(NOA) - Alexander Hamilton, one of Americaís founding fathers, was mortally wounded in a duel with political opponent Aaron Burr on July 11, 1804, and died the following day.
There is dispute on Hamiltonís birth. Hamilton himself says he was born January 11, 1757 on the island of Nevis in the West Indies, but historical research says the date may have been as much as two years earlier.
Regardless, Hamilton grew up on the island of St. Croix, which was part of the future Virgin Islands. As a young man, he worked for a St. Croix trading firm, and because of his diligence, his employers sent him to school in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, and later Kingís College, which became Columbia University.
During the Revolutionary War, Hamilton served as an artillery captain in New York. He became a confidant of General George Washington, serving his commander as secretary and aide from 1777-81.
In 1780, Hamilton married wealthy New York socialite Elizabeth Schuyler. They would have eight children.
Trained as a lawyer, Hamilton became a member of the New York Bar in 1782. His political career began the same year when he was named a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation. By 1786, Hamilton was urging delegates to call a national convention to strengthen the Articles of Confederation, which provided for strong states rights, but little power to the federal government.
Hamilton became a delegate to what turned out to be a constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787. What resulted was the U.S. Constitution. Hamilton worked hard to get it ratified.
When George Washington was chosen to be the nationís first president, he chose Hamilton as his secretary of the treasury.
Hamilton was instrumental in being one of the founders of the countryís first political parties. His party, the Federalists, backed a strong federal government, while Thomas Jefferson and his followers formed the Democratic-Republican Party, which favored more rights for the individual states.
Hamilton resigned as treasury secretary in 1795, but continued behind the scenes to be a political force in the new republic.
During the presidential election of 1800, he opposed the candidacy of Aaron Burr, who had tied Jefferson for the electoral vote. Hamilton supported Jefferson, and the House of Representatives eventually selected Jefferson as the new president.
Hamilton continued to be an opponent of Burr, who ran for governor of New York in 1804. Hamilton worked hard to get Burr defeated. As result, Burr challenged Hamilton to a pistol duel in New York on July 11, 1804. Burr critically wounded Hamilton, who died the next day from his wounds.