Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.
Electoral votes, out of 538, allocated to each state and the District of Columbia for presidential elections to be held in 2024 and 2028, based on representation, which depends on population data from the 2020 census. Every jurisdiction is entitled to at least 3.
Signing of the Constitution, September 17, 1787 (1940 by Howard Chandler Christy)
In the 2020 presidential election (held using 2010 census data) Joe Biden received 306 and Donald Trump 232 of the total 538 electoral votes.
In Maine (upper-right) and Nebraska (center), the small circled numbers indicate congressional districts. These are the only two states to use a district method for some of their allocated electors, instead of a complete winner-takes-all.
Dates the 13 states ratified the Constitution
Cases of certificates of the electoral college votes confirming the results of the 2020 US election, after they had been removed from the House Chambers by congressional staff during the 2021 U.S. Capitol attack.
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After the popular election in November, a state's Certificate of Ascertainment officially announces the state's electors for the Electoral College. The appointed Electoral College members later meet in the state capital in December to cast their votes.
"We the People" in an original edition
Population per electoral vote for each state and Washington, D.C. (2010 census). By 2020 estimates, a single elector could represent more than 700,000 people or under 200,000.
Closing endorsement section of the United States Constitution
When the state's electors meet in December, they cast their ballots and record their vote on a Certificate of Vote, which is then sent to the U.S. Congress. (From the election of 1876)
United States Bill of Rights
Currently housed in the National Archives.
This cartogram shows the number of electors from each state for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Following the 2010 Census, New York and Ohio lost two electoral votes, 8 states lost one, 6 states gained one, Florida gained two, and Texas gained four.
John Jay, 1789–1795
This graphic demonstrates how the winner of the popular vote can still lose in an electoral college system similar to the U.S. Electoral College.
John Marshall, 1801–1835
Bar graph of popular votes in presidential elections (through 2020). Black stars mark the five cases where the winner did not have the plurality of the popular vote. Black squares mark the two cases where the electoral vote resulted in a tie, or the winner did not have the majority of electoral votes. An H marks each of two cases where the election was decided by the House; an S marks the one case where the election was finalized by the Supreme Court.
Salmon P. Chase {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Chase Court, 1864–1873, in 1865 were Salmon P. Chase (chief Justice); Hon. Nathan Clifford, Maine; Stephen J. Field, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Hon. Samuel F. Miller, U.S. Supreme Court; Hon. Noah H. Swayne, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Judge Morrison R. Waite}}
These maps show the amount of attention given to each state by the Bush and Kerry campaigns (combined) during the final five weeks of the 2004 election: each waving hand (purple map) represents a visit from a presidential or vice presidential candidate; each dollar sign (green map) represents one million dollars spent on TV advertising.
William Howard Taft {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Taft Court, 1921–1930, in 1925 were James Clark McReynolds, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William Howard Taft (chief justice), Willis Van Devanter, Louis Brandeis. Edward Sanford, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Harlan Fiske Stone}}
Half the U.S. population lives in 143 urban / suburban counties out of 3,143 counties or county equivalents (2019 American Community Survey)
Earl Warren {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Warren Court, 1953–1969, in 1963 were Felix Frankfurter; Hugo Black; Earl Warren (chief justice); Stanley Reed; William O. Douglas. Tom Clark; Robert H. Jackson; Harold Burton; Sherman Minton}}
William Rehnquist {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Rehnquist Court, 1986–2005.}}
José Rizal
Sun Yat-sen

The United States Electoral College is the group of presidential electors required by the Constitution to form every four years for the sole purpose of appointing the president and vice president.

- United States Electoral College

Foner, Eric, "The Corrupt Bargain" (review of Alexander Keyssar, Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?, Harvard, 2020, 544 pp., ISBN: 978 0 674 66015 1; and Jesse Wegman, Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College, St Martin's Press, 2020, 304 pp., ISBN: 978 1 250 22197 1), London Review of Books, vol. 42, no. 10 (21 May 2020), pp. 3, 5–6. Foner concludes (p. 6): "Rooted in distrust of ordinary citizens and, like so many other features of American life, in the institution of slavery, the electoral college is a relic of a past the United States should have abandoned long ago."

- Constitution of the United States
Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

25 related topics with Alpha

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President of the United States

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Head of state and head of government of the United States of America.

Head of state and head of government of the United States of America.

