Lessons Hamilton Taught Me

Ever since "Hamilton" became a Broadway phenomenon in 2015, I had avoided it like the plague. When people learned of my love for theatre their first question was always, “Oh, so you must love 'Hamilton', right?”. I rolled my eyes anytime someone mentioned the musical. I thought this show was just too mainstream and had a weird following of middle schoolers. One day, I finally caved and listened to "Hamilton", but it wasn’t the beautiful singing and incredible actors that made me fall in love with it, it was the messages in the songs and the lessons it taught me.

Change is always possible

No matter how hopeless a task seems, whether big or small, anything is possible. Just look at the American Revolution! The change was possible because the men and women of the revolution put their heart and soul into this effort, even when they knew the reality of the war wasn’t looking good. So, change is always possible, but you have to put the work in.

People do things differently, and that doesn’t mean that one way is right or wrong

Hamilton and Burr butt heads the entire musical due to their different approaches to life. Hamilton is a go-getter and doesn’t hold anything back; he is “not giving up [his] shot”. Burr views Hamilton as reckless, but can't help but admire his courage. Burr is a planner. He tries to get a feel for a situation before he acts; he is “willing to wait”. Hamilton sees him as indecisive and without a cause, but Burr is just cautious. Neither way is the “right” way to live. Everyone has a different method of problem-solving and dealing with what they fear. The best way to get along with people is to recognize those differences.

No one can take away our freedom

Freedom is a given right to all people. People may try to take away our freedoms, but we can always resist it. This isn’t an easy or safe choice, just like it wasn't for the revolutionaries, but it is important to always stand for what you believe you or others deserve.

An appreciation for the men and women of the American Revolution

I have always had a love for American history, but after hearing about it in school over and over again, it tends to become boring and doesn’t feel special anymore. When history is shown in a more visual way, such as a movie or a play, it becomes more real. Lin-Manuel Miranda did an incredible job writing the songs of their battles. You could feel the fear of the Americans and the tone was set immediately in “Right Hand Man” as the ensemble began builds their volume, singing “British Admiral Howe’s got troops on the water. Thirty-two thousand troops in New York Harbor. Thirty-two thousand troops in New York Harbor. When they surround our troops. They surround our troops. When they surround our troops..”. Every time this song plays, I get chills while imagining the American soldiers being surrounded in New York Harbor and I appreciate their struggle for freedom.

The importance of immigrants

Maybe it’s because my dad and my grandfather are immigrants, but my favorite line in "Hamilton" is between Hamilton, an immigrant from Scotland, and Lafyette, an immigrant from France, on the battlefield saying, “Immigrants, we get the job done”. This line is so relevant to America today, in the past, and will continue to be in the future. Immigrants are the backbone of the United States and this part of the play is a good reminder of the struggle that Hamilton went through as an non-Englishman and how he prevailed as an immigrant in America.

 

Image credit:

https://patrickmurfin.blogspot.com/2016/07/alexander-hamiltons-bad-day-at-weehawken.html 

https://genius.com/Original-broadway-cast-of-hamilton-right-hand-man-lyrics 

http://www.ampthemag.com/the-real/alex-lacamoire-and-the-music-of-hamilton/ 

https://genius.com/Original-broadway-cast-of-hamilton-youll-be-back-lyrics 

https://medium.com/@10807295/double-casting-in-hamilton-dcca652e654d