Election time is coming up in the US and everyone is talking about politics. In this issue of the Peak Performer, you’ll see how Alexander Hamilton overcame a tough upbringing to help bring about the creation of the United Sates of America and become the first Secretary of the Treasury.
In 1755, Alexander Hamilton was born out of wedlock in the British West Indies to James and Rachel Hamilton. James then abandoned Rachel when Alexander was still a baby. Rachel supported the family by keeping a small store. However, she contracted a severe fever and died on February 19, 1768, leaving Hamilton effectively orphaned. Then, in probate court, Rachel’s first husband seized her estate and obtained the few valuables Rachel had owned.
Because Hamilton’s parents were not legally married (and his mother was married to another man at the time of her pregnancy), the Church of England denied Hamilton membership or education in the church school. He was self- taught. Hamilton had to support himself and became a clerk at a local import-export firm at the age of 11. He was adopted briefly by a cousin, Peter Lytton, but when Lytton committed suicide, Hamilton was orphaned again. He was all alone.
99 percent of people would have used Hamilton’s life circumstances as an excuse to throw in the towel, but not Alexander. His fierce determination led him to end up crafting America’s Federalist Papers and become the United Sates of America’s first Secretary of the Treasury.