Were you one of those people doing your best to bring down NPR's cloud last week by repeatedly listening to the new Original Cast Recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton (which is now available to listen to freely on Spotifyopens a new window) before its album release on the 25th?
Using modern styles of music including R&B, hip-hop, reggaeton, and pop, Hamilton highlights the life of not just the patriot, but the man, Alexander Hamilton.
Most of us learned the basics about Hamilton in middle or high school: he wrote the majority of the Federalist Papers and was a strong advocate for the ratification of the Constitution before he was killed in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr. He might be on some money.
But that is hardly the whole story.
Lin-Manuel Miranda was greatly influenced and inspired by Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, which was released in 2004. It's a big block to chew, but looks extensively at a man who was a benchmark in the history of the United States but is only remembered for how he died.
In addition to being George Washington's aide-de-camp and the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton was also the organizer and primary contributor to the Federalist Papers. Along with John Jay and James Madison, Hamilton wrote dozens of essays about the Constitution and why it needed to be ratified as quickly as possible, even with its flaws. He was also an ardent abolitionist, and called out Thomas Jefferson and his fellow slave-holders on multiple occasions.
Want a fanned out look at the life, times, and writings of Alexander Hamilton, but don't particularly want to wait on the holds list for Ron Chernow's book? Or just don't have time for a tome of several hundred pages or a few days of listening?
Check out his profile in U.S. History in Context, part of our e-libraryopens a new window. You can read a brief biography, and have access to several different articles about his life, his writings, even his affairs.
Or maybe you want some of his original texts beyond the Federalist Papers? Maybe a letter purporting Thomas Jefferson (who he very much did not get along with or agree with on most things) as a better candidate for President than Aaron Burr, someone he'd known for many years. Or if you really want to get personal, how about a risqué letter he wrote during the Revolutionary War to his fiancée, Elizabeth Schuyler. You can read the full texts of both in our e-libraryopens a new window.
You can also easily click a few buttons from right there in MasterFILE to find his writings about treating loyalists fairly, or freeing and arming slaves to fight in the Revolution. There's just so much to know, read, and learn about him.
Meanwhile, check out Miranda's first award-winning show, In The Heights, which you can stream on Freegalopens a new window.