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12 Hardcore Facts About Alexander Hamilton

Updated November 12, 2020 165.3k views12 items
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Before 2015, it was common to hear that Alexander Hamilton was, by far, the most undervalued of all the American Founding Fathers. But with the explosive popularity of the Broadway musical Hamilton, that statement is no longer accurate. Hamilton fever swept America, and he became one of the most popular Founding Fathers, as fans of the musical flocked to historic sites and bought out shelves of books associated with him.

Hamilton was not just important in the founding of America. He was also a fascinating historical figure and tireless public servant. Though it is easy to sing Hamilton's praises today, it is also worth noting that he was highly controversial and divisive in his own time: Hamilton was a man who inspired admiration and respect just as fiercely as he inspired outrage and offense.

Indeed, a portrait can be drawn of Hamilton as a brash and renegade Founding Father who was passionate about his ideals and vision for what the new American nation could become. These badass Alexander Hamilton facts reveal a brilliant, singular man in an age of great men.

Though never elected as US president, Hamilton's shadow looms large. Considering all the badass things Alexander Hamilton did in his relatively short lifetime, his legacy deserves to be remembered.

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  • Hamilton Single-Handedly Authored Over Half Of The 85 Federalist Papers

    Photo: Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons

    In 1787, Hamilton set out to defend the new US Constitution. His method? The pen, of course. He invited John Jay and James Madison to join him in the endeavor. When all was said and done, the team had produced a grand total of 85 "Federalist papers." Of the 85, Hamilton wrote an astonishing 51 under the pseudonym "Publius." 

    • He Was Involved In America's First Sex Scandal

      Photo: John Trumbull/Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons

      Though Alexander Hamilton was happily married to a daughter from a prominent New York family, he strayed from his marriage bed in 1791 when he began an affair with 23-year-old Maria Reynolds. Reynolds was a married woman, and her husband quickly turned the affair to his advantage by blackmailing Hamilton. 

      As if cheating on his wife wasn't bad enough, Hamilton went on to publicly admit to the affair by publishing a full confession. The affair put a strain on Hamilton's marriage, because of course it did. In this instance, Hamilton was a "badass" in the sense that his conduct was "bad" and he was kind of an "ass" for having the affair in the first place.

      Maria Reynolds sued her husband for divorce in 1793, and used Aaron Burr - Hamilton's future murderer - as her lawyer. 

      • He Worked With Aaron Burr To Defend A Man In The First Murder Trial In America

        Photo: Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons

        In 1800, Hamilton became part of the defense for 24-year-old Levi Weeks, a carpenter from New York City. Weeks had been accused of murdering Elma Sands and putting her corpse into a well. The defense team won largely because the state's case against Weeks was weak and based on circumstantial evidence.

        Hamilton was not the only member of Weeks's legal defense. Aaron Burr, the man who would ultimately take Hamilton's life in the infamous duel at Weehawken, was also on the team. So, Hamilton and Aaron Burr ironically worked together to acquit a man accused of murder.

        • He Was Born Out Of Wedlock

          Photo: Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons

          Hamilton has the distinction of being the only Founding Father who was not born in the mainland North American colonies. Instead, he was born in Nevis, a tiny island in the British West Indies.

          As a Caribbean island, Nevis attracted many young British men seeking to find riches in the empire. One such man was James Hamilton, a younger son of a Scottish laird, who traveled to Nevis to make his fortune. There, he met Rachel Faucette, a woman who was estranged from her husband. The two lived and had two sons together, though they never married