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Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton


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Alexander Hamilton was born on January 11, 1755, on the island of Nevis in the West Indies. Early in life he showed great intellectual potential and was sent to New York City for schooling by a sympathetic clergyman. Hamilton completed his basic schooling and was later admitted to King`s College, now Columbia University. Patriotic fervor was at its height during the 1770s and young Hamilton impressed many with speeches and pamphlets.

During the War of Independence, following the battles of Lexington and Concord, Hamilton organized an artillery company and saw action at New York, Long Island, Trenton, Princeton, and White Plains. His abilities were soon recognized by George Washington, who appointed Hamilton as one of his aides-de-camp. Toward the end of the war, Hamilton resigned from that post to resume active participation in the conflict. He served with distinction at Yorktown, in 1781.

During the war, Hamilton displayed his willingness to break with orthodox thinking. In a letter in 1779 to John Jay, he expressed concern that the state of Georgia and South Carolina were threatened with a Loyalist victory, and that in response the Continental Army should actively induce black slaves to join the army, with the prospect of freedom after the war. "I have not the least doubt," he wrote, "that the Negroes will make very excellent soldiers, with proper management."Following the war, Hamilton studied law and married Elizabeth Schuyler, daughter of General Philip J. Schuyler, head of a prominent New York family. The Hamiltons had eight children.

In 1782-83, Hamilton served in the Articles of Confederation Congress and later developed a successful law practice. In 1784, using the pen name "Phocion", Hamitlon wrote a series of newspaper articles calling on fair treatment for Loyalists who had remained in America. He pointed out possible consequences:

Nothing is more common than for a free people, in times of heat and violence, to gratify momentary passions, by letting into the government, principles and precedents which afterwards prove fatal to themselves. Of this kind is the doctrine of disqualification, disfranchisement and banishment by acts of legislature. The dangerous consequences of this power are manifest. If the legislature can disfranchise any number of citizens at pleasure by general descriptions, it may soon confide all the votes to a small number of partizens, and establish an aristocracy or an oligarchy; if it may banish at discretion all those whom particular circumstances render obnoxious, without hearing or trial, no man can be safe, nor know when he may be the innocent victim of a prevailing faction. The name of liberty applied to such a government would be a mockery of common sense.

In 1786, at the Annapolis Convention, he proposed a future meeting to address the problems of the Articles of Confederation. That gathering was the Constitutional Convention in which Hamilton played a prominent role as an advocate of a strong central government. He presented a plan that called for life terms for senators and the executive.

Although the final constitution fell short of Hamilton`s hopes, he actively supported ratification in his home state. The New York convention was initially heavily opposed to the new document, but Hamilton exhibited tremendous powers of persuasion and carried the day. He also played a prominent role in influencing opinion in other states by authoring at least 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers.

In 1789, Hamilton was appointed the nation`s first Secretary of the Treasury, a position from which he issued bold ideas and a string of deeply insightful reports. His Report on Public Credit was followed by examinations of revenue generation, the establishment of a central bank, and creation of a mint..

In January 1790, Hamilton was asked to write up a plan for the advancement of American manufacturing, with the objective of reducing American dependence on foreign items, particularly in time of war. On December 5, 1791, Alexander Hamilton presented his Report on Manufactures to the House of Representatives.Among the agrarian interests, there was little enthusiasm for increased manufacturing, so Hamilton couched his recommendations in terms designed to win their support:

The restrictive regulations which, in foreign markets, abridge the ent of the increasing surplus of our agricultural produce serve to beg an earnest desire that a more extensive demand for that surplus may be created at home.

In other words, farmers are more likely to feed domestic than foreign workers in manufacturing. But while Hamilton clearly favored creating the circumstances leading to manufacturing, he was not interested in having the government itself take the lead. "It can hardly ever be wise," he wrote, "in a government to attempt to give a direction to the industry of its citizens."Hamilton also accompanied army forces that put down the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.

Hamilton`s tenure in Washington`s cabinet also was marked by the rise of partisan disagreement with Thomas Jefferson. Much to the president`s disappointment, the Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans divided public opinion throughout the country, especially over Implied Powers and states` rights. Hamilton resigned in 1795.

Out of political office, Hamilton continued to be influential. He worked to defend Jay`s Treaty with England in 1795, and assisted Washington in writing his Farewell Address. When John Adams recalled Washington to head the army, Washington made Hamilton his second in command.

Hamilton argued strongly and successfully for an increase in the size of the army to meet the supposed threat from France. When that threat largely disappeared in 1799, Hamilton was left with no obvious need for the large standing army he had assembled. Looking for a purpose, he cast covetous eyes on the holdings of Spain and France in the West:

As it is every moment possible that the project of taking possession of the Floridas and Louisiana, long since attributed to France, may be attempted to be put in execution, it is very important that the Executive should be clothed with power to meet and defeat so dangerous an enterprise. Indeed, if it is the policy of France to leave us in a state of semihostility, it is preferable to terminate it, and by taking possession of those countries for ourselves, to obviate the mischief of their falling into the hands of an active foreign power, and at the same time to secure to the United States the advantage of keeping the key to the Western country.

Duel with Aaron BurrHamilton became a mortal enemy of Aaron Burr. In 1791, Burr`s election to the U.S. Senate unseated Senator Philip Schuyler and made a lifelong enemy of Schuyler`s son-in-law, Hamilton. In 1792, Hamilton played a leading role in denying Burr the governorship of New York. Later he had thrown his support to Thomas Jefferson, formerly his political adversary, in a successful effort to defeat Burr for the presidency in the disputed Election of 1800.In 1804, Hamilton threw his support behind Morgan Lewis for New York governor. Aaron Burr was the defeated candidate and reading in a newspaper account that Hamilton had said highly critical remarks about him, challenged Hamilton to a duel. On July 11, 1804, Hamilton and Burr met in a pistol duel at Weehawken, New Jersey, in which Hamilton sustained a mortal wound, from which he died the following afternoon. Burr was not charged with any crime in the incident.

Alexander Hamilton was a talented political figure in American history, but he was prevented from achieving widespread recognition because of an overbearing nature and an inability to relate to the concerns of the common man. His views on the issues of favoring federal authority over the states rights, now firmly established, are still argued today.


See Constitution (text).


Alexander Hamilton

James Monroe, Henry Lee, John Marshall, Alexander Hamilton, and Marquis de Lafayette were some of the Continental Army officers who served George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Of these rising stars, Alexander Hamilton overcame the greatest odds, including impoverishment and illegitimacy, in obtaining his position as aide-de-camp to General Washington. For approximately the next twenty years, Hamilton and Washington would work with each other during the Revolutionary War, the framing of the Constitution, and Washington's Presidency of the United States. The period of 1777-1778, however, pivotal to the success of the Continental Army, and ultimately that of the Continental Congress, also was important for Hamilton, for during this time, he rapidly proved his worth on a national basis.

Alexander Hamilton was born on the West Indian Island of Nevis. His father, of Scottish ancestry, remained in Scotland during Hamilton's childhood due to a debt, forcing his mother to rely on friends and relatives for financial support. Around the age of ten the family moved to the nearby island of St. Croix where his mother died soon after. Friends and relatives took an interest in the future of the young Hamilton by encouraging him to work as a mercantile clerk and to read and write, activities at which he excelled despite his lack of proper schooling. Hamilton's formal education began after Reverend Hugh Knox, a Presbyterian minister, gave a sermon so inspiring that Hamilton wrote a description of it for the Royal-Danish American Gazette. When a group of readers found out that the words were those of an under-privileged fifteen-year-old they decided to sponsor his way to the American Colonies to receive his first formal education.

Hamilton attended King's College (now Columbia University) located outside of what was then 18th century New York City. In this prime location, Hamilton was surrounded by talk of rebellion, as well as arguments against it. Events and issues were leading up to the Battle of Lexington and Concord in but a few months although outright rebellion and war against the mother country was unthinkable, a war of words was reality. The radical politics of New York (and other colonies) were expressed by way of pamphlets. A particular New York Loyalist in favor of England's crown policy, known as 'the Farmer' in his sympathetic writings, favored royal British authority in the American colonies and denounced all actions of a colonial American congress. 'The Farmer' received several responses from Hamilton and other rebellious spirited Whigs. 'Friend to America,' an assumed name of Hamilton's, responded to 'the Farmer' in his pamphlet. He defended the American congress, writing in reference to members of parliament on December 15, 1774, ". That they are enemies to the rights of mankind is manifest, because they wish to see one part of their species enslaved by another. That they have an invincible aversion to common sense is apparent in many respects: They endeavor to persuade us, that the absolute sovereignty of parliament does not imply our absolute slavery".1 Hamilton continued to write in defense of colonial-American rights throughout the war.

With war pending, Hamilton immersed himself in the study of artillery tactics and military maneuvers. In March of 1776, he joined the New York Artillery, and was recommended for an officer's commission by General Alexander McDougall. He was thereby given the title "Captain of the Provincial Company of Artillery." As noted by a top scholar, "Hamilton's abilities as a conscientious and business-like leader were evident from his earliest days of military service. He not only had to recruit and train his own men he also had to see that they were fed, clothed, and paid. While many young New Yorkers may have fought the enemy as bravely as Hamilton did, few battled the local authorities so stubbornly to provide for their troops."2 In May of 1776 Hamilton wrote to the New York provincial congress regarding the condition of his men. He was concerned because the men in his company of artillery were not quite at full strength. Hamilton had an additional problem because his men were paid less than other artillery companies and their duties were the same. There was only so much the New York provincial congress could do, however. British and Hessian troops under General William Howe disembarked from Halifax for New York City during the summer of 1776. Meanwhile, General Washington marched his army from Boston, and proceeded to strategically fortify the main waterway approaches to New York City.

Hamilton's New York Artillery Company was used in strategic areas in New York City. Upon losing successive battles in the city of New York, he covered the Continental Army's rear in a number of the withdrawals. Initially, Hamilton's company was placed at Fort George on the waterfront of Manhattan. During the Battle of White Plains Hamilton placed his cannon in such a place as to turn back a significantly sized Hessian advance. This decisive movement left a good impression of Hamilton among the American high command and delayed in part the British offensive, thus giving the Continental Army preciously needed time to perform an orderly retreat. When the Continental Army evacuated New York City, Forts Washington and Lee fell to a victorious British force. With much of the army's enlistment expiring at the beginning of and throughout December, Washington led a desperate retreat through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. Hamilton's artillery company was specifically selected to cover the hasty retreat from New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The victory at the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, distinguished Hamilton in a Continental Army that gained a newfound hope in fending off the British incursion into Philadelphia. General Howe posted troops throughout New Jersey to liberate Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in 1777 from rebel leaders. Washington recognized Howe's tactic in attempting to demoralize the cause, and found it absolutely necessary to establish a newfound hope with his army. During the night of the surprise attack on Hessian soldiers at Trenton, Hamilton's skill and experience were crucial. Serving in Lord Stirling's brigade, Captain Hamilton and Captain Forrest's artillery companies were assigned to cover King Street and the parallel Queen Street. Hamilton and Forrest were well equipped each had two six-pound cannon, while Forrest also had a pair of Howitzers. With both streets covered by the artillery, Hessian commander Colonel Johann Rall, decided to form up his infantry and artillery and march on the Americans from King Street. "No sooner had the Hessians stepped off, however, when the round-shot from Hamilton's battery tore through their ranks," according to a recent book entitled Battles of the Revolutionary War. 3 The Hessians under Rall retreated in the opposite direction, and many ended up surrendering because of the effective rounds discharged from Hamilton's artillery company. General Hugh Mercer placed his American infantry between houses from the direction of Queen Street on the right flank of Colonel Rall's Hessians. The effective rounds discharged from Hamilton's artillery combined with the musketry of Mercer's troops, and devastated the Hessian ranks with casualties. This caused a general retreat among the Hessian troops many of them were enfolded and forced to surrender to the victorious Continentals.

After Hamilton's gallantry and heroic accomplishment displayed at the crucial engagement at Trenton, he was appointed an aide to General Washington. In this position his writing skills and keen sense of judgement would prove essential to the highest command in the army. The 1777 winter encampment at Morristown, New Jersey, found Hamilton with an army of well under 10,000. The army, however, was reinforced steadily as the winter progressed into spring. During this time Hamilton recorded, "the many deserters coming in from the enemy showed them to be in desperate straits. Since the possibility that the French might enter the war in Europe would disincline the British from sending reinforcements overseas"4. General Howe's army made a feint into northern New Jersey in the spring of 1777 to draw the Continental Army out of the highlands of Morristown. Nevertheless, it would be weeks before it became a certainty that Howe's intention was Philadelphia. During that time, Hamilton received on-the-job training and became accustomed to the cramped living style as a part of General Washington's staff.

