Oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries of a female animal. In the case of non-human animals, this is also called spaying. It is a form of sterilization.

The removal of the ovaries together with the Fallopian tubes is called salpingo-oophorectomy. Oophorectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy are not common forms of birth control in humans; more usual is tubal ligation, in which the Fallopian tubes are blocked but the ovaries remain intact.

In humans, oophorectomy is most usually performed together with a hysterectomy - the removal of the uterus. Its use in a hysterectomy when there are no other health problems is somewhat controversial.

In animals, spaying involves an invasive removal of the ovaries, but rarely has major complications; the superstition that it causes weight gain is not based on fact. Spaying is especially important for certain animals that require the ovum to be released at a certain interval (called estrus or "heat"), such as cats and dogs. If the cell is not released during these animal's heat, it can cause severe medical problems that can be averted by spaying or partnering the animal with a male.

Oophorectomy is sometimes referred to as castration, but that term is most often used to mean the removal of a male animal's testicles.

See also

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, journalist, and lawyer. He is credited as being America's greatest constitutional lawyer. As the principal author of the Federalist Papers, he successfully defended the U.S. Constitution to skeptical New Yorkers. He also put the new United States of America onto a sound economic footing as its first and most influential Secretary of the Treasury, establishing a National Bank, public credit, the "permanent debt theory" and the foundations for American capitalism and stock and commodity exchanges.


Early years

Alexander Hamilton was born on the West Indies island of Nevis. He was the son of James Hamilton, a struggling businessman from Scotland, and Rachel Fawcet Lavien, who was then married to another man. There is some uncertainty as to the year of Hamilton's birth. Throughout his life, Hamilton stated that it was 1757, and that year went unquestioned for centuries. More recent examinations of probate court records at St. Croix indicate the year was 1755 (without making explicit mention of the year), and for several decades it has been the more commonly cited year. The date, January 11, can be neither substantiated nor refuted, and is still commonly accepted.

His father abandoned Hamilton and his mother, who died when Hamilton was in his early teens. As a teenager, Hamilton wrote a letter to his local paper that caused such a sensation that community leaders raised money to fund his passage to America. He settled in New York in 1772 where he began grammar school. Later he attended King's College (now Columbia University).

Hamilton possessed talents of the highest order. At the start of his teenage years, he was an impoverished orphan with no family connections, working as a clerk on the island of St. Croix in the Caribbean. By the close of his teenage years, he was in America, General George Washington's most trusted aide-de-camp, an accomplished artillery captain, and a published pamphleteer renowned in New York. It was while on the battlefield, however, that Hamilton began formulating the ideas on government and economics that would make him an historic figure.

He left Washington to take command of an infantry regiment that took part in the siege of Yorktown. As a young man, he served as a member of the Continental Congress (from 1782-1783), retiring to open his own law office in New York City. His public career resumed when he attended the Annapolis Convention as a delegate in 1786.

He also served in the New York State Legislature and attended the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. Throughout the convention's proceedings Hamilton, a federalist, argued consistently for a strong central government, including a king-like president (minus the familial inheritance of power), and an upper legislative body based on the English House of Lords. Hamilton opposed equal representation in the Senate, saying the concept "shocks too much the ideas of justice and every human feeling." He also wanted senators to serve for life, subject to good behavior. Finally, Hamilton strongly advocated the abolition of slavery.

Although the U.S. constitution eventually produced by the convention was less centrist than Hamilton proposed, and the tenures of those exercising power were shorter than he desired, he was active in the successful campaign for its ratification in New York. During this endeavor he made the largest single contribution to the authorship of the Federalist Papers.

In 1788, Hamilton served another term in what proved to be the last time the Continental Congress met under the new Articles of Confederation.

