Alexander Hamilton Net Worth at Death – How Did He Get Rich? Exposed!

Alexander Hamilton Net Worth 

Alexander Hamilton had an estimated net worth of $20 million at death. Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, a Constitutional Convention delegate, author of the Federalist papers and the first secretary of the U.S. treasury. He earned most of his income from his political career. 

Alexander Hamilton was born in the British West Indies and later worked as an assistant to General George Washington. As one of America’s Founding Fathers, he persuaded New Yorkers to ratify the United States Constitution in 1788. From 1789 to 1795, Hamilton, an avowed Federalist, served as the nation’s first secretary of the treasury.

To calculate the net worth of Alexander Hamilton, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Alexander Hamilton
Net Worth: $20 Million
Monthly Salary: $100 Thousand
Annual Income: $2 Million
Source of Wealth: Politician, Lawyer

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Early Life

Hamilton was born on the British West Indian island of Nevis on January 11, 1755 or 1757. (the exact date is unknown). Hamilton was born to Rachel Fawcett Lavien, a British and French Huguenot, and James Hamilton, a Scottish trader.

Rachel was married to John Lavien, a much older merchant whom her parents had pressured her to marry when she was a teenager, at the time of Hamilton’s birth. They had a son together, Peter.

When her father died in 1745, Lavien was abusive to Rachel and had spent nearly all of the money she had inherited. During their turbulent relationship, he even had her imprisoned for several months for adultery under Danish law.

Instead of returning to her husband and son after her release, Rachel fled the troubled marriage and relocated to St. Kitts. It was there that she met and married James Hamilton, with whom she had another son, James (Alexander’s older brother), in 1753.

James Sr. abandoned the family after returning to St. Croix when Hamilton was a boy, leaving Rachel and her sons impoverished.

John Adams would later characterize Hamilton’s rise from humble beginnings by referring to him as “the bastard brat of a Scottish peddler.”

Hamilton, determined to better his lot in life, took his first job at the age of 11, not long after his father left. But the family was soon dealt another heartbreaking blow. His mother became ill and died in 1768, at the age of 38, after working tirelessly to make ends meet.

The bright and ambitious young man quickly impressed his employer while working as an accounting clerk in a mercantile in St. Croix. This early exposure exposed Hamilton to international commerce, including the importation of enslaved people, and taught him about the business of money and trade.

Hamilton’s boss, a businessman named Nicolas Cruger, was so impressed with Hamilton’s accounting skills that he and other businessmen joined forces with a minister and newspaper editor named Hugh Knox to send Hamilton to America for an education.

Hamilton had impressed Knox with his eloquent letter describing a ferocious hurricane that had hit the island in 1772.

Hamilton arrived in New York in 1773, when he was about 16 years old, and enrolled in King’s College (later renamed Columbia University). Despite his gratitude to his generous patrons, Hamilton was drawn to political involvement rather than academics as the American colonies were on the verge of revolution. In 1774, he published his first political article, defending the Patriot cause against pro-British Loyalist interests.

Hamilton, a quick learner, believed he was capable of becoming a self-made man. He dropped out of King’s College before graduating in order to join the Patriots in their fight against British-imposed taxes and commercial business regulations.

Military Career

When the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, Hamilton joined the New York Provincial Artillery Company and fought in the battles of Long Island, White Plains, and Trenton.

After fighting in the battles of Brandywine Creek, Germantown, and Princeton that year, Hamilton was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Continental Army. During his early service in the fight for American independence, Hamilton attracted the attention of General George Washington, who appointed Hamilton as his assistant and trusted adviser.

Hamilton put his writing skills to use for the next five years. He wrote Washington’s critical letters and numerous reports on the Continental Army’s strategic reform and restructuring.

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Wife and Children

Hamilton married Elizabeth “Eliza” Schuyler, the daughter of Revolutionary War general Philip Schuyler, on December 14, 1780.

Despite the revelation that Hamilton had an extramarital affair with a married woman, Maria Reynolds, they had a strong relationship throughout their marriage and had eight children together. Hamilton’s affair with Reynolds is regarded as one of the country’s first sex scandals.

Hamilton wrote to his wife on July 4, 1804 (just days before his fateful duel with Aaron Burr), “Fly to the bosom of your God and be comforted.” With my final thought, I will treasure the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world. Adieu, best of wives and women. Please embrace all of my darling Children on my behalf.”

Eliza, who lived for 50 years after her husband’s death, would devote her life to preserving his legacy.

End of the War

Growing bored with his desk job, Hamilton persuaded Washington to let him experience battlefield action in 1781. Hamilton led a successful charge against the British in the Battle of Yorktown with Washington’s permission.

The British surrender following this battle resulted in two major treaties being signed in 1783: the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Great Britain, and two treaties signed at Versailles between France, Britain, and Spain. These treaties, along with a number of others, comprise the collection of peace treaties known as the Peace of Paris, which officially marked the end of the American Revolutionary War.

While working as an adviser to Washington, Hamilton became aware of Congress’ flaws, such as jealousy and resentment among states, which he blamed on the Articles of Confederation. (He believed that the Articles of Confederation, considered America’s first informal constitution, divided rather than united the country.)

In 1782, Hamilton resigned as an adviser, convinced that establishing a strong central government was the key to achieving America’s independence. Hamilton would not be working for the US Army for the last time.

