Persaud, a Caribbean immigrant like Hamilton, united the soldier, general and financial genius with his birthplace again in death. As several including a direct descendant of Hamilton, Dough Hamilton; John Herzog, founder of the American Museum of Finance; Arthur Piccolo, chairman of the Bowling Green Association, Father Mark Bozzuti-Jones of Trinity Church and Rand Scholet, of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society, looked on, Persaud slowly poured soil gathered from the grounds of Hamilton’s former home on the island of Nevis, West Indies, on his gravesite at Broadway and Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, NYC.
The “uniting” ceremony culminated a graveside tribute that included the reading of a proclamation from St. Kitts & Nevis Prime Minister, Dr. Denzel Douglas and the annual placement of a wreath from the American Museum of Finance.
The group of almost 80, then moved inside to Trinity Church for a blessing from Father Bozzuti-Jones and key remarks on the “Ensuring Relevance Of Alexander Hamilton,” from Dr. Richard Sylla, Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets and Professor of Economics, New York University.
Sylla remembered Hamilton as a talented young man “in many, many way,” noting he was not just the Treasury Secretary but rose from being a revolutionary pamphleteer as a teen to a soldier, major, lawyer and constitutional reformer.
Sylla credited Hamilton as the person who brought financial structure to the United States at only age 24, since he was just 47 when he died.
“He believed that a national debt well managed could be a national debt, well managed, could be a national blessing,” said the professor. “He had a solution to the debt increase, proposing combining taxes with paying down debt. We Americans have a lot to learn from Hamilton’s gifts, including on avoiding the fiscal cliff and containing the debt ceiling.
The birthday celebration for Hamilton ended on a high note with the first ever live simultaneous live webcast between Hamilton’s birthplace in Charlestown, Nevis, and the Museum of American Finance in New York City, at 48 Wall Street. The Museum sits on the spot where Hamilton founded the Bank of New York, and just yards away from the first U.S. Capital where Hamilton was made the First U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, September 11, 1789.
The historic event that played to a global audience included a cake cutting ceremony at the Museum and an address from PM Douglas.
“Alexander Hamilton For the 21st Century” was the theme organizers used to mark the historic date.
The January 11th celebratory event was presented by The Bowling Green Association, The Museum of American Finance; the Alexander Hamilton Museum of Nevis and the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society, Trinity Church and The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society.
Hamilton was born on January 11, 1757, on the island of Nevis, British West Indies. In 1777, Hamilton became General George Washington’s assistant. In 1788, he convinced New Yorkers to agree to ratify the U.S Constitution. He then served as the nation’s First Secretary of the Treasury.
At the time, the nation was facing great foreign and domestic debt due to expenses incurred during the American Revolution. Ever a proponent for a strong central government, during his tenure as treasury secretary, Hamilton butted heads with fellow cabinet members who were fearful of a central government holding so much power. Lacking their state loyalties, Hamilton went so far as to turn down New York’s opportunity to house the nation’s capitol in favor of securing backing for his economic program, dubbed the “dinner table bargain.”
It was Hamilton’s belief that the Constitution gave him the authority to create economic policies that strengthened the central government. His proposed fiscal policies initiated the payment of federal war bonds, had the federal government assume states’ debts, instituted a federal system for tax collection and would help the United States establish credit with other nations.
Hamilton stepped down from his position as secretary of the treasury in 1795, leaving behind a far more secure U.S. economy to back a strengthened federal government.
On July 12, 1804, in New York City, Hamilton died of a gunshot wound that he sustained during a duel with Aaron Burr.