Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 - July 12, 1804) was an American politician, statesman, writer, lawyer, and soldier. One of the United States' most prominent and brilliant early constitutional lawyers, he was an influential delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention and the principal author of the Federalist Papers, which successfully defended the U.S. Constitution to skeptical New Yorkers. He also put the new United States of America onto a sound economic footing as its first and most influential Secretary of the Treasury, establishing the First Bank of the United States, public credit and the foundations for American capitalism, and stock and commodity exchanges. To defend his programs against the criticisms of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Hamilton founded the first political party in the United States, the Federalist Party, which he dominated until his death in a duel with political rival Aaron Burr.
Alexander Hamilton is often regarded as the Founding Father who advocated the principles of a strong centralized federal government and loose interpretation of the Constitution that would become the hallmark of the early Republic. This was due to his support of strong national defense, strong business institutions, regulated capitalism (Report on Manufactures and what was later called the "American System"), and a commitment to economic growth through protectionist tariffs, subsidies to industry, and other measures recommended in his Report on Manufactures to the U.S. Congress. He stood opposed to the laissez faire capitalism, weak central government, and free trade philosophy of the Democratic-Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson. His Federalist Party was Hamilton's means of achieving Federalist principles including his support for a broad interpretation of the United States Constitution and a strong federal government. He outlined these principles in one of his most notable works, the Federalist Papers.