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In the News: Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton made the news in Scholastic News Edition 4 on October 24, 2005
By Alexandra Cale

Alexander Hamilton
The new $10 bill with Alexander Hamilton
(Photo: © 2005 The Department of the Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing)
Alexander Hamilton was a very influential man in American history, but he came from humble beginnings. He was born in 1755 on an island in the West Indies to unmarried parents.

He was orphaned by the time he was a teenager—his father had abandoned him and his mother died.

Hamilton discovered he had a talent for writing when an article he wrote about a hurricane received a lot of attention. His town decided to raise enough money to send him to America.

He came to New York City in 1772 and began studying to become a doctor at King's College. That college is now known as Columbia University.

Several years later he began the military and political career he is best known for by writing two pamphlets about the political situation of the time. This drew the attention of General George Washington. Hamilton soon joined Washington's staff as a lieutenant-colonel in the Revolutionary War. Hamilton became one of Washington's most trusted personal assistants.

After the war, Hamilton served as a member of the Continental Congress, the group that made laws for the 13 colonies. He later owned a private law practice in New York City. One of his most important contributions to the country was his work on the Federalist Papers, a collection of articles that were published in New York newspapers. The Federalist Papers explained the Constitution to New Yorkers to encourage them to vote the document into law.

In 1789 Hamilton became the first Secretary of the Treasury. He helped create the U.S. Navy and pay off the national debt, and he established the First Bank of the United States.

Hamilton's picture was first printed on a $10 bill during the Civil War. Hamilton's image still graces the $10 bill, which was recently given a facelift.