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Blog Post 4 (9/15)

Hamilton and 1776 present to the audience a picture of actual historical stories through music. The music in both pieces was very engaging but one can notice that the songs are sung by the main characters of the story.

Hamilton is set in modern times and describes how America was in the past. It uses a modern type of music like hip hop and Pop. What is really interesting about the cast is that they are all nonwhite and the story addresses racial inequality through representing the minorities who are oppressed. It tells a story about their American dream. This is a great opportunity for society to move forward from the dominating white culture by having a diverse cast combining African Americans and Hispanic people. Although the play might not accurately tell the right history as some critics would say, the retelling of the forgotten story of the founding father who raised from being poor and played an important role in the American Revolution in such a diverse and unique way is what made it so popular and appealing to the audience. This play has opened my eyes and taught me things that I was never aware of before.

On the other hand, 1776 does not tell the story of one person specifically but it represents ideas. It talks about freedom and loyalty to Britain; arguments in favor and against slavery. I learned from it a lot as it tells us about the American future, liberty, the Declaration of Independence, and the Continental Congress. It has a more classical style of music representing an older school of arts and celebrating the courage of Americans who fought for freedom. The characters were not as diverse as the ones in Hamilton as they were all white. Besides, I feel that one should be skeptical about the legitimacy of the information in the movie as some scenes might exaggerate the reality of how the actual characters were.

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  1. Sophia Peltzer Sophia Peltzer

    I really like your point about how Hamilton tells the story of one person or a few specific people, while 1776 tells the stories of ideas. There were definitely pros and cons to each depiction – Hamilton shows us diversity and a new, less-seen perspective into the US Revolution, but it also tends to romanticize certain parts of the Revolution; 1776 lacks diversity in characters and is more traditional in its production, but introduces you to a more nuianced side of the arguments for and against the Revolution at the time it was actually happening, rather than how we may perceive the story now. Your point about being skeptical resonated with me as well – both stories are meant, at least at some level, to entertain, and the lessons they are meant to show us may rely on dramaticized versions of the actual history.

  2. Annie Waters Annie Waters

    As you noted, the diversity of Hamilton’s cast is such an important contributor to its message. While watching 1776, I actively pondered why the cast was entirely composed of white men (with the exception of delegates’ wives.) True, all members of the Continental Congress were white, which was likely the rationale behind casting. However, I think that in a way the choice to portray the Revolution as an event driven entirely by white men is ultimately pretty culturally harmful. Though Hamilton’s casting takes many liberties that an entirely factual account of history would not allow, the diversity in its casting is extremely symbolic of social justice. Not only does it offer credit to the immigrants and marginalized people who contributed to the Revolution effort, but it also normalizes the idea of an American identity that does not depend on English nativity, unlike 1776. In emphasizing the immigrant status of Hamilton as well as the foreigner status or Lafayette, Hamilton rightfully emphasizes the notion that much of America’s foundation was constructed by people whose backgrounds might be often attached with an “outsider” status in less inclusive points of view.

  3. Samuel Hussey Samuel Hussey

    I liked your point on how both stories were still focused on the perspective of the men in charge, whether they are white founding fathers in 1776 or played by minorities in Hamilton. It would be interesting to see a piece of entertainment like these told from the lower class, such as an indentured servant or a slave. I think it would make Howard Zinn extremely happy.

  4. Jeffrey Sprung Jeffrey Sprung

    I also noticed the fact that Hamilton’s cast was extremely diverse in comparison to the 1776 cast who were all white men. I have never seen Hamilton before until now, so I agree that Hamilton did an outstanding job at providing a more accurate well-versed depiction of the story of Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers during the American Revolution.

  5. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    I agree with you that the legitimacy of 1776 should be taken into consideration. Although I felt like the movie told a very clear story, it was in a creative and up-beat manner. Because of this kind of mannerism being used for a serious topic like the declaration of independence, I think you are right that we need to be aware of just how accurate this is.

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