While the Continental Army awaited the approach of General Howe and the British Army in Wilmington, Delaware, Hamilton described the atmosphere before the Battle of Brandywine. On September 1, 1777, he wrote of General Howe's slovenly movements, the Continental Army's morale, and of the surrounding landscape. "He still lies there [Greys Hill, Pennsylvania] in a state of inactivity in a great measure I believe from the want of horses, to transport his baggage and stores. It seems he sailed with only about three weeks provendor and was six at sea. This has occasioned the death of a great number of his horses, and has made skeletons of the rest. He will be obliged to collect a supply from the neighboring country before he can move. This country does not abound in good posts. It is intersected by such an infinity of roads, and is so little mountainous that it is impossible to find a spot not liable to capital defects. The one we now have is all things considered the best we could find, but there is no great depindence [sic] to be put on it. The enemy will have Philadelphia, if they dare make a bold push for it, unless we fight them a pretty general action. I opine we ought to do it, and that we shall beat them soundly if we do. The militia seem pretty generally stirring. Our army is in high health & spirits. We shall I hope have twice the enemy's numbers. I would not only fight them, but I would attack them for I hold it an established maxim, that there is three to one in favour of the party attacking. "5 Among the dispatches arriving at the Ring House were conflicting reports concerning the right flank of the Continental Army. The secretive movements made by Howe and Cornwallis had couriers bringing reports in all morning. One of Hamilton's duties at the home of Benjamin Ring was to establish the immediate importance of incoming dispatches. After deciding to reinforce the right flank of the Continental Army with Nathanael Greene's Brigades, General Washington and Lafayette, along with Washington's staff, rode along with Greene's troops. Upon the scene of the battle they tried to rally the Continentals of Stephen's and Stirling's divisions. The American stand at Brandywine Creek almost proved fatal, but there was no other alternative for Washington. During the nine months that remained in the 1777-78 Philadelphia Campaign, Hamilton was deployed on missions of major importance on the request of General Washington.

When General Washington decided to keep his army between Howe and the Continental Army's supply line deeper in Pennsylvania, he sent Hamilton on a mission to destroy a supply of flour and prevent other supplies from falling into British hands as they marched toward Philadelphia. Hamilton now led a group of eight cavalrymen which included Captain Henry Lee, and was about to burn the mill at the small village of Valley Forge when two sentries fired warning shots from their posts. The force of British Cavalry, largely outnumbering Hamilton's force, at first chased Captain Lee who took flight across the millrace with a pair of mounted American cavalry. The British dragoons gave up the chase with Lee and went after Hamilton. While Hamilton attempted to cross the Schuylkill River in a scow, the green-coated dragoons fired numerous volleys at him and the remainder of his party. The musketry wounded one man, killed another, and crippled Hamilton's horse. Hamilton had no choice but to swim to the other side of the river whereafter he wrote to John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, the British had potential to be in Philadelphia that evening. Upon returning to Washington's headquarters, Hamilton was chagrined to find out that he had been given up for a casualty by word of Lee. Meanwhile, the Continental Congress and Philadelphia patriots were in a panic, securing valuables, and leaving the city.

The British did not enter the city that night, or within even within the next week. Hamilton's next mission was to go into Philadelphia and obtain shoes, blankets, clothing, and other important supplies for the Continental Army. On September 26, the British under Howe finally marched into Philadelphia. Hamilton's missions were not completely over, however, and after the Battle of Germantown was fought in October 1777, he was sent north to New York. General Horatio Gates was the recent victor of Saratoga, where he defeated British General "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne. Gates was reluctant to send reinforcements to Washington, and when Gates would not acknowledge Washington's request through dispatch, Hamilton was hurried into negotiations. By the time reinforcements had arrived to bolster Washington's numbers, Fort Mifflin and Fort Mercer had fallen into British hands, and the Royal Navy had complete access to the Delaware River and could supply the occupying army at Philadelphia shipping ports. Hamilton would spend the remainder of the winter at Valley Forge in Washington's Headquarters at one of the homes of Isaac Potts, next to where he experienced the near deadly encounter with green-coated British dragoons the previous autumn.

After the trying winter at Valley Forge and the formal alliance with France, Hamilton observed the Continental Army as it became nearly victorious over the Redcoats at the Battle of Monmouth. Hamilton and Lafayette were close behind General Washington on the battle line as he rallied the Continentals to near victory. Hamilton was described during the battle as ". incessant in his endeavors during the day in reconnoitering the enemy, in rallying, and in charging. "6 During the remainder of the time he served the position of aide-de-camp, Washington would not allow Hamilton to independently command a force of troops, because it would be unfair to other Continental Army officers who surpassed him in seniority. General Washington and Colonel Hamilton had a falling out in the spring of 1781, and Hamilton resigned as an aide to the Commander-in-Chief. Eventually he was given an independent command and during Yorktown campaign, he commanded the capture of a strategic fortification (redoubt #10), at the siege of Yorktown, Virginia.

Following the capitulation of General Cornwallis and his army at Yorktown, Hamilton was appointed a member of Congress. He worked closely with fellow New Yorker, Gouveneur Morris, in financing the fledgling national government. Hamilton's steady work with the colonial assembly in congress sums up his wartime activity. His rapid advancement from the Caribbean islands, to college in New York, and the experience he obtained in the Continental Army (especially as an aide to Washington) continued with his tremendous influence during the framing of the Constitution, and beyond. The extraordinary achievements he made during the War for American Independence impressed not a few. Alexander Hamilton's contributions to the United States during this early period will not be forgotten any time soon.


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10 Surprising Facts about Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

If you didn’t know who Alexander Hamilton was before 2015, you probably do now. After Lin-Manuel Miranda released his hit musical, theatre fans and non-historians alike now know more about our first Secretary of the Treasury than we ever did before.

Before 2015, many of us probably looked at the U.S. 10-dollar bill and never gave him a thought, or maybe said “Who’s this guy and why is he on our money?” Can you tell I’m a huge fan of the musical? Ok, onto better things! Let’s check out some interesting facts you may not have (or may have, depending on your historical background) known about Alexander Hamilton.

1. Hamilton is Not from the United States

Alexander Hamilton is an immigrant. Wait what? A founding father, an immigrant?! That’s right. Many people who helped shape the United States were immigrants like Marquis de Lafayette. Alexander though was the only Founding Father who was not born in the United States.

Hamilton was born on January 11, (his birth year is disputed as either 1755 or 1757) on the island of Nevis in the British West Indies, otherwise known as in the Caribbean. After his mother died and his father had left long ago, he left for New York as a teenager.

2. Hamilton was a Revolutionary War Veteran

During the Battle of Yorktowne, he led a charged attack with the aid of his friends on a British redoubt. With that knowledge, you could say he was a key component in the United States gaining independence.

3. He Lied About His Age

The reason historians debate about when Hamilton was born is because early on he lied about how old he was. Shortly after he was born, his Scottish father James Hamilton left him, his brother, and his mother. The family was left in poverty and his mother, Rachel Fawcett, died when he was 13 after becoming sick.

Needing to work, he changed his age to look more promising as an apprentice and got a job as a clerk with a trading company in St. Croix.

That certainly helped him, since after he wrote a letter he was going to send to his father, it was published instead in a newspaper by editor Hugh Knox (yes, the same Knox who was ordained by Aaron Burr Sr.). After it was published, many businessmen came forward to ask the identity of the person who wrote the letter. Well, the rest is history since that collection is what sent Hamilton to America to get an education at King’s College (now Columbia University).

4. He was Mostly a Self-Taught Lawyer Who Graduated in Six Months

Today, that’s completely unheard of. Lawyers go through years and years of exams and training, but Hamilton did it in record time. While living in the Caribbean, he read law book after law book and studied law at King’s College.

His studies, however, were interrupted by the impending war with Britain. After the war, he left his post as Washington’s adviser and finished up his studies. It took him only 6 months to prepare for the New York Bar Exam and he passed with flying colors.

In 1782, after he passed the exam, Hamilton became a lawyer in New York City. And as the musical says: “I practiced law, Burr worked next door.” But we’ll get to more about Aaron Burr later. On a side note, he also studied with John Jay and William Paterson. If you don’t know who they are, they became two future Supreme Court Justices.

Federalist, on the New Constitution

5. One of His Legacies was The Federalist Papers

If you remember anything from American history, one of the things maybe the Federalist Papers. What were these papers? Well, these papers helped ratify the Constitution. At the time, the United States Constitution wasn’t well received. It was a mess and contradictory.

Along with John Jay and James Madison, they developed a plan to write 25 essays to newspapers to anomalously defend the Constitution, about 9 essays each. Well, that didn’t work out as planned.

In the end, 85 essays were written between October 1787 and May 1788. John Jay became ill and only wrote 5 essays. James Madison wrote 29, and Hamilton wrote the other 51. He really does write like he’s running out of time, doesn’t he? Thanks to their efforts, the Constitution became ratified on June 21, 1788, after 9 of 13 states approved it.

6. Hamilton was Involved in the United States’ First Sex Scandal

When it comes to 2020, a sex scandal isn’t all that shocking (sometimes) and you know, it’s been done throughout history. Hell, look at Bill Clinton. But this scandal was a little different. While Hamilton’s wife and children were on vacation with her family in upstate New York, Hamilton decided to stay behind because he had too much work to do.

He had a plan to get through to Congress after all. He was beaten, tired, and in need of a break. Well, one night a Maria Reynolds came to his door looking for help. She had said her husband, James Reynolds, abandoned her and she was in need of money to get to some family to stay with. Hamilton walked her home and gave her the money, and somehow they both ended up in her bedroom.

Next thing you know, Hamilton is having an extramarital affair for a few months. It wasn’t what everyone thought though. This blew into such huge proportions it made Hamilton write the Reynolds Pamphlet which cleared him of a national financial scam, but also exposed his infidelity. If he didn’t decide to piss off Thomas Jefferson, the whole thing would’ve probably remained a secret.

7. He Founded The New York Post

The newspaper wasn’t as we all know it today. During the 1800 election, Hamilton was angry that Thomas Jefferson was the Democratic-Republican candidate. He wanted then-President John Adams to win for the Federalist Party since Adams aligned more with his ideals. Well, we all know who won. In November 1801, Hamilton decided to create The New York Evening Post, which was anti-Democratic-Republican and consistently slandered Jefferson.

Today, we know the paper like The New York Post, which isn’t as reputable as a news source anymore. The paper was purchased by Rupert Murdoch in 1976 and it’s only gone downhill from there. Sadly we’ll never know how Hamilton would have felt about his beloved paper and the content they print today.

Philip Hamilton

8. His Son Was Killed in a Duel

Philip Hamilton was killed in a duel long before his father. But that’s not the interesting part, or maybe it is. On July 4th, 1801, a lawyer named George Eacker gave a speech at Columbia University about Hamilton trying to take the presidency by force and preferred monarchy over democracy. Philip read about the speech in the newspaper and quite aptly, became angry his father’s name was being slandered with lies. Four months later, he and his friend Richard Price spotted Eacker in a box at the theatre. Well, Price and Hamilton supposedly drunk stormed the box to confront Eacker and insult him. Two wrongs don’t make a right…right?

Later, both Price and Philip sent a letter to Eacker challenging him to a duel. Two duels? Well, November 22nd, 1801 was the duel with Price. Both men missed their shot and honor was satisfied. The next day it was Philip’s turn. They met at the dueling grounds in Weehawken, New Jersey, and sadly, Philip was struck and died a day later, mostly due to infection. Here’s the kicker: the same place Philip died is where Hamilton chose his duel and died three years later.

9. He Left His Family in Debt

What? THE Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father, first Secretary of the Treasury, and a genius left his family in debt? It’s inconceivable! Ok, wrong story. After his death, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson started a rumor that Hamilton was corrupt and used his position as Secretary of the Treasury to make himself wealthy. Well, none of it was true. Hamilton never cheated the system and wasn’t corrupt. He created America’s economic infrastructure and Wall St…well, it’s hard to see that as a good thing right about now.

Serving as Secretary, he actually made less money than during his time as a lawyer. He may have even made more money if he wasn’t killed. Things got so bad for the Hamilton family is caused Eliza, his wife, to ask Congress for money and land that was given to him for his service in the Revolutionary War that he previously forfeited. Things eventually get better though. Eliza helped raise funds for the Washington Monument and started her own private orphanage in New York City.

Mrs. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton

10. No One Knows What Really Happened

What does that mean? It means there are aspects of Hamilton’s dealings and life that no one knows for sure about. For a man who was constantly writing, there are still things left to ambiguity. A private dinner meeting between Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison occurred but we only have evidence of Jefferson’s account.

All we know is, the meeting led to the nation’s capital (Washington, D.C.) being placed in the South along the Potomac River, and Hamilton got his votes for his financial system passed through Congress. Yes, the same system we have today.

What’s the next one? No one knows the full account of Hamilton’s death. The only witnesses were their seconds, which are basically neutral parties to negotiate terms between the two dueling parties. Did Hamilton purposely misfire? Did the dueling code obligate Burr not to shoot? Well if that was the case Hamilton wouldn’t have died. All we know is yes, both parties fired in succession but the seconds disagree on the intervening time. So, it’s a case of Han Solo vs. Greedo and who shot first. We’ll just never know.

Portrait of an older Alexander Hamilton

References
DeConde, Alexander. “Alexander Hamilton.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 10 Sept. 2020, www.britannica.com/biography/Alexander-Hamilton-United-States-statesman.
Grimminck, Robert. “10 Fascinating Facts About Alexander Hamilton.” Toptenz.net, 6 June 2017, www.toptenz.net/10-fascinating-facts-alexander-hamilton.php.
History.com Editors. “Alexander Hamilton.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/alexander-hamilton.
NCC Staff. “10 Essential Facts about Alexander Hamilton on His Birthday.” National Constitution Center – Constitutioncenter.org, constitutioncenter.org/blog/10-essential-facts-about-alexander-hamilton/.
Staff, American History Central. “Hamilton, Alexander.” American History Central, R.Squared Communications, LLC, 27 Aug. 2019, www.americanhistorycentral.com/entries/alexander-hamilton/view/quick-facts/.

