Celebrate Constitution Day!

Constitution Day (September 17) commemorates the day the members of the Philadelphia Convention signed the United States Constitution.  Of the three delegates from New York, only one participated through to the end and affixed his name:  Alexander Hamilton.  Revolutionary War veteran and lawyer, Hamilton was also a co-author of The Federalist Papers and the first Secretary of the Treasury.  Aligned with the Federalists, the rival party to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison’s Democratic-Republicans, Hamilton founded the New York Post in 1801 with other Federalist Party members. In 1804, he successfully opposed Aaron Burr’s bid to become governor of New York, a bitter dispute that led to the fatal duel, and Hamilton’s death, in July of that year.  (An interesting historical footnote:  Aaron Burr was a cousin of Theodore Dwight, whose grandson Theodore W. Dwight, a major figure in the history of American legal scholarship, played the central role in the creation of New York Law School in 1891.)

Further reading:

R. B. Bernstein, The Founding Fathers Reconsidered (2009).

R. B. Bernstein, The Constitution as an Exploding Cigar, 55 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 1073 (2010/11).

Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (2004).

Alexander Hamilton, Writings (2001).