Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Was Alexander Hamilton Black?

(Originally published 2.23.07 in the Hamilton College Spectator.)

In honor of Black History Month, I've decided to examine the evidence that our college's namesake was partially of African descent. I have searched the internet and received help and perspective from Professor Ambrose, Professor Rubino and John Guilbert, Executive Director, Nevis Historical & Conservation Society. I'll examine the ramifications of discrediting the assumption that Hamilton was European. Despite a biblical passage to the contrary, Jesus is often illustrated as Northern European. Cleopatra (from Egypt) was portrayed by the English born Elizabeth Taylor. Non-European figures have been "whitened" before. Below, I'll give a brief biography of Alexander Hamilton, focusing on the evidence that he may have had "black blood".

Hamilton was born as the illegitimate son of Rachel Fawcett Lavien on a Carribean island the size of the town of Kirkland called Nevis. His mother was divorced for infidelity long before Hamilton was born, casting question onto Hamilton's father. Some claim that it was James Hamilton, the man who lived with Rachel. Others claim it was Nicolas Cruger, a Carribean merchant with connections in New York who employed an eleven year old Alexander Hamilton after his alleged father left him and his mother died. Some claim that Hamilton's mother had affairs with her slaves. Additionally, many claim that Hamilton's mother was herself part black, newspapers record Hamilton being called a mustee (implying his mother was a quarter black) by political enemies. At fourteen, Hamilton was running Cruger's business. After attending a prep school in New Jersey and applying to an advanced program at Princeton, he was turned down only after an in person interview. At seventeen he began attending what would become Colombia University, only to drop out two years later to fight in the Revolutionary War. At twenty Hamilton was appointed lieutenant colonel and became very close with George Washington. After practicing law for a short period after the war was over, Hamilton became extremely instrumental in the ratification of the Constitution by writing most of the Federalist Papers and formed the Federalist party. Hamilton was perhaps the staunchest abolitionist of his time. He argued blacks were mentally equal to whites and that slaves could be competent soldiers. He supported the black led government in Haiti who overthrew the French. At thirty-two Hamilton was named the first Secretary of the treasury by Washington. After resigning due to a scandal, Hamilton became more involved in political rivalries that would eventually result in his death. John Adams called Hamilton a "creole bastard" and Abigail Adams who said "[Hamilton] was a vain, ambitious man aspiring to govern when it was his duty to submit". Hamilton received much criticism despite being so important in the foundation of this country. Hamilton's life was ended in 1804 by Aaron Burr, who received no punishment.

That's about all the evidence I could find. I imagine some people are convinced that Hamilton was black. Others may think I've offered little or no evidence at all. Remember, there's no proof that Hamilton was white. Nobody knows what race Hamilton, his political critics probably didn't and it's possible that Hamilton himself was never sure. Certainty could only be determined by a genetic test. Some people might argue that Hamilton's race doesn't matter. Clearly, race meant something during Hamilton's time. But even today people of try to accumulate long lists of great individuals of their own race so they can feel proud of their race, or sometimes so they can feel superior to other races. So Hamilton's race remains an uncertainty that is important for people.

What is certain is that Hamilton's achievements were important and affect us today. That he was born a soon to be orphaned bastard on a tiny island makes his life more incredible. So does the fact that he was brutally criticized, perhaps simply for being an outsider (all the important founding fathers were born in America) or perhaps because of his race. He was an important military, political and economic figure, he was one of the few who advocated treating an unfavorably viewed group as the equals. His struggle and achievements are similar and important to millions of African-Americans, regardless of whether he was of African descent. If anybody is looking for a person of African descent who was accepted among whites before abolition, I'd recommend investigating Benjamin Scott Moncrieffe who served as the treasurer of a colonial church union.

All of this begs the questions, why do we need African-American heroes to be African, and why do we need a Black History Month at all? Certainly blacks have faced terrible discrimination, but so have plenty of other groups. There wouldn't be enough months in the calendar to accommodate every group. How about we use the month of February to confront and eliminate our own prejudices so we can honestly say things like the race of Alexander Hamilton, or any other individual, doesn't mean anything.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. It's ironic that by categorizing who we are we only divide ourselves even more. People should be congratulated by what they achieved not where they came from or what their genetic makeup is. The only way we will every remove prejudice is by appreciating the person that stands before us and not the race, religion, country that they came from.

JB said...

It is interesting that when whites can't successfully add to their race a person of accomplishment they retreat to the "why is the race of the individual important anyway?"

As for suggesting having a black month is needless, that is just another way for whites to continue manipulating history to make it seem their race was all that mattered to America's history.

If the white historians didn't lie so often about who did what in our history books, then maybe we wouldn't need a black history month. Presently the other 11 months are devoted to what white historians claim to be the contributions of white men to this country.

The only way we will ever remove prejudice is by revealing the lies that white historians have told about the history of America. i.e that Edison was the founder of inventions when he was actually a thief that stole the inventions of non whites who could not legally register a patent.

