the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

He joined the continental army in march 1776 as

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The war that he had been looking for as a young adolescent found him as a young man. He joined the Continental Army in March 1776 as captain of an artillery company. Henry Knox, head of artillery, soon identified him as the finest officer under his command. Hamilton maintained discipline in his company during the catastrophic New York campaign, when it was breaking down all around him. (In the headlong retreat up Manhattan, Hamilton and Aaron Burr, future duelists on the plains of Weehawken, bonded in a narrow escape from death or capture.) Then the familiar Hamilton pattern repeated itself in March 1777, when Washington plucked him from the ranks to serve as an aide-de-camp at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was twenty or twenty-two at the time, depending on which of his birthdays is used to calculate his age. This was an auspicious but awkward promotion for Hamilton. All of a sudden, it placed him in the center of the wind tunnel, drafting general orders for Washington’s signature and participating in the conferences among the general staff and in the nightly conversations within Washington’s official “family” about military strategy and tactics. There is no way of knowing for sure, but the bulk of the evidence makes it probable that this was the time when Hamilton developed a pronounced sense of disdain for the competence of the Continental Congress, which was sustaining the Continental Army on life support. During the last four years of the war—a roller-coaster ride when the Continental Army nearly evaporated on several occasions—Hamilton reached the conclusion that a state-based confederation was inadequate for the conduct of the war and even more inadequate for the postwar peace. But Hamilton also bristled under the duties of aide-de-camp, which forced his instinctive sense of superiority into a subordinate status within Washington’s huge shadow. Starting in 1779, Hamilton began to badger Washington for an independent command in which he could lead troops in battle. There was a potent psychological impulse at work here, for Hamilton harbored a quasi-chivalric sense of war as a ritualistic test of his own manhood. He needed to risk death in order to prove to the world, and himself, that he was worthy. For two years Washington dismissed these requests as misguided, arguing that Hamilton was an invaluable member of his staff whose aspirations for personal glory needed to be subordinated to the larger purposes of the war. Hamilton began his correspondence with Morris in April 1781, when he was on furlough from the army to marry Elizabeth Schuyler, daughter of Philip Schuyler, patriarch of one of New York’s most prominent families. The fact that Hamilton was acceptable within that privileged circle is a testament to his mounting reputation but also to the more open-minded American society. Such a marriage would have been unimaginable in England or Europe. Orders then came for him to rejoin the army on its race toward Yorktown, along with Washington’s reluctant agreement to give him a combat command during the battle.
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