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Alexander Hamilton’s memorial gets a reboot

More than two centuries after Alexander Hamilton died from injuries sustained in a duel with the vice president of the United States, his grave site at the end of Wall Street has been repaired and will be rededicated Friday, a day ahead of his birthday.

The 1804 New Jersey duel with Aaron Burr remains a popular trivia question, but it's hard to trivialize Hamilton's role as a Founding Father.

"He created the financial system as we know it," said David Cowen, the president of the Museum of American Finance. "He's like a genius who was so far ahead of his time."

Hamilton's tombstone, in Trinity Church cemetery, near Wall Street.Amy Langfield | CNBC

Hamilton was President George Washington's right hand during peace and wartime. While serving as the Secretary of the Treasury he developed the plan to assume the states' junk-status wartime debts and reissue them on behalf of the federal government.

The plan worked so well that within about six years, the debt was paid off and the nation's credit was so good that it secured a $11.25 million loan to complete the Louisiana Purchase.

"Within a short period, he pulled off an economic miracle," Cowen said.

Without Hamilton's actions, there is no reason to believe the nascent democracy would have taken root, historians say.

"It gave our constitution a chance to succeed," said Rand Scholet, the founder of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society. "Hamilton created our whole capitalist society."

A lawyer—and so much more—Hamilton helped found the Bank of New York, and he got it listed as the first company on the New York Stock Exchange. He created central banking and the U.S. Coast Guard, was a founder of the New York Post, and helped establish "truth" as a legitimate defense against libel claims.


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