Research effects of father absence



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This child was born into poverty to an unwed mother* who was a servant on a sugar plantation in the Caribbean. His father was a shiftless trader from Scotland who abandoned the mother at a time when this was a scandalous and irreversible blight. She taught the child how to read, write, and do math. The child was left alone much of the time. She died when the child was thirteen, leaving him and his older brother orphans.

The child, somewhat small and runty -- he never grew beyond a slight 5'7" as an adult -- went to work as a clerk for a large and wealthy sugar- and slave-trading and importing company. His talent for math and writing and his conscientiousness soon enamored him of his bosses. By the age of 14, he was left for periods of time in charge of the entire company. By the time he was 17, his acumen had so spread around the island that locals took up a charity collection to send him to college. Thus, he went to New York, to King's College (later known as Columbia University.)

Having witnessed the horrors of slavery and discrimination, the child in his later life became the first of his kind to speak out vehemently and publicly against these abominations. He also spoke and wrote against aristocracies in favor of meritocracy. His lack of having grown up in a real family did not impede him at all from having a successful marriage to the woman he loved, including having eight children whom he adored.

Notwithstanding that he had no real prior experience in another field of work -- or his slight stature -- in his early 20s, he convinced the man who was then his boss to give him a chance to form and lead a new division in his company. His ideas and almost maniacal commitment and enthusiasm for his new task literally caused jaws to drop. He led his division in the Battle of Yorktown, a resounding success, and the turning point of the Revolutionary War.

He was the author of the Federalist Papers, the first treasury secretary of the United States, and without question, singlehandedly, the creator of the economic system of the United States. After the War, his leadership and his unique ideas and future vision turned a debt-ridden, wounded collection of thirteen bickering colonies into a world-class economic power in three years.

Alexander Hamilton, a boy from a "fatherless home."

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* The term "fatherless" is used in this series as it is in current research and policy rhetoric by the U.S. federal government, DHHS and the National Fatherhood Initiative, most U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood interest policy and lobbying groups.

"...Just add Dad, the magic ingredient. It's hard to know where wishful thinking becomes deliberate deception. But this argument, advanced by the fathers' rights movement, is like saying that, since Mercedes Benz owners make more money than people who drive Hyundais, you will become wealthy if you buy a Mercedes..." Mike Peterson



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