In our world, there are lots of famous pairs. There are a lot of things that just work really well together, like they were meant to be. And as we start the fifth year of Today’s History Lesson, let’s name some.
Chocolate and peanut butter.
Donnie and Marie.
Spaghetti and meatballs.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto.
Calvin and Hobbes.
Blue Falcon and Dog Wonder.
Abbott and Costello.
Sonny and Cher (ok…admittedly, they worked slightly less well together).
Starksy and Hutch.
Brooks and Dunn.
You get the picture. In the political world, there have famous pairings, too. We immediately think of duos like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, or maybe John and Abigail Adams. Lexington and Concord. Valley Forge and Baron von Steuben. Republicans and tax breaks for the wealthy…I jest, I jest!!! Hmmm…Democrats and deficits…there, does that even it out? Anyways, we could go on and on, but I’ll focus instead in one.
George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. We’ve talked about both of these immensely influential Founders on many occasions, but it’s time we put them together.
Hamilton and Washington were a team for the better part of twenty-five years. Washington, the first President, was the calm, steady leader. Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary, was the impetuous, forceful subordinate. It fact, it’s very safe to say that during Washington’s first term (and much of his second), Alexander was the second most powerful man in America. He was more powerful than Vice President Adams. He was more powerful than Secretary of State Jefferson.
Hamilton’s influence made him a lot of enemies, and Washington’s deference to Hamilton made a great many exceedingly jealous. Thomas Jefferson, in particular, came to believe that Washington was little more than a marionette, dancing on the strings manipulated from above by a power-maddened Hamilton.
But George Washington’s trust in Hamilton was built on years of experience in close proximity to the man. Whether you like Hamilton or hate him (or are completely indifferent), you must know that Washington was a pretty good judge of people, and he knew Hamilton better than most.
Their collaboration began on this day in history…March 1, 1777. George Washington was a General…in fact, he was the General of the army. Alexander Hamilton was an artillery company Captain, who had distinguished himself in the Battle of White Plains and the Battle of Trenton. His leadership abilities and good performance under pressure (and under fire) had made him something of a desirable commodity. General Nathanael Greene had requested his services. Henry Knox (at that time a Brigadier General) had also sought out Hamilton to be an aide. Hamilton had refused both, preferring to earn his Revolutionary glory on the field of battle.
But when General Washington invited Hamilton to join his staff as an aide-de-camp, it was an offer he simply couldn’t refuse. He accepted the General’s offer and joined his staff on this day with the elevated rank of Lieutenant Colonel. And that’s where this “dynamic duo” got its start.
Speaking of Captains, our son learned today that he has been promoted to the rank of Captain. Congratulations to him!!