Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804) was born in the West Indies, the illegitimate child of a Scottish merchant. He came to the American colonies to study at King's College (now Columbia University) and became an early and ardent supporter of the Revolutionary cause. During the Revolutionary War, he was the aide-de-camp to George Washington and a member of the Continental Congress. He was a leading figure at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and a principal author of The Federalist Papers. As the first secretary of the treasury of the United States, Hamilton articulated a policy of protection for manufacturing interests, strong central government, and establishment of a national bank. After leaving the Cabinet, he practiced law in New York. His personal attacks hindered the political career of the volatile Aaron Burr, who finally challenged him to a duel in 1804. Hamilton was shot and died of his wounds.
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