As America prepared for a possible war with France in 1798, Hamilton was appointed inspector general and second in command. When America and France reached a peace treaty in 1800, Hamilton’s military career came to an abrupt halt.

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Law Career

Hamilton opened a practice in New York City after completing a brief apprenticeship and passing the bar exam.

The majority of Hamilton’s first clients were the widely despised British Loyalists, who remained loyal to the King of England. When British forces took control of New York State in 1776, many of the state’s rebels fled, and British Loyalists, many of whom had traveled from other states and were seeking protection at the time, began to occupy the abandoned homes and businesses.

When the Revolutionary War ended nearly a decade later, many of the rebels returned home to find their homes occupied and sued Loyalists for compensation (for using and/or damaging their property). Hamilton defended the Loyalists against the insurgents.

In 1784, Hamilton took on the Rutgers v. Waddington case, which concerned Loyalist rights. It was a watershed moment in American justice, as it resulted in the establishment of the judicial review system. That same year, he contributed to the establishment of the Bank of New York, which made history. In defending the Loyalists, Hamilton established new due process principles.

Hamilton went on to take 45 more trespass cases and was instrumental in the eventual repeal of the Trespass Act, which was established in 1783 to allow rebels to collect damages from Loyalists who had occupied their homes and businesses.

Politics and Government

Hamilton’s political agenda included the establishment of a more powerful federal government under a new Constitution.

In 1787, while serving as a delegate from New York, he met in Philadelphia with other delegates to discuss how to strengthen the Articles of Confederation, which were so weak that they could not keep the Union together. During the meeting, Hamilton stated that a consistent source of revenue would be critical to building a more powerful and resilient central government.

Hamilton had little involvement in the writing of the Constitution, but he had a significant impact on its ratification. Hamilton collaborated with James Madison and John Jay on 51 of the 85 essays that comprised The Federalist (later known as The Federalist Papers).

Prior to its approval, he skillfully explained and defended the newly drafted Constitution in the essays. Hamilton was a powerful advocate for ratification at the New York Ratification Convention in Poughkeepsie in 1788, where two-thirds of delegates opposed the Constitution. His efforts were rewarded when New York agreed to ratify the treaty.

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Secretary of the Treasury

When George Washington was elected President of the United States in 1789, he named Hamilton the first Secretary of the Treasury. The country was in deep foreign and domestic debt at the time as a result of expenses incurred during the American Revolution.

Hamilton, a staunch supporter of a strong central government, clashed with fellow cabinet members who were wary of a central government wielding so much power during his tenure as Treasury Secretary. In order to secure support for his economic program, Hamilton went so far as to turn down New York’s offer to house the nation’s capital, dubbed the “dinner table bargain.”

Hamilton believed that the Constitution granted him the authority to develop economic policies that bolstered the central government. His proposed fiscal policies included the issuance of federal war bonds, the assumption of state debts, the establishment of a federal tax collection system, and assistance in establishing credit with other nations.

State loyalists were outraged by Hamilton’s suggestions until, on June 20, 1790, a compromise was reached during a dinner conversation between Hamilton and Madison. Hamilton agreed that the nation’s capital would be established near the Potomac, and Madison agreed that he would no longer prevent Congress, particularly its Virginia representatives, from passing policies that promoted a more powerful central government over individual state rights.

Hamilton resigned as Secretary of the Treasury in 1795, leaving behind a far more secure U.S. economy to support a stronger federal government.

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton

During the 1800 presidential elections, Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, and John Adams, a Federalist, were both running for the office.

Presidents and vice presidents were elected separately at the time, and Aaron Burr, who was supposed to be Jefferson’s vice president on the Democratic-Republican ticket, actually tied Jefferson for the presidency.

Choosing Jefferson as the lesser of two evils, Hamilton went to work supporting Jefferson’s campaign, undermining Federalist efforts to secure a tie-breaking victory for Burr. The House of Representatives eventually chose Jefferson as president, with Burr as his vice president. The standoff, however, had harmed Jefferson’s faith in Burr.

Duel

During his first term, Jefferson frequently excluded Burr from discussions about party policy. When Jefferson decided to run for re-election in 1804, he dropped Burr from his ticket. Burr then decided to run for governor of New York on his own, but he lost.

Burr was frustrated and felt marginalized until he read in the newspaper that Hamilton had called him “the most unfit and dangerous man in the community.”

Burr was enraged. Burr demanded an explanation after becoming convinced that Hamilton had ruined yet another election for him.

Burr became enraged when Hamilton refused to comply, and he challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton reluctantly accepted, believing that by doing so, he would ensure his “ability to be useful in the future.”

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How Did Alexander Hamilton Die?

The duel between Hamilton and Burr began at dawn on July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton was severely wounded when both men drew their guns and fired, but Hamilton’s bullet missed Burr.

Hamilton was injured and returned to New York City, where he died the following day, on July 12, 1804.

Hamilton’s grave is in the Trinity Church cemetery in downtown Manhattan, New York City.

Legacy and ‘Hamilton’ Musical

Hamilton’s political philosophy, as espoused in his Federalist Papers, continues to have a strong influence on the role of government in American life.

In addition to a number of statues, place names, and memorials dedicated to Hamilton throughout the United States, he has been immortalized in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway show Hamilton.

Further Reading

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