Alexander Hamilton – 1755 or 1757–1804
Hamilton was of illegitimate birth in Nevis, British West Indies. After serving as a staff officer to General Washington during the American Revolution, he rose to become a New York delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and was a prime contributor to The Federalist Papers (1789–1795), which helped ensure that the new Constitution would achieve ratification. Under President George Washington, Hamilton was the first secretary of the treasury and was responsible for a fiscal policy that established the credit of the infant nation on a sound basis. He was an ardent champion of a strong central government, which put him at odds with Washington’s secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, who favored a more radical democracy. Hamilton was killed in a duel
(July 11, 1804; he died the next morning) with his chief political foe, Aaron Burr.