Social Studies Blog Post #6: Hamilton

Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events

“Got a lot farther by working a lot harder By being a lot smarter By being a self-starter”

Throughout Alexander Hamilton’s life, the idea of being able to move up in society based on your merit and skill was relatively new, and a lot of people still believed that you were born into your social standing. Thanks to the emergence of the idea that if you worked hard enough you could change your social standing, Hamilton, who was born out of wedlock and had a poor background, was able to go to school and move up in the world.

Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies.

“And every day while slaves were being slaughtered and carted away across the waves, he struggled and kept his guard up”

Hamilton was working at a trading charter at a young age and had to inspect slaves as part of his job and while he was against slavery and would have helped the slaves if he could have, the disparity in power between Hamilton and his employers forced him to hide his true feelings about slavery.

Collective identity is constructed and can change over time.

“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”

Hamilton started out life as a poor child living without a father who was unable to go to school. His identity changed over time and due to hard work he was able to change his identity into that of an american hero and a scholar, even though many at the time thought it to be impossible for such a change to occur.

The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change.

“In New York, you can be a new man”

When Hamilton moved to New York City, nobody knew him and he was able to have a fresh start and leave behind all of the problems that he had in the Caribbean. He was able to reinvent himself and made several changes to how he was perceived.

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