There is an old African Proverb: "Until the story of the hunt is told by the lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."
So it is with history.
So it is with "Hamilton."
Now, don't get me wrong, I am one of the biggest fans of "Hamilton." I accredit the musical with sparking my interest in history (now my major), and I have seen it twice live. It deserves all the accolades it has received. It's a good musical, but not a good tool for education.
The fact that it's not completely accurate aside (it's a musical first), "Hamilton" is biased because its source material was biased.
Like most biographies, historical narratives, and even textbooks, all history has biases.
Ron Chernow's biography, named Hamilton, plays on the phenomena named "Founders Fever": in this time of political unsureness, the public craved romanticized, elegant stories about the founding fathers. They want their anxieties eased with the reassurance that since the Founding Fathers were men that led America through the rockiest path in American history, then American will make it through this troubled time too. Yet, because the Founding Fathers did great things does not mean that there were great men, nor should they be idolized.
Jefferson and Washington owned slaves (lots of them). There's a lot to unpack in that one sentence, but thanks to "Hamilton: An American Musical," most know about the Sally Hemmings debacle.
Hamilton himself was a master of deception, a believer in big money and corporate domination, and believed that the government should focus on its military force; he was the one who encouraged Washington to march with an exorbitant number of soldiers to stop the Whiskey Rebellion.
There was one thing he was hesitant about: Democracy. He believed that power to stay in the aristocracy and that the "common people" were not to be trusted when it came to politics. He even wrote to Arron Burr that democracy was the country's "real Disease."
But, this is not the Alexander Hamilton many have come to know and love, thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda. He is portrayed as an immigrant that was able to rise above the ranks and become a powerful man in American politics. That isn't true. Hamilton lived in the Caribbean, and although he grew up in a tropical environment instead that of a city, he wasn't an immigrant. Both the Caribbean islands and the thirteen colonies were under British jurisdiction, so instead of immigrating to America, Hamilton's journey was more like changing states. He also was never in extreme poverty, and although both his mother and father died, it was recorded that he had a black servant named Ajax, signaling his wealth.
Not very revolutionary, is it?
Yet, to gain public appreciation, that is how the biography and the musical portray Alexander Hamilton. He was not an avid abolitionist; instead, he married into a family that built their wealth on the labor of enslaved peoples. He was not an immigrant. He wasn't poor. He did incredible amounts of work, but not to change his position in society. That he didn't have to work for.
However, that Hamilton is not the "Hamilton" that the American public needed in 2016, or the one it needs right now. They need someone who represents their views and their beliefs. They need someone that reflects them. And yet, while the Hamilton presented in the musical is not accurate, even though slaves are forgotten and overlooked and policy ignored, people still believe in that version of him.
History is always something that is fluid. There is no "real" or "right" narrative to history. There is inaccurate, sure, but there are two or more sides to every story. The "real" story is not European or white-dominated. The real story is every narrative that one can find, combined into one. Historians (and everyone else) need to make more of an effort to tell the story of all, to dig for the narrative of the unheard. To let the lions tell the story of the hunt, instead of the hunter.