George Washington, the first president of the United States
President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a radio address, 1933
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King Jr. and others look on
President Donald Trump delivers his 2018 State of the Union Address, with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Gorbachev sign the 1990 Chemical Weapons Accord in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, successfully preserved the Union during the American Civil War.
President Barack Obama with his Supreme Court appointee Justice Sotomayor, 2009
President Ronald Reagan reviews honor guards during a state visit to China, 1984
President Woodrow Wilson throws out the ceremonial first ball on Opening Day, 1916
President Jimmy Carter (left) debates Republican nominee Ronald Reagan on October 28, 1980.
Map of the United States showing the number of electoral votes allocated following the 2010 census to each state and the District of Columbia for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections; it also notes that Maine and Nebraska distribute electors by way of the congressional district method. 270 electoral votes are required for a majority out of 538 votes possible.
Franklin D. Roosevelt won a record four presidential elections (1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944), leading to the adoption of a two-term limit.
President William McKinley and his successor, Theodore Roosevelt
President Reagan surrounded by Secret Service
From left: George H. W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. Photo taken in the Oval Office on January 7, 2009; Obama formally took office thirteen days later.
Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, 2013
White House, the official residence
Camp David, the official retreat
Blair House, the official guest house
The presidential limousine, dubbed "The Beast"
The presidential plane, called Air Force One when the president is on board
Marine One helicopter, when the president is aboard

The president is elected indirectly through the Electoral College to a four-year term, along with the vice president.

It was through the closed-door negotiations at Philadelphia that the presidency framed in the U.S. Constitution emerged.

Constitutional Convention (United States)

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The Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17, 1787.

The Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17, 1787.

Independence Hall's Assembly Room
James Madison, the author of the Virginia Plan
Virginia Plan
Charles Pinckney Plan
Edmund Randolph, the Governor of Virginia, introduced the Virginia Plan
James Wilson's ideas shaped the American presidency more than any other delegate
New Jersey Plan
Hamilton's Plan
Roger Sherman of Connecticut
Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy (1940)
U.S. Postage, Issue of 1937, depicting Delegates at the signing of the Constitution, engraving after a painting by Junius Brutus Stearns
Quaker John Dickinson argued forcefully against slavery during the convention. Once Delaware's largest slaveholder, he had freed all of his slaves by 1787.

The result of the convention was the creation of the Constitution of the United States, placing the Convention among the most significant events in American history.

Realizing that direct election was impossible, Wilson proposed what would become the electoral college—the states would be divided into districts in which voters would choose electors who would then elect the president.

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U.S. state

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Constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50.

Constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50.

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Ownership of federal lands in the 50 states
U.S. states by date of statehood:
The order in which the original 13 states ratified the Constitution, then the order in which the others were admitted to the Union
A map showing the source languages of state names

All are grounded in republican principles (this being required by the federal constitution), and each provides for a government, consisting of three branches, each with separate and independent powers: executive, legislative, and judicial.

Each state is also entitled to select a number of electors (equal to the total number of representatives and senators from that state) to vote in the Electoral College, the body that directly elects the president of the United States.

Representation of all political parties as percentage in House of Representatives over time

United States House of Representatives

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Lower chamber of the United States Congress, with the Senate being the upper chamber.

Lower chamber of the United States Congress, with the Senate being the upper chamber.

Representation of all political parties as percentage in House of Representatives over time
Historical graph of party control of the Senate and House as well as the presidency
Republican speaker of the House Thomas Brackett Reed (1895–1899)
All 435 voting seats of the current House shown grouped by state, largest to smallest (From 2015)
Population per U.S. representative allocated to each of the 50 states and D.C., ranked by population. Since D.C. (ranked 49th) receives no voting seats in the House, its bar is absent.

The House also has exclusive powers: it initiates all revenue bills, impeaches federal officers, and elects the president if no candidate receives a majority of votes in the Electoral College.

The House is commonly referred to as the lower house and the Senate the upper house, although the United States Constitution does not use that terminology.

Washington, D.C.

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Capital city and federal district of the United States.

Capital city and federal district of the United States.

