Being a theatre kid in high school, I couldn't help but fall in love with 'Hamilton' when it first came out in 2015. Even today, I remember the lyrics to all 46 songs and often play the soundtrack in my car on full blast (having a best friend also obsessed with the musical definitely enables me). So of course, when I first heard that performance of 'Hamilton' would be made into a movie that I could stream at home—with the original Broadway cast, no less— I couldn't contain my excitement. However, there are many tidbits of information that weren't included in the musical, and that you can Impress your friends with come July 3rd.
(Because Pride doesn’t end in June!) There are hundreds of letters between Hamilton and John Laurens that lead people to believe that there may have been deeper feelings between the two of them than just friendship.
Alexander and Angelica’s relationship wasn’t as saucy as it seems.
‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has said that he amped up the sparks between the two characters. In real life, their relationship was mostly playful flirtation in letters.
In fact, Angelica wasn’t romantically available when she first met Hamilton.
Not only was Angelica married, she also had two children when Alexander came onto her family’s scene.
Pretty much all of the founding fathers owned slaves in real life.
A main critique of the musical is that it seems to gloss over the fact that so many of its characters owned slaves in real life. Some cast members have said that they faced internal conflict in coming to terms with knowing the people they portrayed owned people who looked like them.
The Schuyler family also owned several slaves.
In 2005, the remains of 14 slaves owned by Philip Schuyler, Alexander’s father-in-law, were recovered on land that used to be owned by Schuyler. It is said that the total number of slaves owned by Schuyler was at least 30.
Hamilton had a complicated relationship with slavery.
Although he publicly spoke against slavery, and was against it as a whole, he often put those views aside for issues he found more important, including his own personal ambition.
Ever wondered where Peggy (of “and Peggy!” fame) went in Act Two?
SPOILER ALERT: Sadly, Peggy died on March 14, 1801, when she was only 42 years old. Lin-Manuel Miranda decided to write her character out of the second act because there wasn’t enough time to address her death in the show.
Hamilton wasn’t as pro-immigration as he seems in the show.
Even though Hamilton himself was an immigrant (and, in the show, famously says, “Immigrants: we get the job done”), he said in real life that foreigners will still be attached to the places they left behind, and can’t be truly in support of America.
Marquis de Lafayette is an honorary U.S. citizen.
Lafayette was granted this merit in 2002, and is one of only eight people to ever receive it.
The iconic Schuyler Sister trio sadly also had male siblings.
The 8 surviving children of Philip and Catharine Schuyler included our beloved Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy, as well as three sons (John, Philip, and Rensselaer), and two other girls (Cornelia and Catharine).
Burr did a lot of really shady stuff.
As hinted at in ‘Hamilton’, Burr was known for changing his political views in order to advance personally. After killing Hamilton in a duel, and later being kicked off of Thomas Jefferson’s reelection team as running mate, Burr was seen as an exile. Not long after, Burr was caught by the U.S. military after being discovered to be plotting a traitorous conspiracy.
Hamilton got some posthumous revenge on Aaron Burr.
Alexander Hamilton, Jr.—Alexander and Eliza’s second son—was an attorney. In 1834, Burr’s second wife chose him as her divorce lawyer in her separation from Burr. The divorce was finalized in 1836, and Aaron Burr died on that very same day.
It's important to remember that in any piece of art inspired by historical events, there are going to be liberties taken. Even if certain historical aspects are left out of 'Hamilton', it is still a wonderfully-written show. As you watch the movie on Friday (or several times this weekend, as I likely will), keep in mind that, for as entertaining as it is, American history is complex and imperfect, and there will always be more to educate yourself on.