Lessons In Activism As Told By Hamilton

 

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You're likely aware of several social movements that take place in the United States. Some even jest that it is the country of social movements since major changes happen in our democratic republic when people band together and stand for or against a cause. You probably know recent movements that have gained a lot of fuel in recent years like the #BlackLivesMatter Movement or the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement, but today we're going to travel back in time. Like, 200 years back, to the American Revolution.

 

And since history can be a dull topic for some, we're going to talk about Lin Manuel-Miranda's musical Hamilton, because what could teach you history better than a man with insanely incredible wit and musical talents? Alexander Hamilton was an activist if there ever was one, always eager to get involved and make a change. Think you were made to be an Alexander Hamilton in the modern times? Then check out these lessons on activism as told by the musical Hamilton.

 

Anyone can be an activist.

"Alexander Hamilton" - "How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished In squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?" You know how the intro song goes. Alexander Hamilton came up from nothing and may be the very definition of pulling oneself up by their bootstraps.

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Put yourself out there.

"Aaron Burr, Sir" & "My Shot" - Hamilton was not at all ashamed of himself or his actions. He punched the bursar and felt no regret. He even admitted it with a kind of pride to Aaron Burr. Not only that but as soon as he was given the attention in the bar, he didn't waste it. He immediately went into his rant about why they should be an autonomous state.

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Stand firmly against what is against your cause.

"Farmer Refuted" - Dispute point for point. It will not be uncommon for someone to disagree with one of your points. Unlike Hamilton's method, make sure to address their points with respect. That means to refrain from speaking over the other party in a debate.

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Do what you can.

"Right Hand Man" - If you can steal the cannons, steal the cannons. If you can become the metaphorical Secretary of the Treasury, do just that. Notice that Hamilton's "small" action of stealing a cannon earned him the position of right-hand man to George Washington. Investing in your cause brings recognition, recognition equals more people knowing about your cause and therefore inspiring them to make a change within themselves and in their communities.  That's the goal of every activist. Play the lead role in the movement you create.

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Take initiative.

"Wait For It" - The difference between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton is that Burr was always waiting. He never publicly took a side, instead choosing whichever side suited him best. He was always willing to wait for it, but Hamilton was willing to work for it. Hence, Aaron Burr was never invited into the room where it happens.

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Be wise in your battles.

"Stay Alive" & "Ten Duel Commandments" - Not every battle is one you should fight. Remember to pick your battles, some are a waste of energy and do nothing to help your cause. Not to mention when Hamilton got wrapped up with Lauren's duel with Lee, he was dismissed from his post. Watch out, some people may get under your skin, but if you respond too rashly, you may undermine your progress. And you know what happened to Hamilton when he didn't choose his battles carefully.

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Don't ever stop caring about your cause.

"Non-Stop." Hamilton didn't retire after the war was won. There was a country to build, he could not yet rest. In the same way, don't feel content with your small wins. Keep pushing until the problem is solved to the best of your abilities.  He wrote like he was running out of time, all the time. Make use of every moment to learn about or further your cause. If Hamilton had stopped after the British lost, the United States would be a mess. Instill institutions that last much longer than the trend.

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