Secretary of the Treasury

On the recommendation of Robert Morris, with whom he had discussed economics as an aide-de-camp during the American Revolution, President George Washington appointed Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury when the first Congress passed an act establishing the Treasury Department. He served in that post from September 11, 1789 until January 31, 1795. It is for his tenure as Treasury secretary that Hamilton is considered one of America's greatest statesmen.

Hamilton's term was marked by innovation, planning and masterful reports. In office for barely a month, he proposed the idea of a seagoing branch of the military to secure tax revenue against contraband shipments. The following summer, the Congress authorized a Revenue Marine force of ten cutters, the precursor to the United States Coast Guard. He also played a crucial role in creating the United States Navy (the Naval Act of 1794).

He published Report on the Public Credit in January 1790, which was a milestone in American financial history, marking the end of an era of bankruptcy and repudiation. The plan provided for the assumption of both domestic and foreign debts. While both James Madison and Thomas Jefferson strongly opposed Hamilton's plan, it still passed overwhelmingly.

Hamilton advocated having the federal government assume states' debts. Madison and Jefferson opposed this plan as well, but they settled their disagreements in a private meeting on July 21, 1790. During this meeting, Hamilton agreed to support the Potomac River as the future location of the nation's capital, in return for Jefferson's support.

Hamilton's perceptive and creative mind, coupled with a driving ambition to set his ideas in motion, resulted in many proposals to Congress. His proposals included a plan for import duties and excise taxes for raising revenue, funding the revolutionary debt, and suggestions on naval laws. He also developed plans for a congressional charter for the First Bank of the United States.

Strong opposition to taxing liquor erupted into the Whiskey Rebellion in Western Pennsylvania and Virginia in 1794. Hamilton felt compliance with the laws was important, so he accompanied General "Light Horse Harry" Lee and his troops to help put down the insurrection.

During Washington's first term, as Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton put forth a plan to deal with the immense national debt (which consisted of foreign, domestic and state debts). He proposed to pay off all foreign debt to help restore national credit, which would then enable the nation to issue bonds to pay off the domestic debt. He reasoned that this would help ensure that the "aristocracy of wealth and talent" had a stake in the success of the new government. His plan was for the federal government to assume the state debts, which would work to take power away from the states and put it in the hands of the central government. Hamilton also asked for a whiskey tax and a high import tax to help pay for the debt. Congress gave him the whiskey tax but not the import tax, which was the only part of the plan Hamilton was unable to secure. Finally, Hamilton asked for the creation of a national bank to help the government fulfill its financial obligations. Hamilton's financial plan is significant not only for its attempt (mostly successful) to restore the nation's credit and deal with its financial difficulties, but also because it resulted in the first national political parties.

Hamilton as industrialist

Hamilton was among the first to recognize the larger transformations of industry and capitalism of his era -- in particular the trend toward larger-scale manufacturing financed through credit. In 1778 he visited the Great Falls of the Passaic River in northern New Jersey and saw that the falls could one day be harnessed to provide power for a manufacturing center on the site. As Secretary of Treasury, he put this plan into motion, helping to found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures, a private corporation that would use the power of the falls to operate mills. Although the company did not succeed in its original purpose, it leased the land around the falls to other mill ventures and continued to operate for over a century and a half. The city which grew on the spot of Hamilton's vision, Paterson, New Jersey became one of the most important manufacturing centers for cotton, steel and silk, until its decline after World War II.

The Maria Reynolds affair and rivalry with Aaron Burr

In 1794, Hamilton became intimately involved with Maria Reynolds , an affair that damaged his reputation and prevented him from rising further in politics. Reynolds' husband blackmailed Hamilton for money, though he was content to permit sexual liaisons between Hamilton and his wife. When James Reynolds was arrested for counterfeiting, he contacted several prominent Jeffersonian Republicans, most notably James Monroe. When they visited Hamilton with their suspicions of malfeasance, he stressed his innocence, while admitting to an affair with Maria Reynolds. Monroe promised to keep details from public knowledge, but Thomas Jefferson had no such compunctions. Hamilton was forced to publish a confession of his affair, which shocked his family and supporters. A duel with Monroe over his supposed breach was averted by then-Senator Aaron Burr.

