Although Hamilton's life had been filled with extraordinary successes, the year 1797 marked a turning point in his life. From this point on until his death, Hamilton's life was plagued with scandal and political frustrations. His first pitfall struck in 1797, when James Monroe, who would later become president but was at this time a prominent Congressman from Virginia, denounced Hamilton as an adulterer. Monroe accused Hamilton of having an affair in 1791 and 1792 with Maria Reynolds while Hamilton's own wife was away in Philadelphia with their children, and of trying to bribe Reynolds's husband into keeping the affair quiet. Hamilton did, in fact, bribe James Reynolds, but he argued that the money he paid came out of his own pocket, and not out of the government's purse. Monroe had earlier pledged to keep quiet about the affair, but chose for unknown reasons to break his pledge in 1797. Hamilton wrote a public
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