Did you make it through this month’s book club pick, Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow? If not here’s five fun facts:
Hamilton was an immigrant.
Most of Hamilton’s contemporaries (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, John Adams) were born in what became the United States. Hamilton was an immigrant, born of immigrants. His Scottish father had moved to the Caribbean where Hamilton was born, out-of-wedlock.
A hurricane secured Hamilton’s future.
Hamilton survived a hurricane and wrote about it. The townspeople of St Croix, where he lived at the time, were so impressed with his account of the hurricane that they took up a collection to send Hamilton to University in New Jersey.
Hamilton had eight children.
Remarkably, all eight survived infancy. His last child was named Philip after is older, deceased son who had also been named Philip.
Hamilton spoke out against anti-Semitism.
Hamilton was a on-again, off-again Christian, who became more devout towards the end of his life. There are stories that his mother was Jewish, but no evidence to support that. However, due to schooling shortages and the fact of his illegitimacy, as a child he went to a Jewish school. He used to brag that he had learned to recite the Ten Commandments in Hebrew as a small child. He admired the Jewish people and write positive things about them during a time when anti-Semitism was a serious problem.
Both Hamilton and his son Philip died in duels.
In most of the colonies duelling was illegal but still a frequently used way of resolving conflicts and preserving honor. Philip was shot during a duel with George Eaker and died of a subsequent infection. Alexander Hamilton was fatally shot by Aaron Burr – at the same duelling ground three years later.