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Alexander Hamilton Facts: Rise in Politics

  • Hamilton, along with John Jay and future political opponent James Madison, penned the influential federalist papers.
  • After the ratification of the Constitution, George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States of America, and he appointed Alexander Hamilton as the Secretary of Treasury.
  • Hamilton felt that the debt that the United States had accrued during the American Revolutionary War was the price it paid for its liberty. To Hamilton, the proper handling of the government debt would also allow America to borrow at affordable interest rates and would also be a stimulant to the economy. Hamilton divided the debt into national and state, and further divided the national debt into foreign and domestic debt. While there was agreement on how to handle the foreign debt, there was not with regards to the national debt held by domestic creditors.
  • During the Revolutionary War, affluent citizens had invested in bonds, and war veterans had been paid with promissory notes and IOUs that plummeted in price during the Confederation. In response, the war veterans sold the securities to speculators for as little as fifteen to twenty cents on the dollar. Hamilton felt the money from the bonds should not go to the soldiers, but the speculators that had bought the bonds from the soldiers, as they had little faith in the country&rsquos future. The process of attempting to track down the original bond holders along with the government showing discrimination among the classes of holders if the war veterans were to be compensated also weighed in as factors for Hamilton. As for the state debts, Hamilton suggested to consolidate it with the national debt and label it as federal debt, for the sake of efficiency on a national scale.
  • The last portion of the report dealt with eliminating the debt by utilizing a sinking fund that would retire five percent of the debt annually until it was paid off. Due to the bonds being traded well below their face value, the purchases would benefit the government as the securities rose in price. When the report was submitted to the House of Representatives, detractors soon began to speak against it.
  • Hamilton was a leader in the establishment of the United States Bank. The United States Bank would exist until Andrew Jackson&rsquos administration.

Law Career

After completing a short apprenticeship and passing the bar, Hamilton established a practice in New York City. 

The majority of Hamilton&aposs first clients were the widely unpopular British Loyalists, who continued to pledge their allegiance to the King of England. When British forces took power over New York State in 1776, many New York rebels fled the area, and British Loyalists, many of whom had traveled from other states and were seeking protection during this time, began to occupy the abandoned homes and businesses.

When the Revolutionary War ended, nearly a decade later, many rebels returned to find their homes occupied, and sued Loyalists for compensation (for using and/or damaging their property). Hamilton defended Loyalists against the rebels.

In 1784, Hamilton took on the Rutgers v. Waddington case, which involved the rights of Loyalists. It was a landmark case for the American justice system, as it led to the creation of the judicial review system. He accomplished another history-making feat that same year when he assisted in founding the Bank of New York. In defending the Loyalists, Hamilton instituted new principles of due process.

Hamilton went on to take an additional 45 trespass cases and proved to be instrumental in the eventual repeal of the Trespass Act, which had been established in 1783 to permit rebels to collect damages from the Loyalists who had occupied their homes and businesses.


Contents

Act I

The orphan Alexander Hamilton experiences a hard early life, and through his smarts, leaves his home, the island of Nevis ("Alexander Hamilton"). In New York in 1776, Hamilton meets Aaron Burr, John Laurens, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Hercules Mulligan ("Aaron Burr, Sir"), and impresses them with his rhetorical skills ("My Shot"). The latter three and Hamilton affirm their revolutionary goals to each other, while Burr remains apprehensive ("The Story of Tonight"). Later, the daughters of the wealthy Philip Schuyler—Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy—go into town and share their opinion on the upcoming revolution ("The Schuyler Sisters") it is at this time that Samuel Seabury warns everyone about the dangers of Congress while Hamilton disagrees and counters Seabury ("Farmer Refuted"), until King George III insists on his authority ("You'll Be Back"). During the New York and New Jersey campaign, Hamilton accepts a position as George Washington's aide-de-camp despite longing for field command ("Right Hand Man").

At a ball hosted by Philip Schuyler ("A Winter's Ball"), Eliza falls hopelessly in love with Hamilton, who reciprocates her feelings to the point of marriage ("Helpless"), as Angelica suppresses her own feelings for the sake of their happiness ("Satisfied"). After the wedding, Burr and Hamilton congratulate each other's successes ("The Story of Tonight (Reprise)") while Burr reflects on Hamilton's swift rise while considering his own more cautious career ("Wait For It").

As conditions worsen for the Continental Army ("Stay Alive"), Hamilton aids Laurens in a duel against Charles Lee, who had insulted Washington ("Ten Duel Commandments"). Laurens injures Lee, who yields, while Hamilton is temporarily suspended by Washington over the duel and is sent home ("Meet Me Inside"). There, Eliza reveals that she is pregnant with her first child, Philip, and asks Hamilton to slow down to take in what has happened in their lives ("That Would Be Enough"). After Lafayette persuades France to get involved on the colonists' side, he urges Washington to call Hamilton back to help plan the final Battle of Yorktown Washington agrees ("Guns and Ships") but explains to Hamilton—who is convinced he should die a martyr and a hero in war—that he should be careful with his actions because whatever he does will be known for ages to come ("History Has Its Eyes on You"). At the Battle of Yorktown, Hamilton meets up with Lafayette to take down the British, revealing that Mulligan was recruited as a spy, helping them figure out how to trap the British and win the war ("Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)").

Soon after the victory at Yorktown, King George asks the newborn America how it will succeed on its own ("What Comes Next?"), while Lafayette returns to France with plans to inspire his people to have their own revolution. Hamilton's son Philip is born, while Burr has a daughter, Theodosia, and the two tell their children how they will do anything to protect them ("Dear Theodosia"). Hamilton receives word that his long-time friend John Laurens has been killed in a seemingly pointless battle after the war was won and throws himself into his work ("Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us"). He co-authors The Federalist Papers and is selected as Secretary of the Treasury by newly elected President Washington, amidst Eliza begging Hamilton to stay and Angelica moving to London with her new husband ("Non-Stop").

Act II

Thomas Jefferson returns to America from being the U.S. ambassador to France, taking up his newfound position as Secretary of State, with friend and fellow Cabinet member, James Madison ("What'd I Miss"). In 1789, Jefferson and Hamilton debate Hamilton's financial proposals at a Cabinet meeting. Washington tells Hamilton to figure out a compromise to win over Congress ("Cabinet Battle #1").

Eliza and her family—along with Angelica, back from London—travel upstate during the summer, while Hamilton stays home to work on the compromise ("Take a Break"). Hamilton begins an affair with Maria Reynolds, making him vulnerable to her husband's blackmail ("Say No To This"). Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison create the Compromise of 1790 over a private dinner, exchanging Hamilton's financial plan for placing the country's permanent capital on the Potomac River. Burr is envious of Hamilton's sway in the government and wishes he had similar power ("The Room Where It Happens"). Burr switches political parties and defeats Philip Schuyler, making Hamilton now a rival ("Schuyler Defeated").

In another Cabinet meeting, Jefferson and Hamilton argue over whether the United States should assist France in its conflict with Britain. President Washington ultimately agrees with Hamilton's argument for remaining neutral ("Cabinet Battle #2"). In the wake of this, Jefferson, Madison, and Burr decide to join forces to find a way to discredit Hamilton ("Washington on Your Side"). Washington decides to retire from the presidency, and Hamilton assists in writing a farewell address ("One Last Time").

A flabbergasted King George receives word that George Washington has stepped down, and will be replaced by Paris signatory John Adams ("I Know Him"). Adams becomes the second President and fires Hamilton, who, in response, publishes an inflammatory critique of the new president ("The Adams Administration"). Jefferson, Madison, and Burr confront Hamilton about James Reynolds' blackmail, accusing him of "[embezzlement of] government funds", which forces Hamilton to reveal his affair with Maria ("We Know"). Out of fear that the affair will be used against him in his political career, Hamilton chooses to publicize his affair ("Hurricane") in the Reynolds Pamphlet, causing uproar in his political position ("The Reynolds Pamphlet") and damaging his relationship with Eliza, who, in a heartbroken retaliation, burns all the letters Hamilton wrote her, trying to erase herself from history ("Burn"). After graduating college, Philip attempts to defend his father's honor in a duel with George Eacker ("Blow Us All Away") but is fatally shot ("Stay Alive (Reprise)"), causing a reconciliation between Alexander and Eliza ("It's Quiet Uptown").

Hamilton's endorsement of Jefferson in the 1800 election ("The Election of 1800") results in further animosity between Hamilton and Burr, who challenges Hamilton to a duel via an exchange of letters ("Your Obedient Servant"). Hamilton writes his last letter in a rush while Eliza tells him to go back to bed ("Best of Wives and Best of Women"). Burr and Hamilton travel to New Jersey for the duel. Burr reflects on the moments leading up to the duel, stating that one of them will have to die. Burr and Hamilton walk the requisite ten paces, with Burr firing first, and time freezes as Hamilton reflects on his legacy, before throwing away his shot. Burr shoots him between the ribs and Hamilton eventually dies, mourned upon by Eliza, Angelica, and the rest of the cast. Burr laments that though he survived, he is cursed to be remembered as the villain who killed Hamilton ("The World Was Wide Enough").

The musical closes with a reflection on historical memory. Jefferson and Madison reflect on Hamilton's legacy, as Eliza tells how she keeps Hamilton's legacy alive through interviewing war veterans, getting help from Angelica, raising funds for the Washington Monument, speaking out against slavery, and establishing the first private orphanage in New York City ("Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story"). As the musical ends, Eliza looks in the direction of the audience and lets out a tearful gasp.

Original production casts

Character Vassar workshop [14]
(2013)
Off-Broadway [15]
(2015)
Broadway [16]
(2015) [a]
First U.S. tour [17]
(2017)
West End [18]
(2017)
Second U.S. tour [19]
(2018)
Third U.S. tour [20]
(2019)
Alexander Hamilton Lin-Manuel Miranda Michael Luwoye Jamael Westman Joseph Morales Lin-Manuel Miranda
Aaron Burr Utkarsh Ambudkar Leslie Odom Jr. Joshua Henry Giles Terera Nik Walker Donald Webber Jr.
Eliza Hamilton Ana Nogueira Phillipa Soo Solea Pfeiffer Rachelle Ann Go Shoba Narayan Julia K. Harriman
Angelica Schuyler Anika Noni Rose Renée Elise Goldsberry Emmy Raver-Lampman Rachel John Ta'Rea Campbell Sabrina Sloan
Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson Daveed Diggs Jordan Donica Jason Pennycooke Kyle Scatliffe Simon Longnight
George Washington Christopher Jackson Isaiah Johnson Obioma Ugoala Marcus Choi Isaiah Johnson
John Laurens and Philip Hamilton Javier Muñoz Anthony Ramos Rubén J. Carbajal Cleve September Elijah Malcomb Rubén J. Carbajal
Hercules Mulligan and James Madison Joshua Henry Okieriete Onaodowan Mathenee Treco Tarinn Callender Fergie L. Philippe Brandon Armstrong
King George III Joshua Henry Brian d'Arcy James Jonathan Groff Rory O'Malley Michael Jibson Jon Patrick Walker Rick Negrón
Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds Presilah Nunez Jasmine Cephas Jones Amber Iman Christine Allado Danielle Sostre Darilyn Castillo

Notable cast replacements

Off-Broadway

Broadway cast replacements

  • Alexander Hamilton – Javier Muñoz (July 11, 2016 – January 14, 2018) [22]Michael Luwoye (January 16, 2018 – February 16, 2019) [23][24][25]Miguel Cervantes (March 3, 2020 - present) [26]
  • Aaron Burr – Brandon Victor Dixon (August 23, 2016 – August 13, 2017) [27]Daniel Breaker (August 29, 2017 – present) [25][28]
  • Eliza Hamilton – Lexi Lawson (July 12, 2016 – October 28, 2018) [25][27]Denée Benton (October 30, 2018 – December 8, 2019) [29][30]Krystal Joy Brown (December 10, 2019 – present) [30]
  • Angelica Schuyler – Mandy Gonzalez (September 6, 2016 – present) [25][31]
  • Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson – Seth Stewart (August 15, 2016 – April 16, 2017) [32]James Monroe Iglehart (April 18, 2017 – present) [33]
  • John Laurens and Philip Hamilton – Jordan Fisher (November 22, 2016 – March 5, 2017) [34]
  • King George III – Andrew Rannells(October 27, 2015 – November 29, 2015)[35]Rory O'Malley (April 11, 2016 – January 15, 2017) [36]Taran Killam (January 17, 2017 – April 16, 2017) [37]Brian d'Arcy James (April 18, 2017 – July 16, 2017) [38]Euan Morton (July 28, 2017 – present) [39]

