Hamilton was born in the British West Indies, and moved to New York in 1772 to attend King’s College, known now as Columbia University. As a teenager, he volunteered for service in the Revolutionary War in a New York artillery company. There he rose to the rank of captain. Hamilton later served as a confidential assistant to General George Washington as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1780, he married Elizabeth Schuyler. In 1782 he was admitted to the bar and began to practice law in New York. He was also a delegate in the Continental Congress and played an important role in the ratification of the United States Constitution in New York. He co-authored many of the Federalist Papers and, he was appointed the first Secretary of the Treasury by President Washington. While holding this position, Hamilton’s concentration on business aided the growth and development of New York City as a financial center.
In 1800, he started construction of his country home in the neighborhood that later became known as Hamilton Heights. Hamilton died in 1804 when he was fatally wounded in a duel with political rival Aaron Burr. He is buried in Lower Manhattan’s Trinity Church cemetery.
The statue located on East Drive, opposite of East 83rd Street, depicts Alexander Hamilton as a distinguished political figure of an emergent United States. Hamilton’s son, John C. Hamilton, donated the piece to New York City in 1880. The monument is unusual in that it is carved entirely of granite. The thirteen stars above the monument’s pedestal represent the thirteen original colonies, and convey Hamilton’s patriotism and service.