White history is full of lies promoting the white race as special. Without a second voice in the wilderness implying otherwise, their lies go unchallenged. That's the purpose of those whites that are quick to suggest that we don't need a month "dividing ourselves even more."

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that Negroids such as JB complain about historical figures not being black because he wants it to look like his devolved species invented everything.

You only say "white history is full of lies" because you want to claim every historical person and invention that you can. Black history is full of lies. But of course you say nothing about that because that is exactly what you people strive for is "fake history" so you people can be proud of something you didn't do.

The Rosa Parks story and Martin Luther King story are both lies. MLK was nothing but a plagiarist

Truth about Michael King

http://www.snopes.com/history/american/mlking.asp

It's getting very tiring of you people repeating this shit over and over again without providing any evidence for your bullshit claims.

Thomas Edison didn't steal from non-whites he stole his inventions from Nicholas Tesla whom was another white man.

Whom were these non-whites that he stole from? Please do tell us because I'd love to know. You people didn't invent electricity, peanut butter, internet, phone, computer, etc you have nothing to do with any of these things.

They even had to lie and say that George Washington Carver invented peanut butter just to please you idiots. He had absolutely nothing to do with the invention of peanut butter.

I bet you still believe that George Washington Carver invented peanut butter.

The Aztecs actually were the inventors of peanut butter.

Peanuts, which are native to the New World tropics, were mashed into paste by Aztecs hundreds of years ago. Evidence of modern peanut butter comes from US patent #306727 issued to Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Quebec in 1884, for a process of milling roasted peanuts between heated surfaces until the peanuts reached "a fluid or semi-fluid state." As the product cooled, it set into what Edson described as "a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment." In 1890, George A. Bayle Jr., owner of a food business in St. Louis, manufactured peanut butter and sold it out of barrels. J.H. Kellogg, of cereal fame, secured US patent #580787 in 1897 for his "Process of Preparing Nutmeal," which produced a "pasty adhesive substance" that Kellogg called "nut-butter."

Alexander Hamilton was not black nor was he part black. He would have never been aloud to hold public office during those times if he was. George Washington sure as hell wouldn't have chosen him to be the 1st Secretary of the Treasury neither if he was.

Anybody with a brain knows that Alexander Hamilton wasn't black nor mulatto not even his grandson looks remotely black.

Allan McLane Hamilton

http://image1.findagrave.com/photos/2009/362/6092946_126213920440.jpg

These same black revisionist claim that Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Warren G. Harding, Woodrow Wilson, etc are all black because they supposedly have a drop of black blood in them.

Black revisionism is the dumbest shit ever created. I swear every day a new bullshit myth arises. Tomorrow they'll be claiming George Washington was black/mulatto.

Anonymous said...

Alexander Hamilton was a white man. The fact that you said this couldn't be proven is ridiculous.

This recent "black blood" myth is very recent just like Thomas Jefferson's, Beethoven's, Abraham Lincoln's, etc.

Arguing with these black revisionist is like arguing with a wall.

No matter how much evidence you provide they'll just call you a liar until you believe their bullshit version of history.

Just like JB for example. Notice how he keeps saying white history is a lie and white historians lie without providing any evidence to prove so?

Where's his evidence of this? Where's his evidence of Thomas Edison stealing from non-whites?

I also love how he acts like their is so much blacks did between 1783 - 1865. In those times blacks were slaves and couldn't even hold any public office. Blacks couldn't even get into office until the late 1800's.

Haiti however Negroids could hold office however after the Negroids killed all the French Haiti went down hill just like every other black majority country.

Anonymous said...

Alexander's father was a Scotsman and his mother was a Danish/Jew so where does the black come in?


"Alexander Hamilton was born on the West Indian Island of Nevis. His father, of Scottish ancestry, remained in Scotland during Hamilton's childhood due to a debt, forcing his mother to rely on friends and relatives for financial support. Around the age of ten the family moved to the nearby island of St. Croix where his mother died soon after. Friends and relatives took an interest in the future of the young Hamilton by encouraging him to work as a mercantile clerk and to read and write, activities at which he excelled despite his lack of proper schooling. Hamilton's formal education began after Reverend Hugh Knox, a Presbyterian minister, gave a sermon so inspiring that Hamilton wrote a description of it for the Royal-Danish American Gazette. When a group of readers found out that the words were those of an under-privileged fifteen-year-old they decided to sponsor his way to the American Colonies to receive his first formal education."

Anonymous said...

These Afrocentrist are claiming Founding Fathers of the United States now? lol. I'm guessing they're running out of history to steal.

Weren't these same people bashing the hell out of them before?

Now since there is some stupid myth floating around that one of them is supposedly black/mulatto that view suddenly changes?

Blacks are such hypocrites.

Soon they'll be claiming John F. Kennedy is black. I mean they already claim that his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was the first black lady because she supposedly had black blood in her.

Here's the article:

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/michelle-obama-not-our-first-black-first-lady-10-fascinating-things-you-didnt-know