Chicago

West End

First National tour

  • "Alexander Hamilton" – Burr, Laurens, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Eliza, Washington, and Company
  • "Aaron Burr, Sir" – Hamilton, Burr, Laurens, Lafayette, and Mulligan, and Company
  • "My Shot" – Hamilton, Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, Burr, and Company
  • "The Story of Tonight" – Hamilton, Laurens, Mulligan, Lafayette, and Company
  • "The Schuyler Sisters" – Angelica, Eliza, Peggy, Burr, and Company
  • "Farmer Refuted" – Seabury, Hamilton, Burr, and Company
  • "You'll Be Back" – King George III and Company
  • "Right Hand Man" – Washington, Hamilton, Burr, and Company
  • "A Winter's Ball" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Helpless" – Eliza and Company
  • "Satisfied" – Angelica and Company
  • "The Story of Tonight (Reprise)" – Laurens, Mulligan, Lafayette, Hamilton, and Burr
  • "Wait for It" – Burr and Company
  • "Stay Alive" – Hamilton, Washington, Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, Lee, Eliza, Angelica, and Company [a]
  • "Ten Duel Commandments" – Laurens, Hamilton, Lee, Burr, and Company
  • "Meet Me Inside" – Hamilton, Burr, Laurens, Washington, and Company
  • "That Would Be Enough" – Eliza and Hamilton
  • "Guns and Ships" – Burr, Lafayette, Washington, and Company
  • "History Has Its Eyes on You" – Washington, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" – Hamilton, Lafayette, Laurens, Mulligan, Washington, and Company [a]
  • "What Comes Next?" – King George III
  • "Dear Theodosia" – Burr and Hamilton
  • "Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us" – Laurens, Eliza, and Hamilton [b]
  • "Non-Stop" – Burr, Hamilton, Angelica, Eliza, Washington, and Company
  • "What'd I Miss?" – Jefferson, Burr, Madison, and Company
  • "Cabinet Battle #1" – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison
  • "Take a Break" – Eliza, Philip, Hamilton, and Angelica
  • "Say No to This" – Maria Reynolds, Burr, Hamilton, James Reynolds, and Company
  • "The Room Where It Happens" – Burr, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and Company
  • "Schuyler Defeated" – Philip, Eliza, Hamilton, and Burr
  • "Cabinet Battle #2" – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison
  • "Washington on Your Side" – Burr, Jefferson, Madison, and Company
  • "One Last Time" – Washington, Hamilton, and Company [c]
  • "I Know Him" – King George III
  • "The Adams Administration" – Burr, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Company [a]
  • "We Know" – Hamilton, Jefferson, Burr, and Madison
  • "Hurricane" – Hamilton and Company
  • "The Reynolds Pamphlet" – Jefferson, Madison, Burr, Hamilton, Angelica, James Reynolds, and Company [a][d]
  • "Burn" – Eliza
  • "Blow Us All Away" – Philip, Martha, Dolley, Eacker, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Stay Alive (Reprise)" – Hamilton, Philip, Eliza, and Company
  • "It's Quiet Uptown" – Angelica, Hamilton, Eliza, and Company
  • "The Election of 1800" – Jefferson, Madison, Burr, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Your Obedient Servant" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Best of Wives and Best of Women" – Eliza and Hamilton
  • "The World Was Wide Enough" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
  • "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" – Eliza and Company [a]
  1. ^ abcde Credited to full company on the original Broadway cast recording.
  2. ^ "Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us", a second reprise to "The Story of Tonight", does not appear on the original Broadway cast recording. Miranda explained that it was "more of a scene than a song, the only scene in the [sung-through] show", and he wanted to reserve the impact of "at least one revelation" that could be experienced more fully onstage. [45]
  3. ^ Previously titled "One Last Ride" in the Off-Broadway production. [46]
  4. ^ "The Reynolds Pamphlet" The song contains a small part of the song "Congratulations" (Off-Broadway). [46]

Recordings

Original Broadway cast album (2015)

The original Broadway cast recording for Hamilton was made available to listeners by NPR on September 21, 2015. [47] It was released by Atlantic Records digitally on September 25, 2015, and physical copies were released on October 16, 2015. [48] The cast album has also been released on vinyl. [49] The album debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, the highest entrance for a cast recording since 1963. [50] It went on to reach number 2 on the Billboard 200 [51] and number 1 on the Billboard Rap albums chart. [52] The original cast recording won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. [53]

The Hamilton Mixtape (2016)

The Hamilton Mixtape, a collection of remixes, covers, and samples of the musical's songs, was released on December 2, 2016. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. [54]

The Hamilton Instrumentals (2017) and Hamiltunes

The Hamilton Instrumentals, an instrumental edition of the original Broadway cast recording without the cast's vocals, was released on June 30, 2017. [55]

In conjunction with the release, the producers of Hamilton announced that they were officially authorizing free sing-along programs for fans, and offering organizers the Hamiltunes name and logo to promote the events. [55] A series of unauthorized Hamilton sing-alongs under that name, starting with Hamiltunes L.A. in early 2016, had already taken place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., with spinoff events nationwide. [55] [56] [57]

Hamildrops (2017–2018)

Miranda announced a new series of 13 Hamilton-related recordings called Hamildrops, releasing once a month from December 2017 to December 2018. The first release, on December 15, 2017, was "Ben Franklin's Song" by The Decemberists, containing lyrics Miranda wrote during the development of Hamilton for an unused song that was never set to music. Miranda had long imagined Benjamin Franklin singing in a "Decemberist-y way", and ultimately sent the lyrics to Colin Meloy, who set them to music. [58] [59]

The second release, on January 25, 2018, was "Wrote My Way Out (Remix)", a remixed version of a song on The Hamilton Mixtape, featuring Royce Da 5'9", Joyner Lucas, Black Thought and Aloe Blacc. [60]

The third release, on March 2, 2018, was "The Hamilton Polka" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, a polka medley of some of the songs from the musical. A fan of Yankovic since childhood, Miranda became friends with him after they tried to develop a musical together. About the origin of the song, Yankovic said, "Lin pitched it to me as a polka medley way more hesitantly than [he] should have. He was like, 'Would you want to do a polka medley?' I was like, 'Of course I do! ' " Since Yankovic was busy working on his new tour, he wouldn't be able to release the song in February, so he suggested calling March 2 "February 30th". Miranda said it was "the most perfect 'Weird Al' creative problem solving possible". [61] After Hamilton had premiered on Disney+ in July 2020, Yankovic released a video version of "The Hamilton Polka" that synched his song to video clips from the show. [62]

The fourth release, on March 19, 2018, was "Found/Tonight" by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt. A mash-up of the songs "You Will Be Found" from the 2015 stage musical Dear Evan Hansen and "The Story of Tonight", part of the proceeds were destinated to the initiative March for Our Lives, created after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Miranda said the song was his way "of helping to raise funds and awareness for [the efforts of the students in Parkland, Florida], and to say Thank You, and that we are with you so let's keep fighting, together". Platt added that he hoped the song could "play some small part in bringing about real change [in gun control laws]". [63]

The fifth release, on April 30, 2018, was "First Burn", featuring five actresses who played Eliza Hamilton at productions of the musical: Arianna Afsar (original Chicago company), Julia Harriman (first national tour), Shoba Narayan (original second national tour company), Rachelle Ann Go (original West End company) and Lexi Lawson (Broadway). The song is the first draft written by Miranda of "Burn". Miranda described Eliza's portrayal in the first version of the song as "angrier" and "entirely reactive", while in the final version "she has agency", and explained that "it works as a song but not as a scene". [64]

The sixth release, on May 31, 2018, was a cover of "Helpless" by The Regrettes. [65] Miranda credited Mike Elizondo, a producer who worked with the band, as having suggested the idea, which he immediately accepted. [66]

The seventh release, on June 18, 2018, was "Boom Goes the Cannon. " by Mobb Deep. The song, which incorporates a sample of the musical's "Right Hand Man", was one of the last recorded by Havoc and Prodigy, before Prodigy's passing in June 2017. Havoc expressed that the release of the record was "a great way to pay homage to [Prodigy] and continue not only Mobb's legacy, but his as well". Miranda dedicated it to Queensbridge. [67]

The eighth release, "Rise Up, Wise Up, Eyes Up" by French duo Ibeyi, was released on August 31, 2018. [68]

The ninth release, entitled "A Forgotten Spot (Olvidado)", features Puerto Rican singers Zion & Lennox, De La Ghetto, Ivy Queen, PJ Sin Suela and Lucecita Benítez. It was released on September 20, 2018 by Atlantic Records and Warner Music Group. The song was written by Miranda, along with the rest of the collaborators. The song was released on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria which directly struck Puerto Rico in 2017. [69] [70]

The tenth release, a rendition of "Theodosia Reprise" by Sara Bareilles, debuted on the eve of Halloween 2018. It featured show orchestrator Alex Lacamoire on piano and Questlove of The Roots on drums. The song, sharing a moment between Aaron Burr and his daughter, was to appear in Act 2 but was cut from the final production. [71]

The eleventh release was "Cheering For Me Now", an original song with music by John Kander and lyrics by Miranda based on the 1788 Federal Procession in New York City. It was released on November 20, 2018. The release features Miranda performing as Alexander Hamilton and an arrangement by Alex Lacamoire. [72]

On December 20, 2018, the final song was released. "One Last Time (44 Remix)" features the vocals of original Broadway portrayer of George Washington, Christopher Jackson, gospel and R&B singer BeBe Winans, and former US president Barack Obama, reciting the lines from George Washington's farewell address. It is based on "One Last Time" with a revamped gospel type of music. The 44 in the title stands for Obama being the 44th president of the United States.

While on vacation from performing in his hit Broadway show In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda read a copy of the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. After finishing the first few chapters, Miranda began to envision the life of Hamilton as a musical, and researched whether a stage musical of Hamilton's life had been created: all he found was that a play of Hamilton's story had been done on Broadway in 1917, starring George Arliss as Alexander Hamilton. [73]

External audio
Lin-Manuel Miranda Talks 'Hamilton': Once A 'Ridiculous' Pitch, Now A Revolution, interview with Scott Simon, NPR, April 9, 2016

Miranda began a project titled The Hamilton Mixtape. On May 12, 2009, Miranda was invited to perform music from In the Heights at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word. Instead, he performed the first song from The Hamilton Mixtape, an early version of what would later become "Alexander Hamilton", Hamilton's opening number. He spent a year after that working on "My Shot", another early number from the show. [74]

Although Miranda took some dramatic license in recounting the events of Hamilton's life, both the story and the lyrics in the musical numbers were heavily researched. Many of the songs included in the show contain lines lifted directly from primary source documents including personal letters and other documents such as The Federalist Papers and the infamous Reynolds Pamphlet. [75]

Miranda performed in a workshop production of the show, then titled The Hamilton Mixtape, at the Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Theater [76] on July 27, 2013. The workshop production was directed by Thomas Kail and musically directed by Alex Lacamoire. The workshop consisted of the entirety of the first act of the show and three songs from the second act. The workshop was accompanied by Lacamoire on the piano. [74]

Of the original workshop cast, only three principal cast members played in the Off-Broadway production: Miranda, Daveed Diggs, and Christopher Jackson. The original Off-Broadway cast moved to Broadway, except for Brian d'Arcy James, who was replaced by Jonathan Groff as King George III.

Off-Broadway (2015)

Directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, the musical received its world premiere Off-Broadway at The Public Theater, under the supervision of the Public's Artistic Director Oskar Eustis, with previews starting on January 20, 2015, and officially opening on February 17. [77] [78] The production was extended twice, first to April 5 and then to May 3. [79] Chernow served as historical consultant to the production. [2] [80] The show opened to universal acclaim according to review aggregator Did He Like It. [81]

According to New York Post gossip columnist Michael Riedel, producer Jeffrey Seller wanted to take the show to Broadway before the end of the 2014–2015 season in order to capitalize on public interest in the show and qualify for eligibility for that year's Tony Awards however, he was overruled by Miranda and Kail, as Miranda wanted more time to work on the show. [82] Changes made between Off-Broadway and Broadway included the cutting of several numbers, a rewrite of Hamilton's final moments before his death, and a cutting-down of the song "One Last Ride" (now titled "One Last Time") to focus simply on Washington's decision not to run for a third term as president. [ citation needed ]

Broadway (2015–present)

Hamilton premiered on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (also home to Miranda's 2008 Broadway debut In the Heights) on July 13, 2015, in previews, and opened on August 6, 2015. [83] As in the off-Broadway production, the show is produced by Seller with sets by David Korins, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley and sound by Nevin Steinberg. [84]

The production was critically acclaimed and won 11 Tony Awards. [83] [85] [86]

As of March 12, 2020, the show suspended production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Performances cannot resume until May 31, 2021 at the earliest. [87]

Chicago (2016–2020)

Hamilton began previews at the CIBC Theatre in Chicago on September 27, 2016. [88] The Chicago production cast included Miguel Cervantes as Alexander Hamilton, Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr, Karen Olivo as Angelica Schuyler, Arianna Afsar as Eliza Schuyler, Alexander Gemignani as King George III, and Samantha Marie Ware as Peggy/Maria Reynolds. [89] On its opening in October, attended by author Miranda, the Chicago production received strongly positive reviews. [90] [91] [92] The Chicago run closed on January 5, 2020 after 1,341 shows. [93] The production grossed $400 million, breaking the box office record for theater in Chicago. According to Chris Jones, the success was made possible by the larger number of seats the CIBC Theatre holds and can sell compared with, for example, the show's smaller New York City venue. [94] Overall, "more than 2.6 million people took in Hamilton during its Chicago run." Lightfoot acknowledges the fact that this number includes the "31 thousand public school students who saw it through the Hamilton Education Program." [95]

North American touring productions (2017–present)

Angelica Tour/Philip Tour (2017–present)

Plans for a national tour of Hamilton emerged near the end of January 2016. The tour was initially announced with over 20 stops, scheduled from 2017 through at least 2020. [96] Tickets to the tour's run in San Francisco—its debut city—sold out within 24 hours of release the number of people who entered the online waiting room to purchase tickets surpassed 110,000. [97] The first national touring production began preview performances at San Francisco's SHN Orpheum Theatre on March 10, 2017 and officially opened on March 23. The production ran in San Francisco until August 5, when it transferred to Los Angeles's Hollywood Pantages Theatre for a run from August 11 to December 30, 2017.

