On January 11, 1755 or 1757, the exact date is unknown, on the island of Nevis in the West Indies, one of our founding fathers Alexander Hamilton was born. His parents were Rachel Fawcett Lavien, his mother, who was of British and French huguenot descent, and James Hamilton, his father, a Scottish trader. Before Alexander was born, his mother married to John Lavien, a merchant she was pressured to marry by her parents when she was young.

Together, they had a son named Peter. Her husband was abusive to her and he spent nearly all the money she had inherited after her father’s death in 1745. Lavien even had her imprisoned for adultery. After she was released from prison, instead of returning to Lavien and her child, she fled her abusive marriage and moved to St. Kitts, where she had met and moved in with James Hamilton. She had another son James, Alexander’s older brother who was born in 1753. After moving back, James abandoned them when Alexander was only but a child, leaving them poor and in poverty. At 11 years old, Hamilton took his first job after his father left. After trying to support her children and herself by working, his mother had become sick and died in 1768. Alexander’s boss was a businessman who was impressed majorly by his ambitious and bright employee, his name was Nicolas Cruger.

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To leave Nevis and better his education Hamilton impressed Knox with a letter he had written describing a hurricane from 1772 that had hit the island. In 1773, when he was 16 years old, he arrived in New York, where he enrolled in King’s College. Despite his gratitude toward his patrons, Hamilton was more drawn to politics than he was to studying. In 1774, he wrote a political article defending Patriots’ and their cause. As a fast learner, Hamilton believed himself capable of becoming a self-made man. With his intent on learning through experience, he left King’s College before he could graduate to join the Patriots for their protest against taxes. In 1775, the Revolutionary War began, and Hamilton became a part of the Provincial Artillery Company in New York and had fought in the battles of Trenton, Long Island, and White Plains.

After Hamilton fought in the 1777 battles of Germantown, Princeton, and Brandywine Creek, he had been promoted to be a lieutenant colonel of the Continental Army. Hamilton had caught the attention of George Washington in his early services where he fought for American service. George made Hamilton both his assistant and adviser. Alexander put his skills with writing to work, for five years that he was working under Washington.

He wrote crucial and critical letters for George Washington, and put together many reports for strategic reforms and the restructuring of the Continental Army. Around this time, Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, who was from a wealthy New York family. They met at a Winter’s Ball, where she laid her eyes on him and fell in love with his charm and mind. Though, we don’t know, it seemed Hamilton’s intent was less than true love and more needing a steady income from a wealthy lady.

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