After all the readings of “A People’s History of the United States”, I am learning to be very wary of how history is told as the reader may not be receiving the full story. I am now going to examine the way that “Hamilton” presents the legacy of Alexander Hamilton and how realistic it actually is or whether it romanticizes his legacy. “Hamilton” is extremely progressive in its use of people of color as the actors for the founding fathers to demonstrate that even though they aren’t mentioned in textbooks, people of color have existed in all times. The musical does a phenomenal job documenting his affair with Mariah Reynolds through songs like “Say No to This” and the “Reynold’s Pamphlet”. The musical doesn’t simply brush it off and allow Hamilton’s legacy to continue unscathed as many other historical sources would.
In terms of his views on slavery, Hamilton wasn’t perfect, but he was far more progressive than the average founding father. Hamilton supporting arming Black Slaves and allowing them to fight for their freedom in the revolutionary war. Hamilton was a member of the Manumission society which sought for a slow emancipation of slaves in the United States. In spite of these two moments in his life, Hamilton still signed in favor of the 3/5 compromise which equated African American slaves to 3/5 of a white person in order to move the legislation of the United States forward. Even more concerning was Hamilton’s handling of the Schuyler’s slave transactions and the possibility that he may have purchased slaves for his own household. It is not entirely certain whether Hamilton himself owned slaves or merely handled transactions for others. Hamilton’s grandson actually testified that records exist that state he did in fact own slaves during his lifetime. Nearly none of this is mentioned in the musical. While Hamilton’s slave crimes are much less extreme than that of say Thomas Jefferson, their exclusion does falsely romanticize history.