Just days after the first U.S. tour began performances in San Francisco, news emerged that a second U.S. tour of Hamilton would begin in Seattle for a six-week limited engagement before touring North America concurrently with the first tour. [11] To distinguish the first and second touring productions, the production team has labeled them, respectively, the "Angelica Tour" and the "Philip Tour". [96]

The Philip tour began preview performances at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle on February 6, 2018 before officially opening on February 15, 2018. [98]

The Angelica tour alone requires 14 truckloads of cargo and a core group of over 60 traveling cast, crew, and musicians. [96] The production team insisted that each tour must be able to duplicate the original Broadway show's choreography, which literally revolves around two concentric turntables on the stage. [96] This led to the construction of four portable sets, two for each tour, so that one set can be assembled well in advance at the next stop while the tour is still playing at the last stop. [96]

Hamilton premiered in Canada when the Philip tour began a planned three-month run at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, Ontario on February 11, 2020. [99] The show was slated to run until May 17, 2020, but was cancelled from March 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Puerto Rico/San Francisco [And Peggy Tour] (2019–present)

Producers announced the formation of a third touring company on November 8, 2017, dubbed the "And Peggy Tour". [100] [101] It was to debut in a January 8–27, 2019 run at the University of Puerto Rico's Teatro UPR in San Juan, with Lin-Manuel Miranda reprising the title role, then to become a San Francisco production with a different lead. The Teatro UPR stage, damaged by 2017's Hurricane Maria, was repaired in a months-long restoration in anticipation of the show.

On December 21, 2018, less than a month away from opening night, negotiations between the show's production and the local faculty and staff union shifted the three-week engagement to the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center, and shortening it to January 11–27. This followed weeks of warnings from the union of possible protests outside the theater over budget cuts that the University of Puerto Rico administration was considering that would affect university staff and employees. [102] In response to the prospect of union and pro-statehood protestors, a line of police stood outside the theater opening night. [103]

Miranda's performance in the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center marked his return to the venue nine years after he reprised the role of Usnavi for the San Juan stop of the North American touring production of In the Heights. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon taped segments in Puerto Rico to help tourism, one of them with the "And Peggy Tour" cast performing a version of "The Story of Tonight", where Jimmy Fallon joined in as a second Alexander Hamilton next to Miranda singing about The Tonight Show and ending the performance with a salsa version of Fallon's Tonight Show opening song.

In a review of the Puerto Rico production, Chris Jones said Miranda's performance demonstrated "deeper on-stage emotions", as well as improved vocal and dance technique than on his original run on Broadway. Jones praised Miranda's "signature warmth" as well as Donald Webber Jr., calling Webber's performance as Aaron Burr "exceptional". The sold-out three-week engagement raised about $15 million for Miranda's Flamboyán Arts Fund, which benefits arts in Puerto Rico the first beneficiary having been the restoration of the Teatro UPR, where the three-week engagement would have originally taken place. [104]

A filmed version of "Alexander Hamilton" was created featuring the Puerto Rico production and was shown as the final part of Hamilton: The Exhibition in 2019. [105]

Julius Thomas III took over the role of Alexander Hamilton when the And Peggy tour moved to San Francisco, where it opened on February 21, 2019. [106] Despite billing as a tour (as is the common theatrical convention with West Coast sit-down productions), the And Peggy Tour is fixed in San Francisco for a lengthy residency with no scheduled travelling dates. The San Francisco production is given a separate tab on the show's website from the two traveling North American tours.

Los Angeles (2020–present)

A new production in Los Angeles was to run from March 12 to November 22, 2020, at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, but was suspended on the date of its intended debut in response to the coronavirus pandemic. [107] [108]

West End (2017–present)

Cameron Mackintosh produced a London production that re-opened the Victoria Palace Theatre on December 21, 2017, following previews from December 6. [9] Initial principal casting was announced on January 26, 2017. [18] The London production received strongly positive reviews. [109]

The show was forced to close from March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was announced in June 2020 that it would not reopen until 2021. [110] It is currently scheduled to reopen on August 19, 2021. [111]

Hamburg (2021)

According to a report in Forbes, Stage Entertainment will license a German-language production to open in at the Operettenhaus in Hamburg. [112] [113] Originally scheduled for November 2021, [114] the opening was moved to March 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [115]

Australia (2021–present)

Hamilton had its Australian premiere at Sydney Lyric Theatre, with previews beginning March 17, 2021. The Australian company is led by Jason Arrow as Alexander Hamilton, Chloé Zuel as Eliza Hamilton, Lyndon Watts as Aaron Burr, Akina Edmonds as Angelica Schuyler, Matu Ngaropo as George Washington, Victory Ndukwe as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Shaka Cook as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, Marty Alix as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton, Elandrah Eramiha as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds and Brent Hill as King George III. [116]

The production will open in Melbourne at Her Majesty's Theatre on March 16th 2022, one year following the opening in Sydney. [117] [118]

Opening and box office records

Hamilton ' s off-Broadway engagement at The Public Theater was sold out, [6] and when the musical opened on Broadway, it had a multimillion-dollar advance in ticket sales, reportedly taking in $30 million before its official opening. [119]

By September 2015, the show was sold out for most of its Broadway engagement. [120] [121] [122] [123] It was the second-highest-grossing show on Broadway for the Labor Day week ending September 6, 2015 (behind only The Lion King). [7]

Hamilton set a Broadway box office record for the most money grossed in a single week in New York City in late November 2016, when it grossed $3.3 million for an eight-performance week, the first show to break $3 million in eight performances. [124]

Ticket lottery and Ham4Ham

Hamilton, like some other Broadway musicals, offers a ticket lottery before every show. Initially, 21 front-row seats (and occasional standing room tickets) were offered in each lottery. Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda began preparing and hosting outdoor mini-performances shortly before each daily drawing, allowing lottery participants to experience a part of the show even when they did not win tickets. [125] These were dubbed the "Ham4Ham" shows, because lottery winners were given the opportunity to purchase two tickets at the reduced price of one Hamilton ($10 bill) each.

The online theatrical journal HowlRound characterized Ham4Ham as an expression of Miranda's cultural background:

Ham4Ham follows a long tradition of Latina/o (or the ancestors of present-day Latina/os) theatremaking that dates back to when the events in Hamilton were happening. . The philosophy behind this is simple. If the people won't come to the theatre, then take the theatre to the people. While El Teatro Campesino's 'taking it to the streets' originated from a place of social protest, Ham4Ham does so to create accessibility, tap into social media, and ultimately generate a free, self-functioning marketing campaign. In this way, Ham4Ham falls into a lineage of accessibility as a Latina/o theatremaking aesthetic. [126]

As a result of the Ham4Ham shows, Hamilton ' s lottery drew unusually large crowds of people who created congestion on West 46th Street. [127] To avoid increasingly dangerous crowding and traffic conditions, an online ticket lottery began operating in early January 2016. [127] On the first day of the online lottery, more than 50,000 people entered, crashing the website. [128]

After Miranda left the show on July 9, 2016, Rory O'Malley, then playing King George III, took over as the host of Ham4Ham. [129] The Ham4Ham show officially ended on August 31, 2016, after more than a year of performances. [130] The online lottery continued, with an official mobile app released in August 2017 that expanded the lottery by offering tickets for touring productions of Hamilton as well as the Broadway show. [131]

Marilyn Stasio, in her review of the Off-Broadway production for Variety, wrote, "The music is exhilarating, but the lyrics are a big surprise. The sense, as well as the sound of the sung dialogue, has been purposely suited to each character. George Washington, a stately figure in Jackson's dignified performance, sings in polished prose. . In the end, Miranda's impassioned narrative of one man's story becomes the collective narrative of a nation, a nation built by immigrants who occasionally need to be reminded where they came from." [132]

In his review of the Off-Broadway production, Jesse Green in New York wrote, "The conflict between independence and interdependence is not just the show's subject but also its method: It brings the complexity of forming a union from disparate constituencies right to your ears. . Few are the theatergoers who will be familiar with all of Miranda's touchstones. I caught the verbal references to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan, Sondheim, West Side Story, and 1776, but other people had to point out to me the frequent hat-tips to hip-hop . Whether it's a watershed, a breakthrough, and a game-changer, as some have been saying, is another matter. Miranda is too savvy (and loves his antecedents too much) to try to reinvent all the rules at once. . Those duels, by the way—there are three of them—are superbly handled, the highlights of a riveting if at times overbusy staging by the director Thomas Kail and the choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler." [133]

Although giving a positive review, Elisabeth Vincentelli, of the New York Post (which was founded by Hamilton himself), wrote that Hamilton and Burr's love/hate relationship "fails to drive the show—partly because Miranda lacks the charisma and intensity of the man he portrays", and that "too many of the numbers are exposition-heavy lessons, as if this were 'Schoolhouse Rap!' The show is burdened with eye-glazingly dull stretches, especially those involving George Washington." [134]

Reviewing the Broadway production in The New York Times, Ben Brantley wrote, "I am loath to tell people to mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets to a hit Broadway show. But Hamilton, directed by Thomas Kail and starring Mr. Miranda, might just about be worth it. . Washington, Jefferson, Madison—they're all here, making war and writing constitutions and debating points of economic structure. So are Aaron Burr and the Marquis de Lafayette. They wear the clothes (by Paul Tazewell) you might expect them to wear in a traditional costume drama, and the big stage they inhabit has been done up (by David Korins) to suggest a period-appropriate tavern, where incendiary youth might gather to drink, brawl and plot revolution." [83]

In Time Out New York, David Cote wrote, "I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right. A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda's uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard. . The work's human drama and novelistic density remain astonishing." Cote chose Hamilton as a Critics' Pick, and gave the production five out of five stars. [1]

In an issue of Journal of the Early Republic, Andrew Schocket wrote that while Hamilton makes bold choices to stray away from what he calls the "American Revolution Rebooted" genre, [135] it remains "forged in the mold of this genre, and despite its casting and hip-hop delivery, is more representative of it than we might think". [136] In the same issue, Marvin McAllister noted that the production's heavy hip-hop influence works so well because "Miranda elevates the form through this marriage with musical theater storytelling, and in the process, ennobles the culture and the creators." [137]

A review in The Economist summed up the response to Hamilton as "near-universal critical acclaim". [5] Barack Obama joked that admiration for the musical is "the only thing Dick Cheney and I agree on." [138] In 2019, writers for The Guardian ranked Hamilton the second-greatest theatrical work since 2000. [139]

Original Off-Broadway productions

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2015 Lucille Lortel Awards [140] Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Director Thomas Kail Won
Outstanding Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler Won
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Leslie Odom Jr. Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical Phillipa Soo Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Daveed Diggs Won
Brian d'Arcy James Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Renée Elise Goldsberry Won
Outstanding Costume Design Paul Tazewell Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Howell Binkley Won
Outstanding Sound Design Nevin Steinberg Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards [141] Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Outstanding New Score Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Thomas Kail Nominated
Outstanding Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler Nominated
Drama League Awards [142] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Daveed Diggs Nominated
Lin-Manuel Miranda Nominated
Drama Desk Awards [143] Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Leslie Odom Jr. Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Renée Elise Goldsberry Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Thomas Kail Won
Outstanding Music Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Outstanding Lyrics Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Alex Lacamoire Nominated
Outstanding Set Design David Korins Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Paul Tazewell Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Howell Binkley Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical Nevin Steinberg Won
Special Award ‡ Andy Blankenbuehler Won
New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards [144] Best Musical Won
Off Broadway Alliance Awards [145] Best New Musical Won
Theatre World Awards [146] Outstanding Debut Performance Daveed Diggs Won
Clarence Derwent Awards [147] Most Promising Female Performer Phillipa Soo Won
Obie Awards [148] Best New American Theatre Work Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Lacamoire Won
Edgerton Foundation New American Play Awards [149] Won

‡ Blankenbuehler received a Special Drama Desk Award for "his inspired and heart-stopping choreography in Hamilton, which is indispensible [sic] to the musical's storytelling. His body of work is versatile, yet a dynamic and fluid style is consistently evident. When it's time to 'take his shot,' Blankenbuehler hits the bulls-eye." [143]

Original Broadway production

The musical currently holds the record for most Tony Award nominations with 16 nominations (though due to multiple nominations in the two 'actor' categories, it could have only won 13 awards). At 11 wins, the musical fell short of one more win to match the record of 12 held by The Producers.

