Alexander Hamilton, Part 2

As I work my way through the biography of Alexander Hamilton (hopefully in advance of seeing Hamilton: An American Musical when it makes its stop in Salt Lake), I’ll be writing some thoughts about the book, or just thoughts about Hamilton in general. They won’t always be a direct critique of the book, but we’ll see what happens.

Alexander Hamilton wrote a lot. Three-quarters of the Federalist Papers. A report on public credit and the national bank. A pamphlet about an affair in an attempt to clear the air. Biographer Ron Chernow noted that Hamilton “must have produced the maximum number of words that a human can scratch out in 49 years.” If there were notes to be taken or thoughts about something, It was almost a guarantee that he wrote it down.

This was evidenced by his courtship of Elizabeth Schuyler. Granted, at the time, it wasn’t as if he could spend hours upon hours on the phone speaking with his future wife. For one, the telephone wasn’t yet invented; second, he was mostly away with the Army fighting the Revolutionary War as George Washington’s aide, so he didn’t really have a bunch of free time. Nevertheless, he wooed the young Eliza with his words on paper, sending her a letter nearly every day he was away (we know this because he chastised her for not keeping up with his prolific pace of letter writing). Continue reading

Alexander Hamilton, Part 1

After over a year of the book sitting on my shelf, I’ve finally started reading the Ron Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton. As I make my way through the book, I plan on stopping every now and then and sharing my thoughts about the man that might have become my second favorite person from American history (after Abraham Lincoln, obviously). This appreciation stems from the wonderful musical Hamiltonthough I think that may have just reminded me of the things I previously knew about Hamilton from being a fan of history.

I think most casual fans of history pre-Hamilton musical remember him from mainly from his untimely death from a duel with Aaron Burr, as made famous in that one “Got Milk?” commercial:

But he was also a war hero, Founding Father, our first Secretary of the Treasury, helped establish the financial system of our country, and a lot of other things. He overcame huge odds to get to where he ended up in his life, which is why his life story served as a great inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda, despite being virtually ignored outside of discussions about the founding of our country.

Continue reading