His name is Alexander Hamilton
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Who is the face of the ten-dollar bill? Who was placed in charge of a trading charter at the age of 14? Who was also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention? A major author of the federalist papers? The United States’ first secretary of treasury? Who became an orphan early in his life? Whose legacy resurfaced through a recent Broadway musical?
His name is Alexander Hamilton.
The story of Hamilton has touched the hearts of society, especially young people. Thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the musical “Hamilton,” Alexander’s legacy will be protected for years to come.
It may seem strange that the same kids who complain about going to school every day, voluntarily listen to the songs in the musical, about a historical figure, on repeat.
“I think it’s the type of music and dance that you normally don’t see in musicals that speaks to the taste of our young people,” Gina Chiolan, Neshaminy’s drama teacher, explained.
The hip-hop songs have definitely made the musical stick out from any other. Oskar Eutis, the artistic director of the Public Theater, even went to the extent of comparing Miranda to Shakespeare in a recent interview for the Hamilton documentary. Eutis said that both used the language of the common people to get their point across.
Before the musical became popular, there had been discussion about removing Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill. Thanks to the popularity of the musical, Hamilton seems to be off the chopping block.
“Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced 10 months ago that he would choose a woman for a new $10 bill in development. But then the fame of a striving immigrant from the West Indies named Alexander Hamilton achieved unlikely heights in the lights on Broadway more than 200 years after his untimely death… Now Mr. Lew is leaning toward keeping Hamilton at the center of the $10 note and placing a vignette of female historical figures on the flip side,” according to a recent New York Times article.
Although Hamilton is viewed as a hero by many, the musical “Hamilton” also illustrates the imperfect human-side of the founding fathers. It tells how Hamilton was a “loud-mouth” and how he had cheated on his wife.
It shows the historical figures in ways that many have never seen them. It recounts their heroic acts and yet they were still seen as human. Miranda has noted multiple times that one of the many things he tried to achieve was to recognize our founding fathers as people.
The musical has also educated its fans on many historical events. Many people had a general understanding of Hamilton but weren’t aware of the smaller details. Some have said that the minor details about Hamilton are actually the most fascinating part of history.
“Yes [I knew about Hamilton before the musical], because of my AP U.S. history class, but I didn’t know all the tidbits and fun facts. I’m not a big fan of history, but I instantly loved Hamilton,” William Kraft, Neshaminy drama student, said.
If it were not for the musical, Hamilton’s legacy may have been forgotten by the American people. It has inspired people, young and old, to pursue their dreams the same way Hamilton did. He was a poor orphan who rose to the top through hard work and determination.
“I think we’ve all had moments where we’ve seen friends and colleagues zoom past us, either to success, or to marriage, or to home ownership, while we lingered where we were- broke, single, jobless. And you tell yourself, ‘Wait for it,’ Miranda expressed when asked about the song “Wait For It.”