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2016 Tony Awards [150] Best Musical Won
Best Book of a Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Best Original Score Won
Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Leslie Odom Jr. Won
Best Actress in a Musical Phillipa Soo Nominated
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Daveed Diggs Won
Jonathan Groff Nominated
Christopher Jackson Nominated
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Renée Elise Goldsberry Won
Best Scenic Design of a Musical David Korins Nominated
Best Costume Design of a Musical Paul Tazewell Won
Best Lighting Design of a Musical Howell Binkley Won
Best Direction of a Musical Thomas Kail Won
Best Choreography Andy Blankenbuehler Won
Best Orchestrations Alex Lacamoire Won
Drama League Awards [151] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Won
Distinguished Performance Daveed Diggs Nominated
Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Pulitzer Prize Drama Won
Grammy Awards [53] Best Musical Theater Album Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos & Phillipa Soo (principal soloists) Alex Lacamoire, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bill Sherman, Ahmir Thompson & Tariq Trotter (producers) Lin-Manuel Miranda (composer & lyricist) Won
Fred and Adele Astaire Awards [152] Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show Nominated
Best Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler Won
Best Male Dancer Daveed Diggs Nominated
NAACP Image Awards [153] Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration Original Broadway Cast Nominated
Dramatists Guild of America Awards [154] Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Edward M. Kennedy Prize [155] Drama Inspired by American History Won
2017 Billboard Music Award [156] Top Soundtrack/Cast Album Won
2018 Kennedy Center Honors [157] Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Lacamoire and Thomas Kail Won

Original West End production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2017 Critics' Circle Theatre Award [158] Best Musical Won
2018 Laurence Olivier Awards [159] Best New Musical Won
Outstanding Achievement in Music Alex Lacamoire and Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Best Actor in a Musical Giles Terera Won
Jamael Westman Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Michael Jibson Won
Jason Pennycooke Nominated
Cleve September Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical Rachel John Nominated
Best Costume Design Paul Tazewell Nominated
Best Lighting Design Howell Binkley Won
Best Sound Design Nevin Steinberg Won
Best Director Thomas Kail Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler Won

Accolades

External video
Presentation to Lin-Manuel Miranda of the Special Achievement Award from the board of the George Washington Book Prize, December 14, 2015, C-SPAN
Publication Accolade Rank
Billboard 25 Best Albums of 2015 [160] 2
Rolling Stone 50 Best Albums of 2015 [161] 8

According to an article in The New Yorker, the show is "an achievement of historical and cultural reimagining". The costumes and set reflect the period, with "velvet frock coats and knee britches. The set . is a wooden scaffold against exposed brick the warm lighting suggests candlelight". [2] The musical is mostly sung and rapped all the way through, with little dialogue isolated outside of the musical score. [162] [14] [163]

Casting diversity

Miranda said that the portrayal of Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and other white historical figures by black, Latino and Asian actors should not require any substantial suspension of disbelief by audience members. "Our cast looks like America looks now, and that's certainly intentional", he said. "It's a way of pulling you into the story and allowing you to leave whatever cultural baggage you have about the founding fathers at the door." [164] He noted "We're telling the story of old, dead white men but we're using actors of color, and that makes the story more immediate and more accessible to a contemporary audience." [165]

The pro-immigration message of Hamilton is at the forefront, as the show revolves around the life of one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Alexander Hamilton, and how he made his mark in American politics as an immigrant. Instead of being characterized as a white person, Alexander Hamilton's immigrant status is referenced throughout the show, along with the virtue and prowess of Hamilton ("by working a lot harder, by being a lot smarter, by being a self-starter", described in the show's opening, and later stating "immigrants, we get the job done"), in order to foster a positive image of immigrants. [166] Alongside this, the casting of Black, Latino, and Asian American leads allowed audiences to literally view America as a nation of immigrants, and illustrate the "complex racial history and identity of America." [167] "Hamilton is a story about America, and the most beautiful thing about it is . it's told by such a diverse cast with such diverse styles of music", according to Renee Elise Goldsberry, who played Angelica Schuyler. "We have the opportunity to reclaim a history that some of us don't necessarily think is our own." [168] Miranda has stated that he is "totally open" to women playing the Founding Fathers. [169] Casting for the British production featured predominantly black British artists. [170] [171]

Historical accuracy

Chronology and events

Although Hamilton was based on historical events and people, Miranda did use some dramatic license in retelling the story. Here are the most prominent examples:

  • In "Aaron Burr, Sir", Alexander Hamilton is depicted as having come to the United States in 1776 he came in 1773. [172] In the same song, Hamilton meets with John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan, and Marquis de Lafayette shortly after arriving in New York. While it's true that Hamilton met Mulligan early during his time in New York, he only met Laurens and Lafayette after becoming George Washington's aide-de-camp. [173] In addition, Lafayette didn't come to the United States until after the war had started. [174]
  • Still in "Aaron Burr, Sir", Hamilton describes himself as an abolitionist. Hamilton generally opposed slavery, but he couldn't be described as an abolitionist. Despite once being the president of the New York Manumission Society, the fight against slavery wasn't considered a "mission" to him. His business dealings sometimes involved him in it his father-in-law, Philip Schuyler, owned enslaved people, as well as his friend George Washington. [175] In the song "Stay Alive", Laurens says that he and Hamilton wrote essays against slavery Hamilton didn't write any essays against slavery. [176]
  • While Angelica did have a strong relationship with Hamilton, it was exaggerated in the show. During "Satisfied", Angelica explains why Hamilton is not suitable for her despite wanting him in particular, she states, "I'm a girl in a world in which my only job is to marry rich. My father has no sons so I'm the one who has to social climb for one." In actuality, Angelica had less pressure on her to do this: by 1780, Philip Schuyler actually had fourteen children, including two sons who survived into adulthood (one of whom was New York State Assemblyman Philip Jeremiah Schuyler) Philip Schuyler's fifth and last child, a daughter, was born in 1781. Angelica also eloped with John Barker Church three years before she met Hamilton at her sister's wedding, when she was already a mother of two of her eight children with Church. [177] In addition, in "Take a Break", Angelica mentions that Hamilton put a comma in the wrong place in a letter to her, writing "my dearest. ". In reality, it was Angelica who did that. Hamilton noticed, and asked about it, with seemingly a bit of flirtatious hope in his question. She knocked it down. [178] Miranda stated that "[he] conveniently forgot that" for two reasons: because it is stronger dramatically if Angelica is available but cannot marry him [179][180][181] and, according to Hamilton: The Revolution, "in service of a larger point: Angelica is a world-class intellect in a world that does not allow her to flex it."
  • In Act I, Aaron Burr's role in Hamilton's life is overstated, and much of the early interactions between the two men in the show are fictionalized (Miranda even explicitly notes that "Aaron Burr, Sir" is a fictional first meeting between Hamilton and Burr in Hamilton: The Revolution). For example, while Burr was present at the Battle of Monmouth, Burr did not serve as Charles Lee's second in his duel with John Laurens as seen in "Ten Duel Commandments" Lee's second was Evan Edwards. [182] Hamilton also never invited Burr to his wedding as seen in "The Story of Tonight", [183] and never approached Burr to help write The Federalist Papers as portrayed in "Non-Stop" [184] in Hamilton: The Revolution, Miranda calls the scene "Another great What if? Historically, we know that Hamilton asked other people to contribute to The Federalist Papers: Madison and John Jay agreed, but Gouverneur Morris declined. I extended that into this fictional scene, wherein Hamilton invites Burr to write [The Federalist Papers]."
  • In "A Winter's Ball", the character of Aaron Burr says that ". Martha Washington named her feral tomcat after [Hamilton]", to which Alexander Hamilton replies: "That's true!" [185] In Hamilton: The Revolution, Miranda clarifies that it is false: "[It] is most likely a tale spread by John Adams later in life. But I like Hamilton owning it. At this point in the story he is at peak cockiness." Hamilton researchers Michael E. Newton and Stephen Knott say that they have failed to find any evidence for the story Newton notes that the sexual connotation of tomcat as a womanizer did not exist in the 18th century. [186][187]
  • And in Act II, there are multiple inaccuracies throughout Hamilton's decline, potentially due to time constraints and the show's narrative arc. Most prominently are the examples listed here:
    • While it is true that John Adams and Hamilton did not particularly get along, an incoming president's ability to choose his/her/their own cabinet technically makes it impossible for John Adams to fire Hamilton as told in the show. Hamilton himself tendered his resignation from his position as Secretary of the Treasury on December 1, 1794, [188] two years before Adams became president. However, Hamilton remained close friends with Washington and highly influential in the political sphere until publishing a pamphlet criticizing Adams during the election of 1800, an event referenced in "The Adams Administration". [189]
    • In regards to the creation and reception of The Reynolds Pamphlet, Jefferson, Madison and Burr did not approach Hamilton about his affair after John Adams became president it was actually James Monroe, Frederick Muhlenberg and Abraham Venable in December 1792. [190] Monroe was a close friend of Jefferson's and shared the information of Hamilton's affair with him. In summer 1797, journalist James T. Callender broke the story of Hamilton's infidelity this is why the impact of The Reynolds Pamphlet's publication is exaggerated in the show. Hamilton blamed Monroe, and the altercation nearly ended in a duel that Aaron Burr prevented [191] with nothing left to do, Hamilton then published The Reynolds Pamphlet. [192]
    • "Take a Break" revolves around Angelica joining the Hamiltons in America for the summer and preceding this with a letter about it to Alexander himself no such events took place in real life.
      • In the same song, a nine-year-old Philip Hamilton claims, "I have a sister, but I want a little brother" Philip already had two of his five younger brothers when he was age 9: Alexander Hamilton Jr. and James Alexander Hamilton. Miranda jokefully notes in Hamilton: The Revolution, "And, boy, did he get little brothers! Five of them, actually, and two sisters."

      Critical analysis and scholarship

      The show has been critiqued for a simplistic depiction of Hamilton and vilification of Jefferson. Joanne B. Freeman, a history professor at Yale, [195] contrasted the show's Hamilton to the "real Hamilton [who] was a mass of contradictions: an immigrant who sometimes distrusted immigrants, a revolutionary who placed a supreme value on law and order, a man who distrusted the rumblings of the masses yet preached his politics to them more frequently and passionately than many of his more democracy-friendly fellows". [196]

      Australian historian Shane White found the framing of the show's story "troubling", stating that he and many historian colleagues "would like to imagine that Hamilton is a last convulsion of the founding father mythology". [197] According to White, Miranda's depiction of the founding of the United States "infuses new life into an older view of American history" that centered on the Founding Fathers, instead of joining the many historians who were "attempting to get away from the Great Men story" by incorporating "ordinary people, African-Americans, Native Americans and women" into a "more inclusive and nuanced" historical narrative in which Hamilton has a "cameo rather than leading role". [197]

      Rutgers University professor Lyra Monteiro criticized the show's multi-ethnic casting as obscuring a complete lack of identifiable enslaved or free persons of color as characters in the show. [198] Monteiro identified other commentators, such as Ishmael Reed, who criticized the show for making Hamilton and other historical personages appear more progressive on racial injustice than they really were. [198] According to Reed, "[Hamilton's] reputation has been shored up as an abolitionist and someone who was opposed to slavery," which Reed stated was untrue. [199]

      In The Baffler, policy analyst Matt Stoller criticized the musical's portrayal of Hamilton as an idealist committed to democratic principles, in contrast to what he characterized as the historical record of Hamilton's reactionary, anti-democratic politics and legacy. [200] For example, Stoller cited Hamilton as a leader involved in the Newburgh conspiracy (a military coup plot against the Continental Congress in 1783) his development of a national financial system which, in Stoller's view, empowered the plutocratic elite and his use of military force, indefinite detention, and mass arrests against dissenters during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791. [200] In 2007, history writer William Hogeland criticized Chernow's biography of Hamilton on similar grounds in the Boston Review. [201]

      In 2018, Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical Is Restaging America's Past was published. Fifteen historians of early America authored essays on ways the musical both engages with and sometimes misinterprets history. [202]

      Theatre scholars Meredith Conti and Meron Langsner have both published written analyses of the place of firearms and dueling in the musical. [203] [204]

      Writer and essayist Ishmael Reed wrote and produced the 2019 play The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, which critiques Hamilton's historical inaccuracies. [205] The play, directed by Rome Neal, had an initial run in May 2019 at Nuyorican Poets Cafe and was produced again in October 2019. [206] [207]

      Use in education

      KQED News wrote of a "growing number of intrepid U.S. history teachers . who are harnessing the Hamilton phenomenon to inspire their students". [208] The Cabinet rap battles provide a way to engage students with topics that have traditionally been considered uninteresting. [208] An elective course for 11th and 12th graders on the musical Hamilton was held at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York. [208] KQED News added that "Hamilton is especially galvanizing for the student who believes that stories about 18th century America are distant and irrelevant" as it shows the Founding Fathers were real humans with real feeling and real flaws, rather than "bloodless, two-dimensional cutouts who devoted their lives to abstract principles". [208] A high school teacher from the Bronx noted his students were "singing these songs the way they might sing the latest release from Drake or Adele". [209] One teacher focused on Hamilton's ability to write his way out of trouble and toward a higher plane of existence: "skilled writing is the clearest sign of scholarship—and the best way to rise up and alter your circumstance." [210]

      Hamilton ' s producers have made a pledge to allow 20,000 New York City public high school students from low-income families to get subsidized tickets to see Hamilton on Broadway by reducing their tickets to $70 for students, and the Rockefeller Foundation provided $1.5 million to further lower ticket prices to $10 per student. [211] [212] The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History created a study guide to accompany the student-ticket program. [211] [212]

      Through a private grant, over the course of the 2017 school year, nearly 20,000 Chicago Public School students got to see a special performance of the show, and some got to perform original songs on stage prior to the show. [213]

      The website EducationWorld writes that Hamilton is "being praised for its revitalization of interest in civic education". [214] Northwestern University announced plans to offer course work in 2017 inspired by Hamilton, in history, Latino studies, and interdisciplinary studies. [215]

      In 2016, Moraine Valley Community College started a Hamilton appreciation movement, Straight Outta Hamilton, hosting panels and events that talk about the musical itself and relate them to current events. [216] [217]

      $10 bill

      In 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a redesign to the $10 bill, with plans to replace Hamilton with a then-undecided woman from American history. Because of Hamilton's surging popularity as the possible motivation of the decision, former United States Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reversed the plans to replace Hamilton's portrait, instead deciding to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. [218]

      Hamilton: The Revolution

      On April 12, 2016, Miranda and Jeremy McCarter's book, Hamilton: The Revolution, was released, detailing Hamilton ' s journey from an idea to a successful Broadway musical. It includes an inside look at not only Alexander Hamilton's revolution, but the cultural revolution that permeates the show. It also has footnotes from Miranda and stories from behind the scenes of the show. [219] The book won a Goodreads Choice Award for Nonfiction in 2016, [220] and the audiobook won Audiobook of the Year at the Audie Awards 2017 from the Audio Publishers Association. [221]

      Hamilton's America

      After premiering on the New York Film Festival on October 1, 2016, PBS's Great Performances exhibited on October 21, 2016 the documentary Hamilton's America. Directed by Alex Horwitz, it "delves even deeper into the creation of the show, revealing Miranda's process of absorbing and then adapting Hamilton's epic story into groundbreaking musical theater. Further fleshing out the story is newly shot footage of the New York production with its original cast, trips to historic locations such as Mount Vernon and Valley Forge with Miranda and other cast members, and a range of interviews with prominent personalities, experts, politicians, and musicians." [222] The film featured interviews with American historians and Hamilton authorities. [223]

      Hamilton: The Exhibition

      Hamilton: The Exhibition was an interactive museum, which focused on the history concerning the life of Alexander Hamilton and also the musical. [224] Designed to travel, it debuted in Chicago in April 2019. [225] [226] Located in a specially built structure on Northerly Island, according to theater critic Chris Jones, the exhibition marks something that "no Broadway show ever has attempted before." [227] Lead producer of the exhibition was musical producer Jeffrey Seller, the artistic designer was David Korins, and the main historical consultant was Yale University professor Joanne Freeman. Alex Lacamoire provided the orchestration for the exhibit (in part, a take-off on the Hamilton score), and Lin-Manuel Miranda, actors, and historians provided recorded presentations. [227]

      To "avoid a disruptive conflict with both the North Coast Musical Festival as well as the beginning of the regular home season of the Chicago Bears, Hamilton: The Exhibition shut down on August 25th, 2019.

