Paul Hamilton (politician)

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Paul Hamilton
Paul Hamilton SecNavy.jpeg
3rd United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
May 15, 1809 – January 1, 1813
President James Madison
Preceded by Robert Smith
Succeeded by William Jones
42nd Governor of South Carolina
In office
December 7, 1804 – December 9, 1806
Lieutenant Thomas Sumter
Preceded by James Burchill Richardson
Succeeded by Charles Pinckney
Finance Comptroller of South Carolina
In office
December 21, 1799 – December 7, 1804
Governor Edward Rutledge
John Drayton
James Burchill Richardson
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Thomas Lee
Personal details
Born (1762-10-16)October 16, 1762
Saint Paul's Parish, South Carolina, British America
Died June 30, 1816(1816-06-30) (aged 53)
Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Wilkinson
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service Continental Army
Battles/wars American Revolutionary War

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

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 states, fighting under General Francis Marion. He participated with Colonel William Harden in the capture of Fort Balfour.

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 the USS Hamilton (1809) 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. p. 148.

External links

  • SCIway Biography of Paul Hamilton
  • NGA Biography of Paul Hamilton
  • Paul Hamilton at Find a Grave
  • Paul Hamilton Papers at the University of South Carolina Library's Digital Collections Page (letters from 1802–1812)
Political offices
Preceded by
James Burchill Richardson
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Charles Pinckney
Government offices
Preceded by
Robert Smith
United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
William Jones
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