Alexander Hamilton: the Revolutionary Years

Alexander Hamilton: the Revolutionary Years

Alexander Hamilton: the Revolutionary Years

Alexander Hamilton: the Revolutionary Years

Excerpt

During the American Revolution Alexander Hamilton commanded troops engaged in a military campaign during two periods, which, combined, amount to little more than one year. Yet, from early in 1776 until the surrender of Cornwallis late in 1781, with a single brief intermission, he was an officer immersed in the war. During most of this time, as an aide on General Washington's headquarters staff, he was as close as anyone, except the commander in chief, to the center of the struggle. That war, like all modern military contests, involved much more than fighting in the field. Just as the bulk of an iceberg is sunk below the surface of the sea, so in the Revolution the problems of recruitment of men and materials and keeping up of public morale -- in a word, organization -- underlay every clash of arms.

In the effort of the American Colonies to secure their independence, the support of troops in the field presented peculiar difficulties. The country was sharply divided between Whigs (patriots) and Loyalists, not to speak of those who were indifferent to the result. Some kind of all-Colonies government had to be created out of hand. Actually, until the fighting war was almost over, the Continental Congress was not constitutional at all, but was a continuation, with added functions, of the ear-

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