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Paul Hamilton (politician)

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Paul Hamilton
3rd United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
May 15, 1809 – January 1, 1813
PresidentJames Madison
Preceded byRobert Smith
Succeeded byWilliam Jones
42nd Governor of South Carolina
In office
December 7, 1804 – December 9, 1806
LieutenantThomas Sumter
Preceded byJames Burchill Richardson
Succeeded byCharles Pinckney
1st Finance Comptroller of South Carolina
In office
December 21, 1799 – December 7, 1804
GovernorEdward Rutledge
John Drayton
James Burchill Richardson
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byThomas Lee
Personal details
Born(1762-10-16)October 16, 1762
Saint Paul's Parish, South Carolina, British America
DiedJune 30, 1816(1816-06-30) (aged 53)
Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
SpouseMary Wilkinson
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/serviceContinental Army
UnitSouth Carolina Militia
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War

Paul Hamilton (October 16, 1762 – June 30, 1816) was the 3rd United States Secretary of the Navy, from 1809 to 1813.

Service in the American War of Independence[edit]

Paul Hamilton was born in Saint Paul's Parish, South Carolina, on October 16, 1762. He left school at the age of sixteen due to financial problems. During the American War of Independence he served in military roles in the Southern United States, fighting under General Francis Marion. He participated with Colonel William Harden in the capture of Fort Balfour.

Political career[edit]

Following the war, he was a planter and public figure. Hamilton served South Carolina in many public offices including state Representative (1787), State Senator (1794), Comptroller (1800), and the 42nd Governor (1804).

In 1809, President James Madison selected Hamilton to become the third Secretary of the Navy. His term in office included the first months of the War of 1812, during which time the small United States Navy achieved several remarkable victories over British warships. Hamilton was a proponent of military preparedness, especially sea fortifications. Although he wanted to strengthen the Navy, he found the Congress hostile and the President indifferent to his ideas. However, he was responsible for the Naval Hospitals Act of 1811. Secretary Hamilton resigned at the end of 1812 and returned to South Carolina, where he died in Beaufort on June 30, 1816.


Three Navy destroyers have been named USS Paul Hamilton in his honor along with USS Hamilton and one Liberty ship named SS Paul Hamilton. Also bearing his name is the town of Hamilton, Georgia.[1]


  1. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 148.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by

External links[edit]