• Kennedy Austin

Alexander Hamilton: the stubbornly ambitious influencer

How an orphan plowed his way into history books with persuasive writing

By: Austin Kennedy

My deep admiration for our ambitious, hard-working, silver-tongued—or more accurately, silver-quilled— founding father, Alexander Hamilton, came from one of the most groundbreaking musicals of this generation. A piece that tells his life, delving into his climb toward a rightful place in the United States history books. Yes, you may have suspected already that just like a good handful of Americans, my admiration is due to the 2015 Broadway musical “Hamilton,” written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The award-winning show brought the historical legend to life through catchy songs, giving us a person to whom audiences can relate and empathize.

Alexander Hamilton helped gain freedom for the United States and recognition for himself by understanding the importance of being a skilled writer, tailoring messages for the public and being an ambitious and diligent worker.

The Non-Stop Influencer

Painting of Alexander Hamilton
Painting of Alexander Hamilton

In the political sphere, Alexander Hamilton was truly a man who was non-stop. Hamilton made a name for himself during the Revolutionary War until he became General George Washington’s, right-hand man. Using his cunning wit, writing skills and ability to speak French, Hamilton soon became Washington’s aide—writing correspondences and strategies on the General’s behalf.

Hamilton’s work with Washington during the war was just the beginning. He became increasingly involved in developing a strong and newly freed country. He wrote 51 of the 85 “Federalist Papers”, which helped convince the public to ratify the Constitution. Hamilton also learned to compromise with audiences who had opposing ideas, doing his best to persuade them to find his proposals more agreeable. He left his mark on the United States government by learning whom his proposals and other pieces of writing were going to, knowing their wants and needs and playing to them. Such was the case with the Compromise of 1790, where Hamilton managed to have southern representatives, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, agree to his proposal to have the federal government assume all states’ debts in return of the capital being in the South.

Back to Journalistic Roots

When a hurricane wrecked through St. Croix in 1772, Alexander Hamilton took to the pen. In a letter, he gave “an imperfect account of one of the most dreadful hurricanes that memory or any records whatever can trace.” He wrote of his country’s disheartening state, where survivors could neither rejoice for withstanding nor rise from the debris of sorrow to help one another. The letter was published into The Royal Danish American Gazette two weeks later and, through its eloquence, moved the community into funding his education in America.

As a lawyer, Hamilton defended British Loyalists.
An early issue of The New-Work Evening Post

However, for the next couple of years after moving to New York, Hamilton’s journalistic background took the backseat. Instead, he wrote his way toward military and, soon thereafter, political recognition. He returned to the journalism scene in 1801 after creating The New-York Evening Post, a small newspaper that allowed him to voice his political opinions—both with and without pseudonyms. Despite Hamilton’s firm belief in Federalism, The New-York Evening Post promised to provide the public with correct information on all parties with “equal impartiality, and equal secrecy” for writers.

Hamilton’s Drive

The guts to pursue a goal, no matter the challenges that may present themselves, isn’t something many people have. Yet, Alexander Hamilton did. Despite the various hardships he faced from childhood to death, Hamilton pressed on. He is proof that no matter the person’s background or circumstances, dreams and goals can be met and exceeded with enough hard work and determination. He wrote and spoke passionately about what he believed in without fear or modesty.

Hamilton’s writing skills alone are enough to cause a need for admiration. Because of his many works under various pseudonyms in defense of proposals for the United States government, the country was able to gain a steady footing in its early years of formation.

About the Author

Kennedy Austin is a new public relations professional in Denton, Texas. Austin is majoring in journalism with a focus in public relations and minoring in hospitality management at the University of North Texas. She is expected to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in May 2023.