Killed before he was fifty in the most famous duel in American history, Alexander Hamilton had the shortest life of all the major founding fathers and experienced a career filled with as much controversy as triumph. His influence on our nation, however, has been consistent and profound. We remember him above all as the nation’s first great fiscal voice, but his accomplishments extend into the arenas of diplomacy, law, warfare, and political strategy. Though never a president himself, he was a crucial advisor in Washington’s administration—where he served as the nation’s first secretary of the Treasury—and greatly influenced, not always benevolently, the elections of both Adams and Jefferson. Despite his reluctance to see America split into factions, Hamilton’s Federalists—who called for a strong central government and a national bank—signaled the emergence of political parties in the young nation.
Hamilton remains one of the key figures in American legal history. A lawyer in his private life, he was the only person from New York to sign the Constitution and fought tirelessly for its ratification. Hamilton was also the primary author of the Federalist Papers, to this day perhaps the most consulted commentary on the Constitution both in the academy and in our courts.
Hamilton’s writings take us from the front lines of the Revolutionary War to the Congress of the Confederation to the early days of Manhattan Island. The cast comprises the most notable personages of the era, including the early presidents, the Marquis de Lafayette, John Jay, and archrival Aaron Burr, with whom he had his fatal duel.
This digital edition contains all 27 volumes of the print edition of the Papers—all the writings by and to Hamilton known to exist, some 19,000 documents—including all editorial annotations. Additional content that, in the print edition, was collected in appendices appears here in its proper chronological place; there is also a cumulative index, and all cross-references are linked. This XML-based publication provides the maximum searching ability and is interoperable with other titles in the American Founding Era Collection, so users may search across multiple collections of documents, including the papers of the first four presidents.