Looking West at the Capitol & the Mall, Washington DC
Historical coat of arms, as recorded in 1876
Following their victory at the Battle of Bladensburg (1814), the British entered Washington, D.C., burning down buildings, including the White House.
President Abraham Lincoln insisted that construction of the United States Capitol dome continue during the American Civil War (1861).
Crowds surrounding the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool during the March on Washington, 1963
Satellite photo of Washington, D.C. by ESA
The Washington Monument, seen across the Tidal Basin during 2007's National Cherry Blossom Festival
The L'Enfant Plan for Washington, D.C., as revised by Andrew Ellicott in 1792
Looking Northwest at the Mall, Washington DC
Looking West from RFK Stadium, Washington DC
Construction of the 12-story Cairo Apartment Building (1894) in the Dupont Circle neighborhood spurred building height restrictions.
The Georgetown neighborhood is known for its historic Federal-style rowhouses. In the foreground is the 19th century Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
Meridian Hill Park, in Columbia Heights
Map of racial distribution in Washington, D.C., according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people:
D.C. police on Harley-Davidson motorcycles escort a protest in 2018.
Federal Triangle, between Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. The U.S. federal government accounts for about 29% of D.C. jobs.
The Lincoln Memorial receives about six million visits annually.
The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest research and museum complex. Like its administration building, known as The Castle, many of its museums are on the National Mall.
The National Gallery of Art
The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts is home to the Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra.
Nationals Park in the Navy Yard area on the Anacostia River
is the home of the Washington Nationals baseball team.
The hometown Washington Capitals NHL hockey team plays in Penn Quarter's Capital One Arena; the arena is also home to the Washington Wizards NBA basketball team.
One Franklin Square: The Washington Post Building on Franklin Square
The Watergate complex was the site of the Watergate Scandal, which led to President Nixon's resignation.
The John A. Wilson Building houses the offices of the mayor of Washington and the Council of the District of Columbia.
The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, once the world's largest office building, houses the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
The Library of Congress is one of the world's largest libraries, with more than 167 million cataloged items.
Georgetown Day at Georgetown University
A Blue Line train at Farragut West, an underground station on the Washington Metro
Washington Union Station is one of the busiest rail stations in the United States.
I-66 in Washington, D.C.
The Capitol Power Plant, built to supply energy for the U.S. Capitol Complex, is under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol.

The U.S. Constitution provides for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress; the district is therefore not a part of any U.S. state (nor is it one itself).

District voters choose three presidential electors in accordance with the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961.

John Adams by Gilbert Stuart c. undefined 1800–1815

John Adams

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American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801.

American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801.

John Adams by Gilbert Stuart c. undefined 1800–1815
Adams's birthplace now in Quincy, Massachusetts
Boston Massacre of 1770 by Alonzo Chappel
John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence depicts the Committee of Five presenting its draft to Congress. Adams is depicted in the center with his hand on his hip.
The Assembly Room in Philadelphia's Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence
Adams frequently clashed with Benjamin Franklin over how to manage French relations.
Treaty of Paris by Benjamin West (Adams in front).
Adams – 1785 Mather Brown Portrait
Portrait of Adams by John Trumbull, 1793
Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, 1795. Washington rarely consulted Vice President Adams, who often felt marginalized and overshadowed by Washington's prestige.
1796 presidential election results
President's House, Philadelphia. Adams occupied this Philadelphia mansion from March 1797 to May 1800.
A political cartoon depicts the XYZ Affair – America is a female being plundered by Frenchmen. (1798)
Thomas Jefferson, Adams's vice president, attempted to undermine many of his actions as president and eventually defeated him for reelection.
Alexander Hamilton's desire for high military rank and his push for war with France put him into conflict with Adams.
1800 presidential election results
John Marshall, 4th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and one of Adams's few dependable allies
John Adams, c. 1816, by Samuel Morse (Brooklyn Museum)
Tombs of John and Abigail Adams (far) and John Quincy and Louisa Adams (near), in family crypt at United First Parish Church
Peacefield - John Adams' Home
Thoughts on Government (1776)
John Adams by Gilbert Stuart (1823). This portrait was the last made of Adams, done at the request of John Quincy.

Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the United States constitution, as did his essay Thoughts on Government.

Each state's presidential electors gathered on February 4, 1789, to cast their two votes for the president.

Portrait based on the unfinished Athenaeum Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1796

George Washington

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American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797.

American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797.

