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Hamilton: Fact or Fiction?

Hamilton, the musical composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was an instant success the moment it was released on Disney +. Fans have been quoting, rapping, and spurting random verses of their favorite songs. Hamilton is an artistic adaptation of the story of the founding father, so Miranda does have poetic license, but I’m sure we’ve all been wondering how much of the story is true. Read on to find out!

1. Hamilton wasn’t as opposed to slavery as the musical made it seem.

Although Hamilton wrote many pointed social critiques, his writing never touched on slavery. In addition to this, when Alexander Hamilton was younger, he was an accountant who often dealt with trades that involved enslaved people, therefore directly benefiting from the slave trade.

2. Angelica didn’t marry Hamilton because he wasn’t wealthy enough.

Actually, by the time Angelica Schuyler met Hamilton she was already married. In addition to this, Angelica had brothers, contradictory to the line “My father has no sons so I'm the one/ Who has to social climb for one”. However, it is correct that Hamilton and Angelica did have an almost romantic relationship and oftentimes wrote letters to each other with accidentally (or perhaps not) misplaced commas that changed the meaning of sentences.

3. The Ten Duel Commandments.

There was a real code for duelling in America called Code Duello, but rather than ten rules there were twenty-five. To learn more about the Code Duello and the actual duel commandments, click here.

4. Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel immediately after losing the presidential election.

Historically, Burr only challenged Alexander to a duel after Hamilton campaigned against him when he was running to be the governor of New York.

It’s impossible to create a work of fiction that is absolutely historically accurate. But that doesn’t mean that these works are worthless. Absolutely not! Hamilton, a re-creation of the biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, made historical characters relatable to younger generations and revolutionized the musical theater industry because it was the first-ever hip-hop musical.


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