'Hamilton': Through The Eyes Of Minor Characters

'Hamilton': Through The Eyes Of Minor Characters

Putting all of the characters back in the narrative.

Who tells your story makes a hell of a difference. And although "Hamilton" is written in such a way that you’re able to see the beautiful strengths and flaws of each character, it lends itself to a more favorable perception of our protagonist, A.Ham. It’s easy to overlook the background characters, and to forget that not everyone is looking at the same biography through the lens that we get to see it through. So just as Gregory Maguire took a classic story and changed the way we looked at Dorothy Gale, Glinda and Elphaba, here are four characters from "Hamilton" who may not see our ten dollar founding father quite like we do.

1. Philip Schuyler

Also known as 'Dad' to the Schuyler sisters, Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law Philip Schuyler was a general in the Revolution and a New York Senator following the war. He’s introduced to us in The Schuyler Sisters, and makes an appearance in Helpless when he gives Alexander his blessing. What’s remarkable about Philip Schuyler in particular is that in an age where wealth and family legacy had huge influence on your social standing, he saw the great potential in Alexander Hamilton, who despite “not having a dollar to [his] name, an acre of land, a troop to command or a dollop of fame”, was granted the permission to marry one of the most attractive and high-class women in New York City. Philip may have regretted this later on in his life, when Aaron Burr switched parties to run against him (and won), armed only with the public’s distaste for Hamilton and subsequently his father-in-law.

2. John Barker Church

“He is not a lot of fun” isn’t exactly the way you would want your wife to describe you, but John stuck with Angelica Schuyler until her death in 1814, only four years before his own. He seems to have gotten along quite well with his brother-in-law who harbored an affection for his wife, and it was actually John’s pistols that were used in the duels in which Philip Hamilton and Alexander Hamilton were killed. A good-hearted man who probably heard glowing reviews of Alexander from his wife (until the Reynolds Pamphlet came out, of course), John Barker Church would have provided the Hamiltons with comfort and a helping hand during their times of duress and mourning.

3. Marquis de Lafayette

One of Hamilton’s closest friends during the Revolution, Lafayette goes back to France in Act Two, leaving us to wonder how he fended for himself while trying to bring freedom to his people. Thomas Jefferson even uses Lafayette when debating Hamilton, saying ‘Did you forget Lafayette? Have you an ounce of regret? You accumulate debt, you accumulate power, yet in their hour of need you forget.’ It’s doubtful that Lin-Manuel Miranda organized the play to cast the same man for Lafayette and Jefferson by accident; the roles that they play in Hamilton’s life create a stark contrast, with one bringing constant support and friendship while the other brings nothing but political turmoil and defamation. But while Thomas Jefferson the Francophile was busy moving the nation’s capital and invoking the Twelfth Amendment, Lafayette was indeed waiting in France, hoping for American intervention during the French Revolution. Though Hamilton was the one who proposed neutrality, Lafayette struck up a friendship with Angelica Schuyler, which indicates that he still valued his past ties to Hamilton and understood the rationale behind avoiding interference.

4. Dr. David Hosack

Although not mentioned explicitly by name in the Hamilton soundtrack, David Hosack was the man who turned around (so he could have deniability) in two duels; both the Hamiltons at Weehawken. Present when Philip Hamilton was fatally shot by George Eacker (using John Barker Church’s pistol), he saw the grief and regret in Alexander Hamilton following the loss of his eldest son. The doctor was also present during and after the Burr-Hamilton duel, and stood alongside Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and her remaining children when they mourned the death of her husband. Surrounded by Alexander’s friends and family, Hosack could not help but experience the same realizations of loss and anguish. Though the public’s perception of Alexander Hamilton had fluctuated throughout his political career, at the time of his untimely death no one could understand his emotional trials and tribulations quite like Dr. Hosack could.

"Hamilton" seeks to pay homage to one of the least acknowledged founding fathers, and in doing so introduces characters who enhance the way we see Alexander. It’s very easy to forget that these characters mentioned in passing were all very real people with very real lives and backgrounds and emotions; looking at Hamilton’s life through their lenses simultaneously adds a sense of reality and surrealism, and helps us to better understand the deep dynamics that were at play throughout the course of his life.

Cover Image Credit: zam

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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