Last Friday, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s feverishly popular historical drama musical Hamilton arrived on Disney+. Using a recording of a performance from 2016, Disney was able to offer millions of fans around the world a chance to experience this story in the comfort of their own home.
Given that the actual musical had been sold out for years and it was always notoriously tough to get tickets, Disney+ subscribers may just have to thank the coronavirus pandemic for making their dreams come true. After all, with empty seats, the production had no choice but move to streaming.
Based on the autobiography of America’s least-known but arguably most-important founding father, Hamilton tells of the life and death of a self-made bureaucrat who made a name for himself by defying expectations and going against the grain of society itself. But as close to real life as Miranda’s adaptation is, he naturally had to twist, turn, erase and invent a few plot points in order to make his musical engaging for the average audience member. Of course, the real Hamilton did not sing and dance, but that’s the least of it.
For one, the actual Hamilton was not nearly as progressive as Miranda makes him out to be. Though he did criticize Thomas Jefferson’s view of the inferiority of African-Americans, he was – as several historians gently remind the public – no outspoken abolitionist, either.
In fact, while Miranda chose to portray Hamilton and his contemporaries with a race-blind cast, it’s important to know that the man himself sold and bought slaves during his lifetime, and never once brought up the proposition to end this system of human ownership in government.
Another detail about Hamilton’s life that will surprise fans of the musical has to deal with his love life. Contrary to what the romantic subplot of the Broadway performance would have us believe, Hamilton and Angelica, his female lead, were not actually in love.
Tell us, though, what’s your opinion on the historical accuracy of Hamilton? Let us know in the comments section down below.