      Hamilton for Puerto Rico

      After Hurricane Maria, Lin-Manuel Miranda with family roots in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico used his influence to bring attention to the plight of the Puerto Rican people and to encourage tourism to Vega Alta. In 2017, Miranda and his father, Luis Miranda Jr., inaugurated the Placita Güisín, a café and restaurant in Vega Alta barrio-pueblo. In 2019 Lin-Manuel moved his memorabilia to a new gallery, the Lin-Manuel Miranda Gallery, within the Placita Güisín and opened a merchandise store, TeeRico. The location has become a tourist attraction. [228] [229] [230]

      2016 Vice President–elect Pence controversy

      Following a performance on November 18, 2016, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in the audience, Brandon Victor Dixon addressed Pence from the stage with a statement jointly written by the cast, show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and producer Jeffrey Seller. [231] Dixon began by quieting the audience, and stated:

      Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical, we really do. We, sir,—we—are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations. [231]

      Pence listened to the expression of concern about President-elect Donald Trump's upcoming administration and later expressed that he was not offended. [232] However, Trump demanded an apology [233] for what he described on Twitter as the cast having "harassed" Pence. [234] This led to an online campaign called "#BoycottHamilton", which became widely mocked as the show was already sold out months in advance. [235] Trump was criticized by The Washington Post, who noted the division between white and non-white America in the 2016 Presidential election and suggested Trump could have offered "assurances that he would be a president for all Americans—that he would respect everybody regardless of race or gender or creed" [236] instead, as presidential historian Robert Dallek expressed, Trump's Twitter response was a "striking act of divisiveness by an incoming president struggling to heal the nation after a bitter election", [236] with the Hamilton cast a proxy for those fearful of Trump's policies and rhetoric. Jeffrey Seller, the show's lead producer, said that while Trump has not seen Hamilton or inquired about tickets, he is "welcome to attend." [237]

      Parodies

      In April 2016, Jeb! The Musical appeared on the Internet with Jeb Bush in the place of Alexander Hamilton, [238] [239] with political figures like Donald Trump and Chris Christie holding supporting roles. [240] A staged reading, given "just as much preparation as Jeb's campaign", was staged at Northwestern University in June of that year. [241] The parody was crowdsourced, with contributions coming from a range of writers from Yale University, Boston University, McGill University and the University of Michigan, who met in a Facebook group named "Post Aesthetics". [242]

      In 2016, Gerard Alessandrini, creator of Forbidden Broadway, wrote the revue Spamilton, which premiered at the Triad Theater in New York and also played at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago. It parodies Hamilton and other Broadway shows and caricatures various Broadway stars. [243] [244]

      On October 12, 2016, the American situation comedy Modern Family released the episode "Weathering Heights". The episode features a scene where Manny applies for college. To do so he records a parody of "Alexander Hamilton" as part of his application, complete with rewritten lyrics to accompany to his own life. It is revealed that most of the other applications are also Hamilton parodies. [245]

      "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a polka medley of Hamilton songs in 2018 as part of the Hamildrops program, following it up in 2020 with a video using footage from the filmed version. [246]

      Several 2016 stage performances with the original principal cast in the Richard Rodgers Theatre were filmed by RadicalMedia and offered for bidding to major movie studios. [247] [248] On February 3, 2020, it was revealed that Walt Disney Studios had purchased the distribution rights for $75 million, with an original theatrical release date on October 15, 2021. [249] [250] Miranda later announced on May 12, 2020 that in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film industry and the performing arts, which shut down the Broadway, West End, and touring productions, the film would be released early on Disney+ on July 3, 2020, in time for Fourth of July weekend. [251] [252] [253]

      On February 10, 2017, Miranda reassured that while a film would be made someday, it would not be made "for years, so that people have ample time to see the stage version first." [254] On July 6, 2020, after the release of the live film recording of the stage version on Disney+, Miranda stated, "I don’t love a lot of movie musicals based on shows, because it’s hard to stick the landing. I don’t know what a cinematic version of ‘Hamilton’ looks like. If I had, I'd have written it as a movie." [255]


      Was Alexander Hamilton Gay?

      One often gets the impression that myths like this are perpetrated to justify modern moral values. Hamilton certainly had a colorful career and death, but this accusation is based on amateur psychoanalysis and extremely circumstantial evidence. If Hamilton was gay, he certainly did a fine job of hiding it throughout his adult life.

      The myth of Hamilton’s homosexual past centers on his relationship with John Laurens of South Carolina. Both men served under George Washington during the American Revolution. Washington referred to his staff officers as his “family” during the war, and Laurens and Hamilton developed a close relationship. When the two were apart, they corresponded frequently. Their letters were written in the flowery language of the eighteenth century, and while they would raise suspicion in modern American society, they were typical in style and tone for their time. Hamilton told Laurens that he loved him, and Laurens referred to Hamilton as “My Dear.” They were both young, involved in a dire situation, and had idealistic notions about life and society. They were kindred spirits, but no hint of a sexual relationship exists.

      Hamilton in fact requested that Laurens find him a wife. He described her desired attributes in detail, particularly her looks. Within a year, Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of a wealthy American general Philip Schuyler. The two had eight children together and from all appearances had a healthy relationship, though with some indiscretion on Hamilton’s part. There were rumors that Hamilton and Elizabeth’s sister, Angelica, had an affair, but the family edited Hamilton’s letters after his death, so no conclusive evidence exists.

      Hamilton did have an affair with a married woman in 1791. Maria and James Reynolds concocted a scheme to milk Hamilton for money. Maria Reynolds planned to seduce Hamilton, and James Reynolds, her husband, would then extort “hush” money from him. The scheme worked perfectly, only Hamilton continued to pay James Reynolds for the “use” of his wife long after the initial blackmail. James Reynolds was eventually arrested for counterfeiting, and in the process implicated Hamilton. James Monroe and Aaron Burr interviewed Hamilton, but found Hamilton innocent of the charges of corruption and counterfeiting, though Hamilton was forthcoming about the affair Monroe and Burr decided to keep the affair secret, but James T. Callender caught wind of the illicit story and exposed Hamilton. Surprisingly, Hamilton publicly admitted to the affair. Thus, while Hamilton was an adulterer, his known and suspected affairs were all with women, not men.

      The Alexander Hamilton rumor, unfortunately, has been seized upon by activist groups who want to make him a champion of gay rights, for which there is not a shred of evidence. Hamilton deserves to be remembered for many things, but homosexual activism isn’t one of them.


      Contents

      The Burr–Hamilton duel is one of the most famous personal conflicts in American history. It was a pistol duel that arose from long-standing personal bitterness that developed between the two men over the course of several years. Tension rose with Hamilton's journalistic defamation of Burr's character during the 1804 New York gubernatorial race, in which Burr was a candidate.

      The duel was fought at a time when the practice was being outlawed in the northern United States, and it had immense political ramifications. Burr survived the duel and was indicted for murder in both New York and New Jersey, though these charges later were either dismissed or resulted in acquittal. The harsh criticism and animosity directed toward Burr following the duel brought an end to his political career. The Federalist Party was already weakened by the defeat of John Adams in the presidential election of 1800 and was further weakened by Hamilton's death.

      The duel was the final skirmish of a long conflict between Democratic-Republicans and Federalists. The conflict began in 1791 when Burr won a United States Senate seat from Philip Schuyler, Hamilton's father-in-law, who would have supported Federalist policies. (Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury at the time.) The Electoral College then deadlocked in the election of 1800, during which Hamilton's maneuvering in the House of Representatives caused Thomas Jefferson to be named president and Burr vice president. [2] At the time, the most votes resulted in an election win, while second place received the Vice Presidency. There were only proto-political parties at the time, as disdainfully noted in President Washington's Farewell Address, and no shared tickets.

      Hamilton's animosity toward Burr was severe and well-documented in personal letters to his friend and compatriot James McHenry. The following quotation from one of these letters on January 4, 1801, exemplifies his bitterness:

      Nothing has given me so much chagrin as the Intelligence that the Federal party were thinking seriously of supporting Mr. Burr for president. I should consider the execution of the plan as devoting the country and signing their own death warrant. Mr. Burr will probably make stipulations, but he will laugh in his sleeve while he makes them and will break them the first moment it may serve his purpose. [3]

      Hamilton details the many charges that he has against Burr in a more extensive letter written shortly afterward, calling him a "profligate, a voluptuary in the extreme", accusing him of corruptly serving the interests of the Holland Land Company while a member of the legislature, criticizing his military commission and accusing him of resigning it under false pretenses, and many more serious accusations. [3]

      It became clear that Jefferson would drop Burr from his ticket in the 1804 election, so the Vice President ran for the governorship of New York instead. [ citation needed ] Hamilton campaigned vigorously against Burr, who was running as an independent, causing him to lose to Morgan Lewis, a Democratic-Republican endorsed by Hamilton. [ citation needed ]

      Both men had been involved in duels in the past. Hamilton had been the second in several duels, although never the duelist himself, but he was involved in more than a dozen affairs of honor [4] prior to his fatal encounter with Burr, including disputes with William Gordon (1779), Aedanus Burke (1790), John Francis Mercer (1792–1793), James Nicholson (1795), James Monroe (1797), and Ebenezer Purdy and George Clinton (1804). He also served as a second to John Laurens in a 1779 duel with General Charles Lee, and to legal client John Auldjo in a 1787 duel with William Pierce. [5] Hamilton also claimed that he had one previous honor dispute with Burr, [6] while Burr stated that there were two. [7] [8]

      Election of 1800 Edit

      Burr and Hamilton first came into public opposition during the United States presidential election of 1800. Burr ran for president on the Democratic-Republican ticket, along with Thomas Jefferson, against President John Adams (the Federalist incumbent) and his vice presidential running mate Charles C. Pinckney. Electoral College rules at the time gave each elector two votes for president. The candidate who received the second most votes became vice president.

      The Democratic-Republican Party planned to have 72 of their 73 electors vote for both Jefferson and Burr, with the remaining elector voting only for Jefferson. The electors failed to execute this plan, so Burr and Jefferson were tied with 73 votes each. The Constitution stipulated that if two candidates with an Electoral College majority were tied, the election would be moved to the House of Representatives—which was controlled by the Federalists, at this point, many of whom were loath to vote for Jefferson. Although Hamilton had a long-standing rivalry with Jefferson stemming from their tenure as members of George Washington's cabinet, he regarded Burr as far more dangerous and used all his influence to ensure Jefferson's election. On the 36th ballot, the House of Representatives gave Jefferson the presidency, with Burr becoming vice president.

      Charles Cooper's letter Edit

      On April 24, 1804, the Albany Register published a letter opposing Burr's gubernatorial candidacy [9] which was originally sent from Charles D. Cooper to Hamilton's father-in-law, former Senator Philip Schuyler. [10] It made reference to a previous statement by Cooper: "General Hamilton and Judge Kent have declared in substance that they looked upon Mr. Burr to be a dangerous man, and one who ought not be trusted with the reins of government." Cooper went on to emphasize that he could describe in detail "a still more despicable opinion which General Hamilton has expressed of Mr. Burr" at a political dinner. [11]

      Burr responded in a letter delivered by William P. Van Ness which pointed particularly to the phrase "more despicable" and demanded "a prompt and unqualified acknowledgment or denial of the use of any expression which would warrant the assertion of Dr. Cooper." Hamilton's verbose reply on June 20, 1804, indicated that he could not be held responsible for Cooper's interpretation of his words (yet he did not fault that interpretation), concluding that he would "abide the consequences" should Burr remain unsatisfied. [12] A recurring theme in their correspondence is that Burr seeks avowal or disavowal of anything that could justify Cooper's characterization, while Hamilton protests that there are no specifics.

