Debate over this discrepancy has continued for more than two centuries, but most modern scholars agree that Hamilton likely changed his birth year intentionally.
Shortly after Hamilton came into the world, his father James abandoned the family, fearful that the mother of his child would be charged with bigamy.
Himself an orphan, Hamilton quickly agreed, but their financial arrangement soon morphed into a trickier entanglement as the pair embarked on an affair that would last more than three years.
Maria Reynolds was no desperate housewife, however.
In 1768, when Hamilton was likely 13 years old, his mother died, effectively leaving him an orphan.
Shaving two years off his age would have made him a more desirable candidate for an apprenticeship to a local businessman.
She and her husband, James, had carefully planned the affair in an attempt to extort even larger amounts from then-Secretary Hamilton, who readily coughed up the sums.
The loss devastated the Hamilton family, and many historians believe it led to Hamilton’s own reluctance to fire directly at Aaron Burr during their legendary duel just three years later.Whatever his intentions, Hamilton missed his opponent but was promptly shot in the stomach; he died the next afternoon. It took more than 200 years—and two moves—to finally establish a proper monument to Alexander Hamilton.Alexander Hamilton came to New York in 1772, and—with the exception of stints in the military and government—the city would remain his home for the rest of his life.He published his own lengthy pamphlet in which he acknowledged the extramarital relationship.Hamilton was publicly applauded for his honesty, but his political career was effectively destroyed. Alexander Hamilton and his eldest son were killed under similar circumstances and in the same location.