Few people know just how extensive Alexander Hamilton's contributions to the US Constitution are. Here are some fun facts about Alexander Hamilton and our nation's governing document.
Did you know?
- Hamilton was the only delegate from New York to sign the US Constitution.
- Alexander Hamilton was one of seven foreign-born signers of the Constitution (out of a total 39 signers).
Calling for a 'Federal Convention'
- Alexander Hamilton made formal and informal calls in 1780, 1781, 1782, 1785, and 1786 to "correct the deficits" of the Articles of Confederation (the predecessor to the US Constitution).
- Hamilton published a series of six essays called "The Continentalist" in 1781-1782 that called attention to the deficiencies of the Articles of the Confederation.
- Hamilton drafted the first official call passed by a public body (New York State legislature) for changes to the Articles of Confederation in 1782.
- The first official call for a national convention of the states was also drafted by Hamilton. The resolution was passed by the New York State legislature in 1785.
- During the Annapolis Convention in 1786, Alexander Hamilton penned an official call for a national convention to be held in Philadelphia in May 1787. The national convention that was held as a result is now known as the Constitutional Convention.
At the Constitutional Convention
- At the beginning of the convention, Hamilton was one of three delegates who served on the Rules Committee, which established the rules and procedures of the whole Convention.
- Toward the end of the convention, Hamilton was one of five men on the Styles and Arrangement committee, which produced the final version of the Constitution.
- Hamilton presented his own form of government for consideration (one of six major plans presented) in a six-hour speech on June 18, 1787.
- The two other New York delegates were Anti-Federalists, who left the convention in July with no intention to return.This left New York without an official vote in the remainder of the proceedings.
- Despite the disenfranchisement, Alexander Hamilton still participated in the Convention and signed the Constitution. George Washington remarked that the Constitution was approved by "eleven states and Colonel Hamilton."
- Though the Convention had a clerk transcribe the final Constitution, Alexander Hamilton wrote the states' names next to the delegates' signatures.
Ratifying the Constitution
- Hamilton was the first to publish a letter in defense of the Constitution. This article was published in the New York Independent Journal on Oct. 2, 1787, only two weeks after the Constitution was signed.1
- Hamilton came up with the concept and outline for the Federalist Papers and wrote almost two-thirds of the 85 essays.
- Alexander Hamilton was elected a delegate to the New York Ratifying Convention, where he led the (minority) faction in favor of ratifying the Constitution.
- At the New York Ratifying Convention, Hamilton made speeches - sometimes for 3-6 hours a day - over a six week time period to convince delegates to ratify the Constitution.
- The delegates at the Ratification Convention were originally 46 against ratifying and 19 for. Those 46 delegates had also signed a loyalty oath to the New York Governor that they would never vote to ratify the Constitution. Thanks in part to Hamilton's speeches, strategy, and efforts, the final vote was 30 for to 27 against.
- New York officially ratified the Constitution on July 26, 1788, becoming the 11th state to do so.