Ironically, Burr would later represent Maria Reynolds in her divorce lawsuit, leading some to suspect he set Hamilton up. However, Hamilton's relationship with Burr had been cordial during their years as New York lawyers; in fact, their families often met for social occasions. When Burr defeated Hamilton's father-in-law Philip Schuyler in the 1791 Senate race, Hamilton began a secret campaign to destroy his rival, who had sought the presidential nomination in 1796 and would do so again in 1800.

Hamilton's resignation as Secretary of the Treasury in 1795 did not remove him from public life. With the resumption of his law practice, he remained close to Washington as an adviser and friend. Hamilton is believed to have influenced Washington in the composition of his Farewell Address. Relations between Hamilton and Washington's successor, John Adams, were frequently strained and Hamilton's attempts to frustrate Adams' adoption as presidential candidate of the Federalist Party split the party and contributed to the victory of the Jeffersonian Republicans in the election of 1800.

Hamilton's role in ensuring Jefferson was subsequently selected as president, rather than Burr, marked Hamilton's first bold stroke against his erstwhile friend. Burr sought the New York governorship in 1804, first running as a Federalist, then as an independent. One newspaper referred to a "despicable opinion" that a Dr. Charles D. Cooper attributed to Hamilton about Burr. Sensing a chance to regain political honor, Burr demanded an apology. Hamilton refused on the grounds that he could not recall the instance the newspaper mentioned.

A duel was set July 11 on a rocky ledge in Weehawken, New Jersey, the same place where Hamilton's son Phillip had lost a duel three years earlier defending his father's honor. At dawn, the duel began, and Burr shot Hamilton below his chest. Hamilton, who opposed dueling because of his son's death, may have fired his shot into the air. Others have speculated he could have misfired his pistol, one of a pair that belonged to his family. Hamilton died the next day and was interred in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery in Manhattan. Burr fled New York under charges of murder and later of treason. He died in 1836, having squandered his fortune and being almost universally reviled because of his 1807 conspiracy trial.

Hamilton and modern politics

Arguably, Hamilton set the path for American economic and military might. His most important contribution may have been establishing the supremacy of the executive branch of American government over the legislative and judicial branches. At the moment of founding, it was not clear whether the executive should wield most of the power, especially when it came to the creation of policy, which was supposed to be a legislative task. From the start, Hamilton set a precedent as a cabinet member by dreaming up federal programs, writing them in the form of reports, pushing for their approval by appearing in person to argue them on the floor of Congress, and implementing them. Hamilton did this brilliantly and forcefully, setting a high standard for administrative competence. In the whole of Hamilton's policy making, the legislature was a passive observer, ultimately approving his projects with little left for it to do.

Another of Hamilton's legacies was his interpretation of the Constitution. The document was framed mostly by lawyers who believed they had clearly enumerated the limits of its powers. Not so according to Hamilton, who had to resort to a historic argument to justify his National Bank, and the provisions in some of his reports. Hamilton's argument to justify his National Bank was that the Constitution outlined the ends of society, justifying the means if they were necessary to achieve those ends (see Preamble to the United States Constitution). Therefore his National Bank was perfectly constitutional, as it was a crucial component of a project to finance government expenditures. Hamilton's view was termed loose-construction, while the interpretation of the constitution desired by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson is known as strict-construction.

Hamilton’s portrait began to appear during the Civil War on the $2, $5, $10, and $50 notes, which was symbolic of his ideological opposition to the ideas of the Confederacy. His face continues to grace the front of the bill, but after the death of Ronald Reagan small movements began making noise about replacing Hamilton with Reagan.




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Preceded by:
United States Secretary of the Treasury Succeeded by:
Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

Last updated: 02-04-2005 20:14:02