Why Create A Navy?

19th-century-american-maritimeIt was a debate that continually divided the two political parties in the early days of United States history. Was it proper to have a standing army and navy? Or was it better to call out the militia and arm a few privateers in the event of war or rebellion? The arguments and decisions regarding American military were passionate from both sides. Understanding the political conflict and its resolution is key to knowledge about the early American navy and its role as “protector” of maritime interests in the 19th Century.

The American War For Independence concluded with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Four years later the U.S. Constitution was written. In 1789, George Washington became the first president. An ocean away from the new country, Britain frowned at the colonial loss and tried to restrict American trade. The French Revolution did not ease the tensions over trade and the American interest in the European “republicanism” drama.

George Washington tried to navigate uncharted waters regarding diplomacy, government, and international relations. While he held a view of neutrality, future presidents argued in his cabinet and in congress – seeking ways to strength the new nation and enforce respect. With maritime trade still a key part of the country’s wealth, protecting American interests on the high seas seemed imperative to some, impossible to others. Continue reading

Alexander Hamilton: Founding Father

Today, we are pleased to welcome guest author, Nathan Bierle! Nathan has been studying U.S. Government and part of his class included “A Patriot Project.” This special assignment requires students to study the life of an American Founding Father, with the goal of learning about his life and moral beliefs.

Nathan chose to research Alexander Hamilton and discovered some interesting facts about this American leader. Nathan admitted that with the resources he had available, it was a little challenging to discover precise details regarding Hamilton’s religious/moral beliefs, but I think he has drawn some insightful conclusions, based on the information he found.

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton – Patriot Project

By Nathan Bierle

(Edited for publication by Miss Sarah)

Examining the life of one of our Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, we can see how biblical values played an important role in early American history. Throughout his life, Hamilton held a high moral and ethical standard. This made him a great leader both on the battlefield and in government.

Early Life Alexander Hamilton was born on the Lesser Antilles island of Nevis. Most historians think he was born in 1757, but there is no direct evidence as to when he was born. He grew up on the island where he was born. Hamilton’s father left his mother when he was ten, so he started working at his mother’s store on the island. Since he did not have enough money to go to school he taught himself as much as he could by reading. When Hamilton was twelve his mother died of an island disease, so he went and became an apprentice with a trader based in New York. After making some money working for the trader and moving to New York, Alexander Hamilton attended Kings College in New York. At college he studied math, Latin, and anatomy.

War Years Shortly after he got out of college the American Revolution began so he joined the American army and became a captain of artillery. After proving himself a good leader at the battles of Princeton and Trenton, Hamilton became an aide to General George Washington.

For his role as first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton is currently featured on the $10 bill (U.S. Currency)

For his role as first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton is currently featured on the $10 bill (U.S. Currency)

American Politics At the end of the war, he married Betsey Schuyler, the daughter of a rich merchant, and had eight children. He also became a lawyer and got into politics in New York during this time. After being in politics for a little while, he became one of the New York representatives at the Constitutional Convention. During that time he was one of the key people writing the Federalist Papers. After George Washington became president, Alexander Hamilton was appointed the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury; in this position, he saved our economy after the revolution. After serving as Secretary of the Treasury for three years 1788-1791, he stayed in government until his death in 1804. He died of a fatal gunshot wound after his duel with Aaron Burr.

Hamilton_Trumbull_1792Religious/Moral Beliefs After a brief study of Hamilton’s life, it is difficult to know exactly what he thought about the Bible and the influence its principles should have in government. We do know that in his youth Hamilton was raised in a Presbyterian church, but he seemed to run out of time for religion after his college years. When Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, he was a Deist – he believed there is a god that made everything, but that that god has just let everything go its own way. From his writings it appears that Hamilton believed that religion was only a moral standard, instead of a warning of judgment on those who disobey. Although it would appear that he was not a committed Christian, he did have good morals; for example, as a lawyer he chose to not worry about popularity, but to do what was right by defending former Loyalists in court. Another example is something he said, “A promise must never be broken.” This shows he knew the importance of honesty in government. Even though he was not a very religious man, it is obvious that he knew the difference of right and wrong, and knew that a nation needs good morals.

Thanks, Nathan, for sharing your report with us!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Learn something new about Alexander Hamilton? Want to share some encouragement with Nathan? We look forward to your comments.