The Truth Behind 'Hamilton's' Popularity
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Politics and Activism

The Truth Behind 'Hamilton's' Popularity

Welcome to 2016, where history is cool again.

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The Truth Behind 'Hamilton's' Popularity

Welcome to 2016, a time where, thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alexander Hamilton, history is cool again.

There are a number of reasons why "Hamilton," the 11-time Tony Award-winning smash hit musical, has forced itself into the public eye so strongly. It's a true underdog story, filled with humor, tragedy, romance, feminism and, most importantly, a rapping, rhyming George Washington. But a dark truth behind the musical's popularity lies in the fact that the absurdity in the 1804 political environment is recognizable in this year's election cycle.

A true joy of sitting in Richard Rodgers Theatre is laughing at the utter ridiculousness of the world in which Alexander Hamilton and his foe, Aaron Burr, lived. A. Ham, American's first Secretary of the Treasury, was killed by A. Burr, the vice president of the United States and a candidate for the governor of New York. These two men, both edging on 50 years old, decided that the best way to settle a political rivalry was through a shooting match.

In retrospect, that's hilarious.

The duel between Hamilton and Burr was triggered by an alleged insult thrown at Burr by Hamilton. Hamilton wrote a seething opinion piece on Burr's character during his campaign for governor. The article led to a series of epistolary correspondencesbetween the two politicians. Hamilton refused to apologize for writing what he thought was the truth, so one thing led to another and before you know it they're on a shooting ground in Weehawken, N.J., pistols in hand, a doctor on site.

The insults fired on the daily between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make me think that, if gun control wasn't such a hot button issue today, a duel might be in the horizon. As they say in "Hamilton," "Everything is legal in New Jersey," and with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's devout loyalty to Trump, he could probably pull a string or two to clear some space in Weehawken.

Christie, of course, would "turn around so he could have deniability," and later blame the whole thing on some innocent low-level member of his staff.

In times of political distress, politicians have different ideas about how to deal with problems. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans were still figuring out the best way to run their newly born country. Today, Democrats and Republicans are dealing with terrorism, both at home and abroad, and need to navigate increasing polarity in Washington DC.

For better or for worse, we probably don't need to fear a literal and intentional shootout between our political candidates today, but modern politicians also need to reach a little further in order to make compromises. In "Hamilton," Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson came to an agreement about the right economic system for American by allowing Hamilton to have his way with the money as long as Jefferson's home state of Virginia was allowed to be the home of the nation's capital. We're having enough issues trying to compromise within parties, so achieving major change between them seems like an impossibility.

So here is where we're at: We as a society either could look at "Hamilton" and say, "At least our politicians aren't doing that," or, "If American survived that, we could survive anything."

"Hamilton" reminds us that one day, our children are going to tell our story. And when they do, they're probably going to laugh and say, "If they survived this, we could survive anything."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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