5 places where Hamilton got it wrong
Politics and Activism

5 places where Hamilton got it wrong

Good musical, not such a great historical guide


The hit musical Hamilton is a historical recounting of the events surrounding the first Secretary of the Treasury, but just because it's a hit doesn't mean it's not without error. The musical does mislead and in certain area change events to further the narrative of the musical, either way it's good musical, but it's always nice to have the facts.

"Hear ye, hear ye"

In the song "Farmer Refuted," Samuel Seabury is shown to address a crowd about the proceedings of the continental congress in 1776. In reality, his four pamphlets in support of the crown were published between 1774-1775, and while this may not seem drastic, it is important to know that he was arrested in 1775 for his works for 6 weeks until he escaped Long Island. He then took refuge in New York City, where he remained until 1778, meaning Hamilton's dispute with him happened before the events of "Aaron Burr, Sir."

"Mr. Vice President, Mr. Madison, Senator Burr"

In the musical, Jefferson, Madison and Burr confronted Hamilton and tried to intimidate him regarding his payments to James Reynolds, believing it was extortion, Hamilton proceeded to tell them of his affair with Maria Reynolds, and the subsequent blackmail that occurred. In reality, it was James Monroe and Frederick Muhlenberg that discovered the affair and confronted him. Ironically, Hamilton and the later 5th president of the United States, James Monroe, nearly dueled over the matter, but it was Aaron Burr who negotiated the peace between the two men.

"My father has no sons so I have to be the one to social climb"

In the song "Satisfied," Angelica Schuyler talks about how, because of her father's lack of sons, she cannot be with Alexander Hamilton because she needs to be the one to secure power for her family. In reality, Phillip Schulyer had two sons, both older, one of which was Philip Jeremiah Schuyler, who was an active member of the Federalist party and a Congressmen.

"Adams fired Hamilton"

In the song "The Adams Administration," the musical claims that Adams fired Hamilton. In reality, Hamilton stepped down in 1795, 2 years before Adams was president. Adams then, at the request of Washington, made him the Senior Officer of the Army. Then, during a tense time in American-French relations, Adam's discovered that multiple of his Cabinet members were taking orders from Hamilton, as he was the military leader. He then fired those he felt were untrustworthy, including his Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering.

"Laurens, I like you a lot"

In the song "Aaron Burr, Sir," we are introduced to the character John Laurens, who befriends Hamilton and advocates the abolishment of slavery in the new nation. What the musical doesn't detail is that it is wildly believed that the two men were engaged in a sexual relationship. Based on letters sent between them (like these) and letters send by Laurens father during his childhood regarding his son's apathy for the opposite gender, many historians are left to wonder about the nature of their relationship.

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