Portrait based on the unfinished Athenaeum Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1796
Ferry Farm, the residence of the Washington family on the Rappahannock River
Lieutenant Colonel Washington holds night council at Fort Necessity
Washington the Soldier: Lieutenant Colonel Washington on horseback during the Battle of the Monongahela (oil, Reǵnier, 1834)
Colonel George Washington, by Charles Willson Peale, 1772
Martha Washington based on a 1757 portrait by John Wollaston
General Washington, Commander of the Continental Army by Charles Willson Peale (1776)
Washington taking command of the Continental Army, just before the siege.
Battle of Long Island
Alonzo Chappel (1858)
Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Leutze (1851)
The Passage of the Delaware, by Thomas Sully, 1819 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
See map
The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776
by John Trumbull
Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge, by John Ward Dunsmore (1907)
Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth, Emanuel Leutze (1851–1854)
An engraving of Washington, likely made after his tenure in the army.
French King Louis XVI allied with Washington and Patriot American colonists
Siege of Yorktown, Generals Washington and Rochambeau give last orders before the attack
General George Washington Resigning His Commission, by John Trumbull, 1824
Shays' Rebellion confirmed for Washington the need to overhaul the Articles of Confederation.
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy, 1940. Washington is the presiding officer standing at right.
President George Washington, Gilbert Stuart (1795)
The President's House in Philadelphia was Washington's residence from 1790 to 1797
John Jay, negotiator of the Jay Treaty
Seneca chief Red Jacket was Washington's peace emissary with the Northwestern Confederacy.
Battle of Fallen Timbers by R. F. Zogbaum, 1896. The Ohio Country was ceded to America in its aftermath.
USS Constitution: Commissioned and named by President Washington in 1794
Washington's Farewell Address (September 19, 1796)
distillery
Washington on his Deathbed
Junius Brutus Stearns 1799
Miniature of George Washington by Robert Field (1800)
The sarcophagi of George (right) and Martha Washington at the present tomb's entrance
The Washington Family by Edward Savage (c. 1789–1796) George and Martha Washington with her grandchildren. National Art Gallery
George Washington's bookplate with the Coat of arms of the Washington family
George Washington as Master of his Lodge, 1793
Washington as Farmer at Mount Vernon
Junius Brutus Stearns, 1851
Runaway advertisement for Oney Judge, enslaved servant in Washington's presidential household
In 1794, Washington privately expressed to Tobias Lear, his secretary, that he found slavery to be repugnant.
Washington, the Constable by Gilbert Stuart (1797)
A drawing from a Japanese manuscript of Washington fighting a tiger.
Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.
nation's first postage stamps
Washington issue of 1862
Washington–Franklin issue of 1917
Washington quarter dollar
George Washington Presidential one-dollar coin
Washington on the 1928 dollar bill

Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army, Washington led the Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War and served as the president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which created the Constitution of the United States and the American federal government.

He was then twice elected president by the Electoral College unanimously.

Graph showing historical party control of the U.S. Senate, House and Presidency since 1855

United States Senate

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Upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the House of Representatives being the lower chamber.

Upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the House of Representatives being the lower chamber.

Graph showing historical party control of the U.S. Senate, House and Presidency since 1855
Members of the United States Senate for the 117th Congress
A typical Senate desk
The Senate side of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Committee Room 226 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building is used for hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Senate has the power to try impeachments; shown above is Theodore R. Davis's drawing of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, 1868
U.S. Senate chamber c. 1873: two or three spittoons are visible by desks

If no candidate receives a majority of electors for vice president, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office.

The drafters of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress primarily as a compromise between those who felt that each state, since it was sovereign, should be equally represented, and those who felt the legislature must directly represent the people, as the House of Commons did in Great Britain.

Coat of arms

Federal government of the United States

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National government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a city within a federal district (the city of Washington in the District of Columbia, where most of the federal government is based), five major self-governing territories and several island possessions.

National government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a city within a federal district (the city of Washington in the District of Columbia, where most of the federal government is based), five major self-governing territories and several island possessions.

Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Political system of the United States
Seal of the U.S. Congress
The 435 seats of the House grouped by state
The United States Capitol is the seat of government for Congress.
Seal of the president of the United States
Uncle Sam, a common personification of the United States Federal Government
Seal of the vice president of the United States
Seal of the U.S. Supreme Court
Federal Revenue and Spending
Diagram of the Federal Government and American Union, 1862
The states of the United States as divided into counties (or, in Louisiana and Alaska, parishes and boroughs, respectively). Alaska and Hawaii are not to scale and the Aleutian and uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands have been omitted.

The federal government, sometimes simply referred to as Washington, is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president and the federal courts, respectively.

The president and vice president are normally elected as running mates by the Electoral College; each state has a number of electoral votes equal to the size of its Congressional delegation (i.e., its number of Representatives in the House plus its two senators).

Portrait by John Trumbull, 1806

Alexander Hamilton

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American revolutionary, statesman and Founding Father of the United States.

American revolutionary, statesman and Founding Father of the United States.