      Burr replied on June 21, 1804, also delivered by Van Ness, stating that "political opposition can never absolve gentlemen from the necessity of a rigid adherence to the laws of honor and the rules of decorum". [13] Hamilton replied that he had "no other answer to give than that which has already been given". This letter was delivered to Nathaniel Pendleton on June 22 but did not reach Burr until June 25. [14] The delay was due to negotiation between Pendleton and Van Ness in which Pendleton submitted the following paper:

      General Hamilton says he cannot imagine what Dr. Cooper may have alluded, unless it were to a conversation at Mr. Taylor's, in Albany, last winter (at which he and General Hamilton were present). General Hamilton cannot recollect distinctly the particulars of that conversation, so as to undertake to repeat them, without running the risk of varying or omitting what might be deemed important circumstances. The expressions are entirely forgotten, and the specific ideas imperfectly remembered but to the best of his recollection it consisted of comments on the political principles and views of Colonel Burr, and the results that might be expected from them in the event of his election as Governor, without reference to any particular instance of past conduct or private character. [15]

      Eventually, Burr issued a formal challenge and Hamilton accepted. [16] Many historians have considered the causes of the duel to be flimsy and have thus characterized Hamilton as "suicidal", Burr as "malicious and murderous", or both. [17] Thomas Fleming offers the theory that Burr may have been attempting to recover his honor by challenging Hamilton, whom he considered to be the only gentleman among his detractors, in response to the slanderous attacks against his character published during the 1804 gubernatorial campaign. [18]

      Hamilton's reasons for not engaging in a duel included his roles as father and husband, putting his creditors at risk, and placing his family's welfare in jeopardy, but he felt that it would be impossible to avoid a duel because he had made attacks on Burr which he was unable to recant, and because of Burr's behavior prior to the duel. He attempted to reconcile his moral and religious reasons and the codes of honor and politics. Joanne Freeman speculates that Hamilton intended to accept the duel and throw away his shot in order to satisfy his moral and political codes. [19]

      In the early morning of July 11, 1804, Burr and Hamilton departed from Manhattan by separate boats and rowed across the Hudson River to a spot known as the Heights of Weehawken, New Jersey, a popular dueling ground below the towering cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades. [20] Dueling had been prohibited in both New York and New Jersey, but Hamilton and Burr agreed to go to Weehawken because New Jersey was not as aggressive as New York in prosecuting dueling participants. The same site was used for 18 known duels between 1700 and 1845, including the 1801 duel that killed Hamilton's eldest son Philip Hamilton. [21] They also took steps to give all witnesses plausible deniability in an attempt to shield themselves from prosecution. For example, the pistols were transported to the island in a portmanteau, enabling the rowers to say under oath that they had not seen any pistols. They also stood with their backs to the duelists. [22]

      Burr, William Peter Van Ness (his second), Matthew L. Davis, another man (often identified as John Swarthout), and the rowers all reached the site at 6:30 a.m., whereupon Swarthout and Van Ness started to clear the underbrush from the dueling ground. Hamilton, Judge Nathaniel Pendleton (his second), and Dr. David Hosack arrived a few minutes before seven. Lots were cast for the choice of position and which second should start the duel. Both were won by Hamilton's second, who chose the upper edge of the ledge for Hamilton, facing the city. [23] However, Joseph Ellis claims that Hamilton had been challenged and therefore had the choice of both weapon and position. Under this account, Hamilton himself chose the upstream or north side position. [24]

      Some first-hand accounts of the duel agree that two shots were fired, but some say only Burr fired, and the seconds disagreed on the intervening time between them. It was common for both principals in a duel to fire a shot at the ground to exemplify courage, and then the duel could come to an end. Hamilton apparently fired a shot above Burr's head. Burr returned fire and hit Hamilton in the lower abdomen above the right hip. [25] The large-caliber lead ball ricocheted off Hamilton's third or second false rib, fracturing it and causing considerable damage to his internal organs, particularly his liver and diaphragm, before lodging in his first or second lumbar vertebra. According to Pendleton's account, Hamilton collapsed almost immediately, dropping the pistol involuntarily, and Burr moved toward him in a speechless manner (which Pendleton deemed to be indicative of regret) before being hustled away behind an umbrella by Van Ness because Hosack and the rowers were already approaching. [25]

      It is entirely uncertain which principal fired first, as both seconds' backs were to the duel in accordance with the pre-arranged regulations so that they could testify that they "saw no fire". After much research to determine the actual events of the duel, historian Joseph Ellis gives his best guess:

      Hamilton did fire his weapon intentionally, and he fired first. But he aimed to miss Burr, sending his ball into the tree above and behind Burr's location. In so doing, he did not withhold his shot, but he did waste it, thereby honoring his pre-duel pledge. Meanwhile, Burr, who did not know about the pledge, did know that a projectile from Hamilton's gun had whizzed past him and crashed into the tree to his rear. According to the principles of the code duello, Burr was perfectly justified in taking deadly aim at Hamilton and firing to kill.

      David Hosack's account Edit

      Hosack wrote his account on August 17, about one month after the duel had taken place. He testified that he had only seen Hamilton and the two seconds disappear "into the wood", heard two shots, and rushed to find a wounded Hamilton. He also testified that he had not seen Burr, who had been hidden behind an umbrella by Van Ness. [26] He gives a very clear picture of the events in a letter to William Coleman:

      When called to him upon his receiving the fatal wound, I found him half sitting on the ground, supported in the arms of Mr. Pendleton. His countenance of death I shall never forget. He had at that instant just strength to say, "This is a mortal wound, doctor" when he sunk away, and became to all appearance lifeless. I immediately stripped up his clothes, and soon, alas I ascertained that the direction of the ball must have been through some vital part. His pulses were not to be felt, his respiration was entirely suspended, and, upon laying my hand on his heart and perceiving no motion there, I considered him as irrecoverably gone. I, however, observed to Mr. Pendleton, that the only chance for his reviving was immediately to get him upon the water. We therefore lifted him up, and carried him out of the wood to the margin of the bank, where the bargemen aided us in conveying him into the boat, which immediately put off. During all this time I could not discover the least symptom of returning life. I now rubbed his face, lips, and temples with spirits of hartshorn, applied it to his neck and breast, and to the wrists and palms of his hands, and endeavoured to pour some into his mouth. [27]

      Hosack goes on to say that Hamilton had revived after a few minutes, either from the hartshorn or fresh air. He finishes his letter:

      Soon after recovering his sight, he happened to cast his eye upon the case of pistols, and observing the one that he had had in his hand lying on the outside, he said, "Take care of that pistol it is undischarged, and still cocked it may go off and do harm. Pendleton knows" (attempting to turn his head towards him) "that I did not intend to fire at him." "Yes," said Mr. Pendleton, understanding his wish, "I have already made Dr. Hosack acquainted with your determination as to that." He then closed his eyes and remained calm, without any disposition to speak nor did he say much afterward, except in reply to my questions. He asked me once or twice how I found his pulse and he informed me that his lower extremities had lost all feeling, manifesting to me that he entertained no hopes that he should long survive. [27]

      Statement to the press Edit

      Pendleton and Van Ness issued a press statement about the events of the duel which pointed out the agreed-upon dueling rules and events that transpired. It stated that both participants were free to open fire once they had been given the order to present. After first fire had been given, the opponent's second would count to three, whereupon the opponent would fire or sacrifice his shot. [28] Pendleton and Van Ness disagree as to who fired the first shot, but they concur that both men had fired "within a few seconds of each other" (as they must have neither Pendleton nor Van Ness mentions counting down). [28]

      In Pendleton's amended version of the statement, he and a friend went to the site of the duel the day after Hamilton's death to discover where Hamilton's shot went. The statement reads:

      They ascertained that the ball passed through the limb of a cedar tree, at an elevation of about twelve feet and a half, perpendicularly from the ground, between thirteen and fourteen feet from the mark on which General Hamilton stood, and about four feet wide of the direct line between him and Col. Burr, on the right side he having fallen on the left. [29]

      Hamilton's intentions Edit

      Hamilton wrote a letter before the duel titled Statement on Impending Duel with Aaron Burr [30] in which he stated that he was "strongly opposed to the practice of dueling" for both religious and practical reasons. "I have resolved," it continued, "if our interview is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire." [31] [32]

      Hamilton regained consciousness after being shot and told Dr. Hosack that his gun was still loaded and that "Pendleton knows I did not mean to fire at him." This is evidence for the theory that Hamilton intended not to fire, honoring his pre-duel pledge, and only fired accidentally upon being hit. [29] Such an intention would have violated the protocol of the code duello and, when Burr learned of it, he responded: "Contemptible, if true." [33] Hamilton could have thrown away his shot by firing into the ground, thus possibly signaling Burr of his purpose.

      Modern historians have debated to what extent Hamilton's statements and letter represent his true beliefs, and how much of this was a deliberate attempt to permanently ruin Burr if Hamilton were killed. An example of this may be seen in what one historian has considered to be deliberate attempts to provoke Burr on the dueling ground:

      Hamilton performed a series of deliberately provocative actions to ensure a lethal outcome. As they were taking their places, he asked that the proceedings stop, adjusted his spectacles, and slowly, repeatedly, sighted along his pistol to test his aim. [34]

      Burr's intentions Edit

      There is evidence that Burr intended to kill Hamilton. [35] The afternoon after the duel, he was quoted as saying that he would have shot Hamilton in the heart had his vision not been impaired by the morning mist. [36] English philosopher Jeremy Bentham met with Burr in England in 1808, four years after the duel, and Burr claimed to have been certain of his ability to kill Hamilton. Bentham concluded that Burr was "little better than a murderer." [37]

      There is also evidence in Burr's defense. Had Hamilton apologized for his "more despicable opinion of Mr. Burr", [38] all would have been forgotten. However, neither principal could avoid the confrontation honorably, and thus each was forced into the duel for the sake of personal honor. [39] Burr also was unsure of Hamilton's intentions, and he could not be sure if Hamilton had thrown away his shot or simply missed his target when he fired into the brush above Burr's head. According to the principles of the code duello, Burr was entirely justified in taking aim at Hamilton under the hypothesis that Hamilton had shot first. [ citation needed ]

      Burr knew of Hamilton's public opposition to his presidential run in 1800. Hamilton made confidential statements against him, such as those enumerated in his letter to Supreme Court Justice Rutledge. In the attachment to that letter, Hamilton argued against Burr's character on numerous scores: he suspected Burr "on strong grounds of having corruptly served the views of the Holland Company" "his very friends do not insist on his integrity" "he will court and employ able and daring scoundrels" he seeks "Supreme power in his own person" and "will in all likelihood attempt a usurpation," and so forth. [40]


      Accomplishments of Alexander Hamilton

      Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America. From his simple and modest upbringing to being the founding father of the U.S., this Historyplex article throws light on his great accomplishments.

      Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America. From his simple and modest upbringing to being the founding father of the U.S., this Historyplex article throws light on his great accomplishments.

      Alexander Hamilton was born on January 11, in the year 1755 or 1757 (birth year according to documents), in Charlestown, the capital of the island of Nevis, which was a part of the islands of the British West Indies. However, his exact birth year is unknown, as he was the illegitimate son of Rachel Lavien and James Hamilton.

      Most of us know Alexander Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America however, he was not just the Secretary for the Treasury Department, but also a soldier in General Washington’s Army, an economist, a philosopher, founding father of the economy of the U.S., and one of the chief architects who shaped the great nation of the United States of America. He was also the founder of the nation’s first political party, the Federalists. Below are some of his achievements that are worth noting.

      Hamilton entered King’s College (now Columbia University), in New York, in 1773. His first highly acclaimed and influential writing appeared as a criticism against pamphlets by Samuel Seabury of the Church of England. The pamphlets were written to promote the Loyalist cause in 1774. Hamilton’s powerful reply was titled as ‘A full Vindication of the Measures of Congress‘ and ‘The Farmer Refuted‘. Another set of writings that were published, criticized the Quebec Act. A set of fourteen writings titled ‘The Monitor‘ were published anonymously in the Holt’s New York Journal.

      In the August of 1775, the company, Heart of Oaks, attacked and captured a battery of British artillery. During this raid on the British battery, the company was under heavy fire of HMS Asia of the British Navy.

      After this victory, Hamilton was commissioned to the post of Captain by the New York Provincial Congress. On the orders issued by the Provincial Congress, he along with the Hearts of Oaks company formed the New York Provincial Company of Artillery, which was given the task of protecting the island of Manhattan. The new artillery company that was made up of 60 men participated in the famous Campaign of 1776. The most active participation by the company was seen in the Battle of White Plains and the Battle of Trenton. The task of the company during this campaign was to keep the Hessians (German troops under British pay) at bay in the Trenton barracks.

      Hamilton, due to his knowledge and skills in handling situations and overall skills as statesman and military leader, was quickly promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. On March 1, 1777, Hamilton joined General George Washington’s services as an aide-de-camp. Hamilton’s work as the Chief of Staff for Washington involved handling of all the documents that were transacted between Washington and Congress, state governors, and all the other Generals. At times, the documents were highly confidential in nature and needed to be drafted with great care. Hamilton was also involved in some high level tasks like acting as an emissary for Washington, intelligence, diplomacy, and negotiations.

      After his term of duty in Washington’s staff, he was given the command of the New York Light Infantry on July 31, 1781. The three battalions that were under his command, fought one of the bravest and bloodiest battle in the history of the United States, at Yorktown. The result of the Battle of Yorktown was that the attempts that the British made to regain the 13 colonies of America, finally ended.

      He was also the only representative from New York to sign the Constitution of the United States of America.

      Two reports regarding public credit were presented in the House of Representatives. Another important reform that was integrated in the economy by Hamilton was a set of acts laying the regulations for the manufacturing industry and international trade and duties. He also initiated and supervised the establishment of the United States Mint. He stepped down from his position as the Secretary of the Treasury in 1795, securing the US economy and strengthening the federal government.

      He was appointed as the Major General during the Quasi War from 1798 to 1800. He was the founder of the newspaper, New York Evening Post, which was founded in 1801.

      Today, Alexander Hamilton is remembered as one of the greatest philosophers of the United States who laid the foundation for the nation’s economy. His tombstone reads,

      “The PATRIOT of incorruptible INTEGRITY
      The SOLDIER of approved VALOR
      The STATESMAN of consummate WISDOM
      Whose TALENTS and VIRTUES will be admired
      Long after this MARBLE shall have mouldered into
      DUST.”


      Watch the video: Hamilton cast performs Alexander Hamilton at White House (July 2022).


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