Alexander Hamilton once said: “There are strong minds in every walk of life that will rise superior to the disadvantages of situation, and will command the tribute due to their merit….? It is hard to imagine anyone starting life with more disadvantages than he did. Professor Carl Rubino of Columbia University called Hamilton “the first Horatio Alger . . . the original underdog who made it.? Hamilton’s mother, Rachel, refused to knuckle in to her husband’s autocratic rule. When she left him, he had her arrested and imprisoned. Several years later, unable to get a divorce, Rachel began a 15-year relationship with James Hamilton. They had two boys. The youngest, Alexander, was born in 1755 on the British West Indies island of Nevis. The scourge of illegitimacy would haunt Hamilton for the rest of his life.