Portrait by John Trumbull, 1806
Coat of arms of the Hamiltons of Grange in Ayrshire, Scotland.
The Hamilton House, Charlestown, Nevis. The current structure was rebuilt from the ruins of the house where it was thought that Alexander Hamilton was born and lived as a young child.
Hamilton in his youth
Kings College c. 1756, adjacent to the New York Commons where City Hall Park is today
Alexander Hamilton in the Uniform of the New York Artillery, by Alonzo Chappel (1828–1887)
Aides-de-camp's office inside Washington's Headquarters at Valley Forge. General Washington's staff officers worked in this room, writing and copying the letters and orders of the Continental Army.
The Storming of Redoubt #10, an 1840 painting by Eugene Lami
Detail of Surrender of Lord Cornwallis by John Trumbull, showing Colonels Alexander Hamilton, John Laurens, and Walter Stewart
Miniature of Hamilton attributed to Charles Shirreff, c. 1790
A Turban Head eagle, one of the first gold coins minted under the Coinage Act of 1792
A painting of a Revenue Marine cutter, which may be of either the Massachusetts (1791), or its replacement, the Massachusetts II
Portrait of Alexander Hamilton by Walter Robertson. Circa 1794
A statue of Hamilton by Franklin Simmons, overlooking the Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson, New Jersey, where Hamilton envisioned using the falls to power new factories
The Jay Treaty
Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1792
Aaron Burr, Hamilton and Philip Schuyler strolling on Wall Street, New York, 1790
Alexander Hamilton by William J. Weaver, ca. 1794-1806
A statue of Hamilton in the United States Capitol rotunda
Detail of 1802 portrait by Ezra Ames, painted after death of Hamilton's eldest son Philip
Hamilton's tomb in Trinity Church's first burial grounds at Wall Street and Broadway in Lower Manhattan
Drawing (c. 1902) of the Burr–Hamilton duel, from a painting by J. Mund
This July 25, 1804 article reflected extreme lamentation over Hamilton's death, and described the plan for his funeral procession and other tributes, including a 30-day wearing of a commemorative black armband ("crape") by members of the Society of the Cincinnati of Pennsylvania of which Hamilton had been President General.
Elizabeth Schuyler, portrait by Ralph Earl
Distinctive unit insignia of the United States Army 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment (i.e. Alexander Hamilton Battery). The crest at center is that of Clan Hamilton, with the addition of 13 gold acorns representing the original 13 states.
USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) seal. The two colors on the coat of arms represent the aspects of Alexander Hamilton's life: military and civilian. The white demarcation line is a virtual diagram of the trenches converging on the British redoubt #10 at Yorktown. Surmounting the crossed bayonets symbolizing Hamilton's taking of the redoubt is a Doric column which represents Hamilton's service as a statesman. The crest shows an ermine cinquefoil, which is the principal charge on the Hamilton family coat of arms and is worn by a unicorn, taken from the hand-carved powder horn Hamilton is believed to have owned. The motto, "Vigilant Sentinel," is derived from a quote in Federalist No. 12: "A few armed vessels, judiciously stationed at the entrance of our ports, might at a small expense be made useful sentinels of the law."
A starboard view of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS Alexander Hamilton (SSBN-617) underway.
Alexander Hamilton on the Series 2004A U.S. $10 bill
$2
$5
$10
$20
$50
$1,000
Hamilton stamp, 1870 issue
The Hamilton Grange National Memorial in St. Nicholas Park
A statue of Hamilton outside Hamilton Hall, overlooking Hamilton Lawn at Columbia University in New York City
The Hamilton statue in Central Park
Image of the statue of Alexander Hamilton created by William Ordway Partridge, commissioned for the Hamilton Club of Brooklyn. The statue later stood in front of Hamilton Grange when the house was located at 287 Convent Ave.
A view of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge from the south
Lin-Manuel Miranda performs the title role in the 2015 musical Hamilton.
USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) seal. The two colors on the coat of arms represent the aspects of Alexander Hamilton's life: military and civilian. The white demarcation line is a virtual diagram of the trenches converging on the British redoubt #10 at Yorktown. Surmounting the crossed bayonets symbolizing Hamilton's taking of the redoubt is a Doric column which represents Hamilton's service as a statesman. The crest shows an ermine cinquefoil, which is the principal charge on the Hamilton family coat of arms and is worn by a unicorn, taken from the hand-carved powder horn Hamilton is believed to have owned. The motto, "Vigilant Sentinel," is derived from a quote in Federalist No. 12: "A few armed vessels, judiciously stationed at the entrance of our ports, might at a small expense be made useful sentinels of the law."

He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, and was the founder of the Federalist Party, the nation's financial system, the United States Coast Guard, and the New York Post newspaper.

Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the presidency in the electoral college, and Hamilton helped to defeat Burr, whom he found unprincipled, and to elect Jefferson despite philosophical differences.